Helenium (Sneezeweed) is a tall perennial plant native to North America valued for its brightly coloured daisy-like flowers with large, dark brown and yellow cone-like centers. Flowers come in shades of yellow, brown, orange and red. Plants grow to be 2-5 feet tall.
Despite the common name, sneezeweed will not cause hay fever or sneezing fits. In fact, these vibrant, sun-loving flowers would be a lovely addition to the late-season garden, blooming from midsummer to fall.
Helenium is easy to grow and would be ideal for borders or beds, particularly in wildflower gardens. Plant with daylilies, sunflowers, sedum, or monkshood. It does best in full sun in moist, well-drained soil. Be careful not to over fertilize, as a rich soil can cause heleniums to produce tall plants with luscious green leaves and few flowers. A thick layer of mulch is also recommended to keep roots nice and cool.
Deadhead to extend bloom time and divide clumps every few years.Taller varieties should be staked. Hybrid varieties are typically easier to grow than native flowers because native species tend to grow tall and leggy.
Helenium makes an excellent, long lasting cut flowers, with a vase life of up to 2 weeks.
Climate zones: 3-8
Fun Flower Facts about Helenium (Sneezeweed):
- Other Common Names: Helen’s Flower, False Sunflower
- The name sneezeweed refers to the fact that the leaves were used to make snuff.
- In Greek mythology, Helenium was thought to emerge from the tears of Helen of Troy.
- All parts of the plant (leaves, seeds, flowers) are poisonous, if ingested.
- Native Americans used this plant for medicinal purposes to treat fevers and head colds.