Heleniums - a growing guide

Photo of Heleniums

One of my favourite plants. In the autumn when the garden starts to fill out with the orange and yellow colours of autumn leaves and berries these lovely perennial plants add to the display with a fabulous range of autumn colours.

My favourite is Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' and I am trying to spread this around many of my borders. The only trouble is it appears to be delicious to slugs and snails and I have now stopped planting small young plants. My best bet is to buy a small plant and keep it in a pot until it becomes a sturdy specimen able to resist some slug attack.

I have bought some yellow Heleniums too but it is these lovely deep orange tones that are my favourite.

Heleniums are an upright perennial reaching about 50-60 cm in height. The flowers seem to last for quite a long period from late summer into autumn.

yellow Heleniums

Helenium growing guide

Heleniums are sturdy plants which enjoy lots of sunshine and are not at all fussy when it comes to soil type. They do not need lots of water which makes them ideal for long hot summers.

Once the clump is established they need regular division to keep them flowering and this is the perfect way to propogate them. Divide the plant in early spring once the leaves begin to appear again after winter dormancy. Do not try in autumn as they tend to die over winter if disturbed in autumn.

Though they are tall flowers they tend to stand upright quite well without the need of supports but if you wish you can cut back their height in late spring. This delays flowering and could be a good way to extend the flowering season by cutting back half the stems and leaving the rest.

(If you have trouble every year with asters falling over this is a good tip for them too. Cut them back to about one foot at the end of May).

Heleniums also make great cut flowers.

Heleniums are a great plant for prairie style planting with a mix of grasses and they also look at home in cottage garden stlye planting designs.

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