“Rubinswerg” means “Red Dwarf” in German.
No surprise then to find striking, dark burnished red flowers on Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’, but all produced on a compact, tidy, neat plant.
Mahogany & burnished red
So the deep red petals combine with mahogany central cones,and egg yellow stamens, to make dramatic huge heads of autumn flowers.
(See “Growing” section below for plant details, How / where to grow).
Suits small gardens
Because ‘Rubinzwerg’ has such well branched stems, it can produce a great mass of autumn bloom, despite its compact size.
So this is the Helenium of choice for small gardens.
Armloads of autumn flowers when others are failing
Heleniums are invaluable for extending the season of garden colour, because at the end of summer, just when the other flowers are flagging, the Heleniums cheerily bounce up.
So they begin to bloom in late summer, and then continue across autumn with their rich autumnal colours.
Happily they are immune to heat and able to resist autumn tempests with those coned heads and strong, stout stems.
So they are suitable for windy and exposed gardens.
Commercial quality cut flowers
German and Dutch plant breeders have created many of the new Helenium hybrids especially for commercial cut flower production. Hence they are brilliantly unfading and long lasting in vases.
Trouble free & low maintenance
Heleniums and their owners enjoy a trouble free existence together.
Because they are largely untroubled by any pests and diseases; nothing seems to care to eat them: and the only 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 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.
Elite plant – Prizewinner for all round garden performance and beauty
One of the highest honours a plant can receive, is to win the prestigious “Award of Garden Merit” from the Royal Horticultural Society.
It ranks with winning an Olympic Gold Medal. So many plants are submitted each year to the Royal Horticultural Society’s stringent trials, and very few plants finally come out with the coveted honour.
Should your plant be successful, then your career as a plant breeder is stellar, and the royalties roll in.
But the Royal Horticultural Society will only award to the very best, on the basis of all round garden performance and outstanding beauty. Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’ beat off all comers in 1989.
Growing: Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’
– Height with flowers: Well branched, strong stems to 75cm. 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 regularity in watering. 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.
It 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: Peter and Bärbel Zur Linden bred the delightful ‘Rubinzwerg in 1989. To go into their nursery in Germany, was like going into a lolly shop – nothing could or should be resisted.
– Native habitat: Helenium autumnale is found wild from the cold of Canada to the heat of California. Hence the natural hardiness and adaptability of Heleniums.