Heleniums are also known as Sneezeweed, a name that refers to the unfounded ability to cause hay fever. They seem to have been largely unknown as a garden plant before the end of the 19th century, today they are steadfast favourites of the late summer border. Providing swathes of colour Heleniums bloom from late July to the end of September and even into October. Each large flower is daisy-shaped. The petals are evenly distributed around a brown middle that, as the flower ages, evolves into a high knob with rings of pollen. The individual flowers are carried on short branches that sprout near the top of the stiff, lightly leaved flower stem. The lack of leaves creates a clump that often looks bare and leggy, a fault that is particular true of taller varieties. The answer is plant Heleniums further back in the border, growing shorter plants in front to disguise the bare stems.
Above: Helenium 'Waldraut', Helenium 'Wyndley', Helenium 'Red Jewel'
Open prairies and meadows, and moist spots in the Americas.
Well-drained soil that remains moist in sun or partial shade
Cut back between autumn and spring.
Staking: some of the taller varieties can lean forward or topple in high winds - these may need support later in the season. Shorter varieties need no support
Dividing: every three years or so or the middle will dies out, and the whole plant will weaken.
Aconitum, Aster, Coreopsis, Phlox