I am a recent convert to Helenium I must admit but since finding them am an avid fan. They are one of those wonderful daisy shapes that looks good coming into, in flower and in the final demise. It also comes in a good many options in the yellow/orange/red spectrum.

Named for Helen of Troy Helenium is commonly called sneezeweed, not very glamorous but related to the foliage being used for snuff. It is also a food plant for the larvae of the Ghost moth or Phymatopus behrensii (mainly US). Parent plants that many of our cultivars are bred from are H. autumnale and H. bigelove and there a good umber of cultivars that have reached the Award of Garden Merit status fom the RHS. Favorites of ours are H. Sahin’s Early, H.Waltraut and H.Moreheim Beauty though last year I was definitely swayed by H.Mardi Gras used on our RHS Tatton Park garden ‘Inner Sanctum’. There is a wonderful collection of them held by Special Perennials

H. Mardi Gras looking fabulous in a mixed planting

H. Rubinzwerg is a rich deep red and although slightly shorter in stature it makes up for this by being a vigorous flowerer with slightly more delicate shaped brown poms once the petals have dropped.

Sitting on the grass ‘cleaning’ plants up to make them show garden ready and the sun comes out. PERFECT

Needing a good sunny position (6-8 hours a day) they will tolerate some light shade for part of the day, greedy plants they like a rich soil and mulches of manure or other organic matter on an annual basis. This helps them put on strong floral displays each year. We don’t feed ours but you can add a multipurpose feed ni spring and summer where soils are not enriched. Beware though too much food and the plant gets lush and leggy, toppling over without staking or support from it’s neighbours. They are an excellent drought tolerant plant once established. Perennials need regular dividing every few years.

We cut some of ours for the house and they make a long lasting bloom but I prefer to leave most of the in situ so they can show off for much longer periods in the garden.

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