Dictionary of Flowers: Heliopsis Helianthoides, Compact Varieties

Heliopsis Helianthoides compact varieties are like mini Sunflowera. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Aaron Carlson and Flickr
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Heliopsis Helianthoides compact varieties are like mini Sunflowera. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Aaron Carlson and Flickr

  • Heliopsis Helianthoides, Compact Varieties
  • Common name: oxeye sunflower, false sunflower
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Category: perennial in USDA zones 3 to 9
  • Height: 18" 
  • Width: 20" to 24"
  • Sun
  • Blooms: mid summer to early fall
  • Attracts: butterflies
  • Growth habit: upright, erect. Used as filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average to fertile, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers.
  • Garden uses: containers, mixed border, wildflower garden, cutting garden
  • Diseases: leaf spot, powdery mildew, rust
  • Pests: aphids, whitefly, leafminers, thrips

Native to the eastern United States, oxeye sunflower is a flowering perennial that can grow up to five feet tall. The shorter cultivars are better suited for container combinations.Heliopsis grows from a thick root.

The leaves are coarse, and the yellow daisy-like flowers bloom on stiff stems.

It has a long blooming season and it's easy to grow.

Oxeye sunflower tolerates a large range of soil conditions, from sand to clay, provided they are free draining. It performs best if grown in average to fertile soil.

Although it doesn't require a lot of water to thrive, it does better if the soil stays reasonably moist during summer. Place heliopsis in a full sun position, it will flop if it doesn't get enough sun.

It can handle summer heat well.

Fertilize once a year with a top dressing of compost or slow release fertilizer granules if grown in pots. Deadhead heliopsis to keep it blooming through fall. Plants need to be lifted and divided every three to five years, while dormant in early spring.  

Taller varieties of oxeye sunflower need to be stalked to keep them from flopping. 

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Heliopsis can be propagated by seed or by stem cuttings in spring or summer.

To grow indoors from seed, plant about six to eight weeks before the last frost date. Kept at 70F, they germinate in about two weeks. The seedlings need to be kept moist in a well-lighted area.

Harden off and set outside when all danger of frost has passed. 




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Heliopsis is not usually bothered by diseases. Powdery mildew and rust can be treated with a fungicide. Use an insecticidal soap to eliminate pest problems.

Popular varieties:

  • Heliopsis helianthoides 'Loraine Sunshine' - compact cultivar (twenty four inches) with large blooms. The leaves are variegated ivory and green
  • Heliopsis helianthoides 'Tuscan Sun' - golden yellow flowers on a dwarf plant, reaching one to one and a half feet. Good for container combinations
  • Heliopsis helianthoides 'Ballerina' - semi double flowers, grows up to three feet

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Click to see Hakonechloa Macra (Japanese Forest Grass)
Click to see Hemerocalis (Daylily)

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Heliopsis Helianthoides Compact Varieties to the Dictionary of Flowers

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