Plant of the Month: Helenium Moerheim Beauty
If there’s one plant that can inject a little razzle-dazzle into the border during a gloomy summer, it is Helenium. There are many varieties which can provide a mix of reds, oranges and yellows which are the perfect addition to any late summer border.
Helenium is a genus of about 40 species of annuals and herbaceous perennials from North and Central America. They are found mostly in damp meadows and along the edges of woods. They have a long season of bloom and are commonly known as sneezeweed. This is because the Cherokee Indians used to make the dried flowers into a herbal snuff as a cure for colds and catarrh.
Helenium’s are versatile plants that love plenty of sunshine and moist soil. They rarely suffer from pests or diseases; however young plants do need to be protected from slug attack. To encourage the plant to repeat flower and keep that brightness for longer you can deadhead. However, I have found that even without this treatment they seem to keep flowering well into the autumn anyway.
One of my favourite varieties would be Moerheim beauty, with a succession of dark copper-red daisy-like flowers with prominent, dark brown centres this beautiful sneezeweed is ideal towards the back of a sunny border. Bees and butterflies love it and it makes an excellent cut flower too. It is a super plant which has been awarded the prestigious Award of Garden merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Moerheim Beauty makes a wonderful companion for ornamental grasses and with any plants that have yellow, white or earthy toned flowers. They also associate well with other later-flowering perennials like Agastache, veronicastrum and verbena. They work best in larger blocks to create more impact but can be drifted into a naturalistic planting scheme too. One things for sure wherever you plant helenium it will provide a vibrant splash of colour in your borders well into the autumn.