Fall Heleniums

HEL-main1As hot as it is in July, we are starting to prepare our fall color. Already our very first color crops are available for shipping, and we will be releasing a lot of new material for the autumn season in the next few weeks. Right out of the gate we have three Heleniums new to the industry: ‘Fuego’, ‘Salsa’ and ‘Sombrero’.

Heleniums are used to extend the color season of cut gardens or perennial beds from late summer into the fall. They are important because they are short and compact versions of a very worthy garden classic.

You may remember perennial Heleniums as tall, bushy plants. These dwarves are not like that; however, they still have that Helenium firepower that we like so much. The flower heads are usually small, but the plants make up for it in the large masses of buds they generate.


When you look closely at the blooms you can see they look similar to asters, but they have a very large, domed eye in the middle. Better still, Heleniums come in bright, vibrant colors that we don’t see in asters:

  • ‘Sombrero’ = yellow petals with a yellow eye—very pure color
  • ‘Fuego’ = red and yellow bicolor with a dark brown eye—think mini gaillardia
  • ‘Salsa’ = dark red with a brown eye


Although short, these plants are wide. They grow about 18 or so inches but about two feet around, so they can cover a fair amount of soil once they reach full size. It is very easy to build a mass color block with just a few plants.


Another benefit of Heleniums is their hardiness. They are cold hardy down to zone 3, so you can add them as part of your fall-blooming perennial project.