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Helenium seeds

Helenium seeds

 

Helenium seeds

Those liable to sneezing need not worry about planting the sneezeweed, as the common name for helenium derives from a long-lost use of the ground plant as a snuff ingredient. After inhaling, the resulting sneeze was said to drive evil spirits from the body. The only creatures apt to be affected by the blooms of helenium are butterflies, which seek out this late-flowering plant.

Helenium

The full Latin name of Helenium autumnale is a reference to Helen of Troy, although the plants are native to North America, and the fall blooming time. The Helenium is a member of the Asteraceae family, which includes many similar-looking daisy-like flowers such as coneflowers, cosmos, blanket flowers, and sunflowers. You may have seen stands of helenium growing in the moist areas it loves in zones 3–8. The plants are characterized by lance-shaped foliage with stiff, upright stems. Some taller cultivars need staking. Planted in early spring, helenium plants grow quickly to a mature size of two to five feet tall and spread to 24 inches wide.Helenium plants are easy to grow from seed, but gardeners may want to start with named hybrid varieties only available as plants. If you choose seed starting to get a large colony of helenium quickly, don't cover the seeds, as they require light to trigger germination. Plants will germinate in about two weeks at room temperature.

Helenium plants like their soil on the acidic side, with an ideal pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. Place heleniums where they will enjoy moist conditions, but not in a boggy site. Consider a rain garden site where moisture naturally collects, such as a low-lying area or beneath a downspout. Well-draining soil is best, but heleniums are clay tolerant. Heleniums aren’t heavy feeders, and one application of a balanced flower fertilizer in the spring is enough in fertile soils. Excessive fertilizer causes lanky growth, but pinching heleniums back in the spring encourages shorter, stronger, sturdy plants and branching. After blooming, cut the flower stalks down to the foliage. Divide plants in the spring or fall every three to five years to keep plants vigorous. (Source: www.thespruce.com)

 

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