Native Plant of the Week: Sneezeweed

Family: Asteraceae


Name: Helenium autumnale


Bloom Time: September - October


Flower: Yellow


Soil Condition: Moist, Wet


Light: Sun, Partial Sun


Height: 36-60" tall by 36" wide


Native Range: North America


Zone: 3 to 9


Helenium autumnale is a great plant for the consistently moist to wet native garden or rain garden as it does tolerate some drought. Being a late bloomer, it is a favorite of late season pollinators seeking nectar and pollen. The dried seed heads are a food source for songbirds.

pics: Helenium autumnale, Long-horned bee on Helenium autumale (Shutterstock)


Fun Fact: The common name Sneezeweed refers to the ancient use of drying the leaves and 'snuffing' it too promote sneezing which was supposed to keep away evil spirits. It does not refer to the pollen causing sneezing as it is not wind pollinated. The other common name, Helen's Flower, comes from believing the flowers sprung up where Helen of Troy's tears fell.


Maintenance: Plant may be cut back by 2/3 in July to control height, divide every 3-4 years to maintain vigor


Benefits: Nectar source, pollinators, songbirds eat the seeds, deer resistant, clay soil tolerant, great fresh cut and dried flower


Companion Plants: Symphyotrichum novae-angliae - New England Aster, Panicum virgatum - Switch Grass, Boltonia asteroides - False Aster, Eutrochium maculatum - Spotted Joe Pye Weed

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References:

1. https://www.gloucesterva.info/DocumentCenter/View/4136/Sneezeweed-Common-November-2015-PDF

2. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=heau

3. http://www.newmoonnursery.com/plant/Helenium-autumnale




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