While many perennials in the garden are beginning to look a bit weary, a few plants are just coming into all their glory.
Helenium is one of them.
I have always had a few Heleniums in my garden, but sadly, I don't think I have ever
given them a chance to really shine. Something I'd like to rectify in future!
Helenium in a public park in Brampton
I have come to realize, by way of example, that Heleniums look best planted in large groups in combination with tall grasses or other late blooming perennials.
In this public space, Helenium looks terrific mixed with Phlox, yellow Rudbeckia, and blue-grey Russian Sage.
Helenium in a public park in Brampton
Sneezeweed or Helenium autumnale is a North American native plant that can often be
found growing in wild, damp meadows.
As you can see here, many varieties of Helenium are skyscrapers that soar to a considerable height.
Heleniums are happiest in rich moist soil, but they will tolerate a somewhat sandier soil and will even adjust to somewhat dryer conditions once established.
Helenium 'Short 'n' Sassy'
This fall to add to my small collection of Helenium, I am adding a few of newer
cultivars that are shorter in height.
Helenium 'Short 'n' Sassy': This compact variety of helenium has orange and gold petals with a deep brown centre. Full sun and moist soil are best. Height: 30-45 cm (12-18 inches), Spread: 40-50 cm (16-20 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.
Helenium autumnale Mariachi 'Fuego': Another compact variety of helenium, 'Fuego' has orange-red petals and a golden halo around a deep, coffee-colored centre. Full sun and moist soil are best. Height: 40-50 cm (16-20 inches), Spread: 50-60 cm (20-30 inches). USDA Zones: 3-9.
I also brought home a piece of a tall yellow Helenium from my Mom's garden. Fingers crossed it takes!
Sedum 'Maestro' is super tall and reaches a height of 60-75 cm (23-29 inches).
Another group of plants that really comes into its own at this time of year are tall Sedums.
Sedum telephium 'Matrona': This Sedum has sage green foliage with reddish stems and is fairly tall. Full sun. Height: 60 -70 cm ( 23- 28 inches) Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA Zones: 3-9.
In early June, I usually cut my tall Sedums by a third. I find they produce more, smaller flower heads and flop less as a result.
Propagating Sedums is fairly simple I've found: just stick your June cuttings in damp soil and keep them watered and out of direct sun until they have rooted. What could be easier! New generations of my original Sedum telephium 'Matrona' can be found all over my garden.
It is also nice to add a few new Sedums to the mix each year.
Sedum spectabile 'Neon': This Sedum has light green foliage and magenta-pink flowers. Full sun. Like all Sedums, it is attractive to butterflies. Height: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches) Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA Zones: 2-9
Sedum telephium 'Munstead Dark Red': This is an older variety that has a dark rose flower. It can be floppy in moist rich sites. Height: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches) Spread: 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). USDA Zones: 3-9.
So far, I am really liking this low mounding cultivar called 'Pure Joy' that I purchased in the spring of this year.
Sedum 'Pure Joy': has a low, rounded mound of blue-green foliage and pale pink flowers. Grow it in poor to average well drained soil. Full sun. Height: 20-30 cm (10-12 inches) Spread: 45-50 cm (18-20 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.
Beside soft pink 'Pure Joy' is the Sedum Sunsparkler 'Dazzleberry' (you can see 'Dazzleberry' peaking into the picture on the lower right).
'Dazzleberry' has flopped a bit and has been held up by the surrounding Lamium (it gets lots of sun so perhaps my soil is too rich and causes it to flop). It's purplish grey foliage has made it a perfect companion plant for Penstemon 'Dark Towers' and mauve flowered Veronica 'Eveline' in my front garden.
Sedum Sunsparkler 'Dazzleberry': has purplish grey foliage and raspberry red flowers in fall. Again poor to average well drained soil. Full sun. Height: 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) Spread: 30-45 cm (12-18 inches). USDA Zones: 4-9.
So what do you think?
Are Helenium's outrageous colors too much for your garden?
What's your experience with tall Sedums?