Heleniums have daisy like flowers which bloom in mid to late summer. They have velvety textured petals and soft, fat, squeezable middles (known as a ‘cone’), which are made up of hundreds of individual florets.
All photos by Toni Abram.
In my garden I grow orange and yellow heleniums and the hot colours look good planted in mixed borders of purple verbena bonariensis, yellow euphorbia, orange crocosmia and blue hydrangea. Hardy across Britain, they are good for attracting bees and other pollinators and make lovely cut flowers too.
Best planted in an open sunny position for a good show of flowers, deadheading heleniums throughout their flowering period will encourage more flowers. I have mine planted at the back of borders, to camouflage the ragged leaves which can often appear.
Heleniums will not grow in waterlogged conditions but soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out either, otherwise the flowers and foliage will flag. Consider staking your plants to give them some support if you don’t like the messy look – heleniums are tall flowers and can get battered by wind and rain.
It is recommended that heleniums are divided every few years so that clumps don’t get too congested. Heleniums die back over the winter and it is recommended divisions should be done in spring just as they start growing again, by digging up a large established clump and splitting it with a spade, before replanting with plenty of new compost. You can also take basal cuttings (cuttings from the new growth that shoots up at the plants edges) but do not divide your plants in the autumn because winter wet can kill the divisions.