|Monday Melange: Sneezeweed or Helenís Flower|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Monday, 19 March 2012|
Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) is one of those perennials that may be weedy or invasive in certain parts of the country, particularly in Nebraska and the Great Plains states; however, itís worth taking a look at for several reasons. The first of course, is that itís an attractive flowering plant native to the US. The second is that itís a FACW plant. FACW or facultative wet is a term used for wetland indicator species. FACW plants usually occur in wetlands but are occasionally found in non-wetlands, which makes sneezeweed a good choice for rain gardens and wet meadows.
The third reason is that butterflies adore this flower. Sneezeweed is also known as bitterweed, false sunflower, or Helenís flower, which is what you are more likely to see it called at nurseries. It is one of those plants that has many, many cultivars, the flower colors of which range from reddish-brown to reddish- orange to orange, and golden yellow as pictured above. Like its sunflower cousins, sneezeweed is a member of the Aster plant family (Asteraceae) and is hardy between USDA plant zones 3 and 8. Itís range encompasses the entire US.
Blooming between late July and October, sneeezeweed prefers full sun and wetter soils (will not tolerate dry soils), it grows to a height of 3 to 5 feet. It. Cut plants back in June to manage the height if you prefer shorter, less leggy plants.