Heliopsis

Heliopsis flowers

A vigorous, hardy perennial from the American prairies that produces useful, large yellow flowers in late summer.

Family: Asteraceae
Botanical Name: Heliopsis (hay-lee-op-sis)
Common Names: False sunflower, Ox Eye

Foliage: Deciduous, course, spear-shaped green leaves.

Flowers: Yellow sunflower-like flowers with a golden centre (similar to perennial Helianthus).

Flowering Period: Late-summer to early autumn.

Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.

Habit: Bushy, upright.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Origin: North America.

Hardiness: Most varieties are fully hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Heliopsis

Easy to grow. Thrives in any moderately fertile, humus-rich soil, in full sun.

Plant out in the autumn or spring. Do not plant too deep. Once planted they are best left undisturbed.

A useful late flowering border plant. The flowers can be disappointing in the first year but should improve in following seasons.

A good source of cut flowers in late summer and autumn.

Taking Care of Heliopsis

No need to stake as the plants are usually sturdy and self supporting. Although, over-rich soil can produce weak and floppy growth.

Pruning Heliopsis

Cut back after flowering in the autumn.

Pests and Diseases

The young growth is susceptible to attack by slugs and snails. Can be affected by powdery mildew and fungal disease.

Propagating Heliopsis

Increase by division when dormant or take basal cuttings in the early spring.

Varieties of Heliopsis

The only garden worthy species is H. helianthoides also known as H. scabra or var. scabra.

Heliopsis helianthoides (false sunflower) is a showy short-lived upright perennial with small sunflower-like flowers in late summer. Height 3-4ft (90-120cm). Cultivars include:


  • 'Gigantea' produces bright yellow flowers throughout summer.
  • 'Golden Double Hybrids' produce double and semi-double golden yellow, large, daisy like flower heads on strong branching stems. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Golden Plume' has double yellow flowers.
  • 'Incomparabilis' bears large double, orange-yellow flowers. Height 3ft (90cm).
  • 'Patula' produces chrome yellow flowers in late summer. Height 3ft (90cm).
  • 'Red Shades' has dark chocolate-brown foliage and smaller orange-red blooms throughout summer. For sale at Van Meuwen.
  • 'Summer Nights' bears bright and cheerful daisy-like flowers. For sale at Crocus.