Helenium Growing Guide

Helenium species


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile soil that holds moisture well, enriched with compost, with a slightly acidic pH.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Yes, helenium is a hardy perennial. Well rooted plants tolerate winter cold to -30°F (-34°C).


In spring, topdress the area around helenium with a balanced organic fertilizer. Use a deep mulch to help keep the soil moist.


Single Plants: 11" (30cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 11" (30cm) with 11" (30cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

There are annual forms of helenium that can be grown from seed as part of a wildflower meadow, but heavy-flowering perennials are vegetatively propagated and must be started from plants. Start with a purchased plant in spring, or plant divisions taken from the outside of a friend’s clump. Set out plants after the soil begins to warm in spring. Container-grown plants are often sold in summer, just when they begin to bloom, and are easily transplanted provided they are kept constantly moist. Helenium needs more water than other wildflowers and does not do well with drought. A surface mulch suppresses weeds while making the plants look more attractive.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


The leaves of helenium were once used for making snuff, hence the nickname sneezeweed. Leaves contain a bitter poison that makes them resistant to deer. Helenium is native to many parts of North America and makes an excellent perennial for wildflower gardens.


Gather stems for use in cut arrangements as you need them. Removing old flowers can improve reblooming in many cultivars.


Powdery mildew and leaf spots are common late in the season, but they do not seriously weaken plants.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Helenium