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Helianthus - sunflower

Helianthus

Anyone who knows and appreciates the Helianthus as an annual cut flower will also be enchanted by it as a perennial sunflower. Although this forms smaller flowers than the classic sunflower, it is a long-lasting and robust garden companion that enriches every sunny place.

This perennial offers a variety of uses. Whether as a background in sunny beds, as a planting along borders, as a solitary plant, as a privacy screen or simply in a container on a balcony or terrace: a perennial sunflower unfolds its luminosity everywhere.

Lots of Happy Ray Blossoms in Late Summer

Perennial sunflowers are late summer bloomers that develop their full splendour starting in August and still set beautiful accents, even in the autumn months. They are very well-visited by bees and butterflies - because the pollen and nectar are particularly popular at this time. The mostly tall types like warm, sunny places and not too heavy soils.

In our Lubera® range you will find highly attractive varieties:

• The willow-leaved sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius var. Orgyalis) is special because its narrow, slightly hanging leaves actually remind you of willows. Even outside of the flowering period, it’s a special eye-catcher in the garden with its ornamental growth and impressive height. Its rich flowering attracts numerous insects. This species tolerates temporary drought quite well and prefers a nutrient-poor soil in order to remain stable.

Helianthus microcephalus 'Lemon Queen', the small-flowered sunflower, shows abundant, pale yellow flowers that cover the entire plant. This perennial can reach an impressive height of about 2 metres and remains stable. It copes with almost all garden soils and is also relatively drought-tolerant.

• If you like it pompous, you will find it in the variety 'Soleil d'Or' . The double, bright flowers reach a diameter of about 10 centimetres and are therefore particularly lush. This magnificent perennial, with a height of 150 centimetres, also fits into smaller gardens.

• 'Meteor' is a proven variety that offers lovely shaped flowers with enlarged, tubular flowers in the centre. These provide a frilly effect. Despite the special design, these contain nectar for pollinating insects that like to slip into it. The outer wreath consists of lemon yellow, tongue-like flowers. The variety develops a high, bushy habit.

   
 
   
 
Helianthus

Buying Perennial Sunflowers - Worth Knowing

There are different types of perennial sunflowers with a high garden value - all originally come from North America. They are characterised by the many, comparatively small flowers, the bushy habit and their good winter hardiness.

All sunflowers belong to the genus Helianthus within the daisy family (Asteraceae). The botanical name comes from the Greek words for sun (helios) and flower (anthos). This is not surprising because the natural luminosity of these perennials immediately creates the mental connection to "summer" and "sun". It can also be observed that many sunflower species always stretch their flowers towards the sun.

• Helianthus decapetalus grows mainly in damp forests along streams. The species has ovate, serrated leaves, the undersides of which are rough as those of the common sunflower.

• The willow-leaved sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius) forms dense clumps and has narrow, elongated leaves. Older specimens are very decorative and come into their own when planted individually.

• The small-headed or small-flowered sunflower, Helianthus microcephalus, can be found in nature in open forest areas. It is a finely branched, clumpy growing and very robust perennial.

Use & Suitable Planting Partners

These varieties fit perfectly in open spaces which have a wild perennial character. They are also ideal as wind or privacy protection around the terrace or seating area. Unsightly corners can be wonderfully concealed with them. A perennial sunflower is also very effective in the background of mixed herb beds and borders. There, for example, it is very attractive with the bright orange and red tones of Helenium varieties and attractive yellow flowering partners include the Rudbeckia nitida 'Herbstsonne'. Blue and violet flowering flower bed neighbours such as delphinium, smooth-leaf aster or dahlias result in a wonderful play of colours. Harmonious combinations can even be created in summer flowering perennial hedges.

The Ideal Location and Soil

A sunny, sheltered spot in a bed is ideal for this plant. The perennial sunflower likes nutrient-rich, well-drained, moderately dry to slightly moist soils. Ideally, the pH should be neutral to alkaline. Temporary drought is tolerated quite well.

The planting distance should be about 100 centimetres for tall species.

Growing

Since the winter shoots of the perennial sunflowers are just below the surface of the earth, frost damage can occur at very low temperatures. It is therefore advisable to apply a layer of compost in autumn, which also serves as a starting fertiliser for the coming growing season.

Support can be helpful if the tall perennials tend to kink or fall over. By cutting off the withered flowers you can extend the flowering period. If possible, pruning should only be done in the spring, since the dead shoots and leaves offer good protection.

Propagation

It is advisable to divide the plant every three to four years. A good time for this is in early spring. A division rejuvenates the plant and prevents unwanted spreading.
 

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