Helenium autumnale ‘Zimbelstern’
Huge bouquets of golden sunshine in the autumn.
All Heleniums are indispensable for autumn show, but Helenium autumnale ‘Zimbelstern’ is an aristocrat.
The German name ‘Zimbelstern’ translates as “Cymbal stars”, and the flowers certainly are big, round, discs of gold.
Bouquets of sunshine yellow in autumn
Each flower has an eye catching, velvety brown cone at the centre, with sunshine yellow petals packed around.
But no two flowers are the same, and in certain weathers maroon highlights may also come out in Helenium autumnale ‘Zimbelstern’.
(Please see “Growing” section below for plant details, how / where to grow).
Long lasting in both garden and vase
Helenium autumnale ‘Zimbelstern’ produces huge, packed heads on strong 90cm. stems, perfect for resisting storms.
And the flower heads last for weeks. despite all weathers, in either the garden or vase.
So they make superb, commercial quality cut flowers.
Showstoppers in autumn, and no trouble for the rest of the year
After their show stopping autumn season of glory, the Heleniums retire back to being neat, hardy low clumps of unremarkable foliage. So they are no trouble to have around for the rest of the year.
Heleniums and their owners enjoy a trouble free existence together.
Because Heleniums are largely untroubled by any pests and diseases; nothing seems to care to eat them: and the only regular maintenance is to cut them back after flowering (no hardship if you love armloads of cut flowers to take indoors).
As long as Heleniums have plenty of sunshine, they are not fussy about much else.
And they are so obliging in heat, frost, wind, and even poorer soils.
Suitable for seaside and exposed gardens.
Gardeners rejoice – Heleniums love clay
Though Heleniums are not fussy about soil, and will grow successfully in anything from sandy soil, through loam, to quite heavy clay, they actually relish clay soil and do even better there.
Growing: Helenium autumnale ‘Zimbelstern’
– Height with flowers: Well branched, strong stems to 90cm. approx, with large flower heads in autumn.
– Width: Evergreen low rosette of foliage, which will slowly increase to a diameter of 45-60cm. approx.
Heleniums grow as a tight, neat foliage rosette, and have no invasive runners.
– Position: Full Sun.
– Soil: Heleniums are not fussy about soil type, and can be grown successfully in soils ranging from sandy, through loam, to quite heavy clay. But unlike many plants, they actually relish clay.
They will also tolerate a range of soil pH, on both the acid and alkaline (lime) side of neutral.
Though they enjoy clay, they do not like to remain waterlogged for long periods, as the crowns may rot.
So the addition of compost will benefit either sandy or clay soils, and make them just to the Helenium’s taste.
– Water-wise: Heleniums are water-wise plants, and so do not require large amounts of water. They are suitable for water-conscious gardeners. However they do like to have some regular drinks. But regular, average garden watering is sufficient.
– Frost hardy: Heleniums are extremely frost hardy, and able to withstand hard frosts to well below -20C.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees and butterflies adore Heleniums for nectar and pollen. Especially as the late blooming season provides abundant bee food, after many other flowers have given up from the summer heat.
Then the winter seed heads become a great larder for small seed eating birds, who will sit atop the strong stems and tuck in.
Easy low care
– Growth: Evergreen perennial clump, with the foliage becoming a low, neat rosette over winter, and then rising over summer to make those huge autumn heads. Heleniums are very upright, so they take up very little sideways room.
– Easy Care: Both Heleniums and their gardeners co-exist happily together, with little to no work or problems.
Cutting back the finished flowering stems is about the only work you need to do.And clumps can be divided every few years if you want to share.
– Beware: Helenium autumnale contain a toxin that may cause nausea when ingested in large amounts. Though a human would have to eat a very large quantity (and it is definitely not tasty).
However Helenium should not be planted where horses may graze them.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Those clever deer and rabbits pests seem to know about the nausea causing toxin, and leave it alone.
Helenium does not make you sneeze
– Mistaken identity: Heleniums are often called “Sneezeweed”, to the alarm of hayfever sufferers.
However it is a case of mistaken identity. Because Heleniums gained the common name of “Sneezeweed” when they were popular for making snuff centuries ago, not because they make you sneeze with allergy.
– Fragrance: Sadly no scent, but brilliant cut flowers instead.
– Origin: Helenium autumnale is found wild from the cold of Canada to the heat of California. Hence the natural hardiness and adaptability of Heleniums.