How to grow Helenium

 

How to grow Helenium

Ask anyone if he knows sneezeweed and
chances are that he can’t place it.  But tell himabout
the splendid helenium or helensflower you had last fall
and you have his sympathetic ear.

Yet few appreciate its true value for
gardens acid for cutting. Like quite a few other flowers
native to North America, it is held with higher esteem
abroad than in its native country.

Give the plants a sunny, well-drained
position, and they’ll develop into good-sized clumps
3 to 6 feet high depending upon the species or variety
planted.

Any good garden soil is suited to their
culture, and where conditions are congenial, they not
only last for years but increase by forming new, vigorous
crowns all around the original mother plants: English
gardeners who give it a foremost place among the hardy
fall-flowering perennials water the plants at 10-day
intervals with a solution of 1/2 ounce sulfate of potash
in 1 gallon of water: This prevents the flower petals
from drooping. In some sections a little black-snout
beetle goes after the growing tips and young flower
buds. Repeated spraying with a contact insecticide to
which has been added a little nicotine sulfate to serve
as a repellent keeps these pesky little creatures in
check.

Once planted, helenium may remain for
several years in the same position. Though well satisfied
with average soil fertility, they respond freely to
good treatment. A little complete plant food worked
around the plants, as new spring growth gets under way
is very helpful. Dividing and replanting in spring may
become essential every third year to rejuvenate the
clumps. Set the crowns even with the soil level and
firm the roots well. Follow with a good watering, and
the plants will continue to grow without any further
attention.

Staking the taller sorts is essential,
despite the fact that the stems are woody. Use several
stakes about one-half the total height of the plants
so that the tops can sway freely.

American gardeners prefer the variety
Moerheimi Beauty because the bronzy red ray petals shading
to orange at the tips are strikingly different from
any other flowers that share its blooming season in
August and September: The compact habit allows us to
enjoy the flowers by looking down upon the 2- to 3-foot
plants.

Autumnale rubrum, bronzy
red, and Autumnale superbum, sun­flower-yellow,
are taller favorites for the background,

Riverton Beauty is an early fall bloomer
4 feet tall. The flowers are unique in color in that
they combine lemon-yellow ray petals, with a black center.
Riverton Gem bears old gold and terra cotta flowers,
which change to a stunning wallflower red.

 

 


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