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Helenium autumnale (common sneezeweed)
Species Distribution Map: Click to enlarge
Map Color Key © 2013 BONAP

Helenium autumnale

common sneezeweed

Our local native with yellow or bronze single daisy-like flowers on stout branched stems in late summer. Petals have distinct tooth-like indentations; hence the common name, dog-toothed daisy. All sneezeweeds have three-lobed petals which distiguish them from Rudbeckia and other yellow coneflowers. Brown, rust colored fruit appear in fall. Great for cut flowers and the avid butterfly gardener.

SIZE
Helenium autumnale LP50 - 50 per flat Availability
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Height

3-5 Feet

Spread

3 Feet

Spacing

18 Inches

Bloom Color

Yellow

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

common sneezeweed Interesting Notes

Helenium autumnale is our local native with yellow or bronze single daisy-like flowers on stout branched stems in late summer. The petals have distinct tooth-like indentations giving the common name, dog-toothed daisy. All sneezeweeds have three-lobed petals which distinguish them from Rudbeckia and other yellow coneflowers. In the fall, the flowers develop into brown, rust-colored fruit. Sneezeweed is a treat for cut flower arrangements and a must-have for the avid butterfly gardener.


The true distinguishment Helenium autumnale enjoys is that it can be found along almost any moist embankments throughout the continental North America, a truly adaptable native that thrives in sunny, moist open areas along ponds, waterways, and meadows. While other native plants don’t like to sit in wet, heavy clay, sneezeweed finds this to be a preferable condition. In cultivation, sneezeweed can endure periods of drought in the garden after it has been established. To maximize flower potential and to tidy up its appearance, a late spring or early summer pinch is encouraged. 

A favorite for pollinators, from beetles to flies to solitary bees to butterflies, Helenium autumnale is perfect to round out a planting design for wet areas such as retention basins, rain gardens, meadows, or the back of the border. Sneezeweed is avoided by deer and rabbits due to its bitter leaves that contain a toxic compound. The plant must be ingested in large quantities but it has been known to make livestock sick. 

Helenium autumnale Growing and Maintenance Tips

Easily grown in rich, moist soils in full sun. Tolerates periods of drought in the garden, but prefers even moisture in production. Fertilize sparingly to reduce risk of weak stems. Plants may benefit from being cut back in early spring to encourage more branching and floriferous growth and tidy habit in containers. Foliage should be cut back after flowering. Best used in borders, meadows and wild gardens.

Good Substitutions

purple-headed sneezeweed Helenium flexuosum 'Tiny Dancer'
sneezeweed Helenium 'Mardi Gras'
sneezeweed Helenium autumnale Mariachi™ 'Salsa'

Key Characteristics & Attributes

Full Sun
Full Sun
Moist
Moist
Deer Resistant
Deer Resistant
Pollinator-friendly
Pollinator-friendly
Salt Tolerance
Salt Tolerance
Cut Flower
Cut Flower

Additional Information

Soil Moisture Needs
Average
Green Infrastructure
Bioretention/Rain Garden
Meadow/Prairie
Wetland Indicator Status
Falcutative Wetland (FACW)
Plug Type
Landscape Plug™
For Animals
Caution: Toxic
Attributes
Clay Tolerance
Native to North America
Season of Interest (Flowering)
Late Summer
Fall
Propagation Type
Open pollinated