Helen's Flower (Helenium autumnale)
Image: North Creek Nurseries
Helenium autumnale, or the Helen's Flower, is a 3-5' tall native perennial featuring yellow dog-toothed petals. These flowers bloom in the late summer on branched stems, and in the fall they turn bronze (August-October). Helen's Flowers are great for pollinators and are used often in cut flower arrangements, raingardens, and bioretention. The plant is also tolerant of deer and rabbit due to their bitter leaves. These leaves however, contain toxic compounds and should not be consumed, especially in large quantities.
Plant in average or rich, moist soils in full sun. Helen's Flowers can be planted in wet and heavy clay unlike other native plants. Avoid using execessive amounts of fertilizers so the stems are not at risk of becomign weak. After fibrous roots have established themselves, Helen's Flower can endure periods of droughts. Cut back in early spring or summer before blooming period to encourage more branching, flowering, and to control the height of the plant, which may require staking if not maintained.
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