False Sunflowers

Commonly called false sunflowers, all heliopsis plants are North American wildflowers, and they make excellent cut flowers.

false sunflower

Photo: ransomtech (flickr)

Helioposis helianthoides (cultivar unknown).

Heliopsis is from the Greek helios meaning “sun” and opsis meaning “resembling.”

Commonly called false sunflowers, all heliopsis plants are North American wildflowers, and they make excellent cut flowers.

One of the cultivars ’Gold Greenheart’, which is a helianthoides species, has lemon-yellow double flowers with a greenish tinge at the center of each bloom. From mid-August into fall it provides me with many lovely cut flowers that last at least two weeks in a vase.

I wouldn’t be without this tall spreading and prolific plant. However, I have become a little gun shy about giving starts to friends since it is such a vigorous spreader. In fact, it is quite irrepressible. I always tell fellow gardeners to put it somewhere on its own, as it doesn’t play well with others. It needs a lot of room to spread and no neighbors close by that it can overwhelm.

“Tuck it by a fence or behind the garage, not in your flower bed,” I usually say. Despite this admonition, I frequently see recipients later who say indignantly, “That yellow plant you gave me just took over my entire flower bed!”

What can I do but bite my tongue?

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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