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Helianthus - Growing Guide
Growing Helianthus salicifolius
Willow leaved sunflower
Helianthus salicifolius is a dramatic, tall growing and clump forming plant which produces a quite magnificent display in early- and mid-autumn when the colour is becoming sparse in the herbaceous borders. I first saw this 8-10ft tall plant growing and flowering against a tall fence in a valley garden in St Austell. It was situated beside the smaller growing Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ but flowering a little later in the autumn. What an impact!
H. salicifolius is a rhizomatous perennial which develops and spreads quickly in rich deep soils. It needs to be grown in full sun rather than shade for it to flower properly. It has linear lance shaped and hairy leaves from stout stems. The individual flowerheads are 2-3in across with golden yellow ray florets and browner centres.
This is a perfectly hardy plant originating from the USA. It dies down quickly after flowering in the autumn and the stems need cutting down then to ground level. It is then that clumps can readily be dug up and split with a spade to create a multitude of new small plants.
A simple and easy plant to grow successfully which the autumn pollinators and butterflies much appreciate.