Inula

Inula hookeri

A classic yellow daisy-like perennial with a long flowering season. Long-lived and easy to grow. A good choice if you garden on heavy soil. Attracts a variety of different pollinator insects.

Family: Asteraceae
Botanical Name: Inula (in-ew-la)
Common Names: Fleabane

Foliage: Deciduous, broad or narrow, lanceolate green leaves.

Flowers: Yellow, large daisy-like flowers, usually with long narrow ray-florets. Solitary or in lax clusters.

Flowering Period: Summer into autumn.

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

Conditions: Partial shade. Plant in a north, east or west facing aspect.

Habit: Upright, clump forming.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Origin: Europe, Caucasia, Asia.

Hardiness: Fully hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Inula

Plant from autumn to early spring. Thrives in any good garden soil providing that it does not dry out in summer. Particularly suited to clay soils. On light sandy soils, add plenty of well-rotted organic matter or garden compost to improve the moisture-holding capability.

Some varieties can be invasive so site with care.

The long stemmed flowers are ideal for cutting.

Taking Care of Inula

Stake taller varieties on exposed sites.

Mulch in spring and water well during dry spells. Lift and divide established clumps every three years or so, to reinvigorate.

Pruning Inula

Cut the stems down to ground level once the flowers have faded.

Pests and Diseases

The leaves can be affected by powdery mildews.

Propagating Inula

Divide and replant established clumps in the spring or autumn. Alternatively, increase from seed sown under the protection of a cold frame, in early spring or direct sow in open ground from late spring.

Popular Varieties of Inula

Inula ensifolia (swordleaf inula) is a compact from with long narrow leaves and solitary flowers on strong stems. Height 18in (45cm), spread 12in (30cm). Variety compacta is a dwarf form with deep yellow rayed flowers in summer. Height 10in (25cm).

Inula Grandiflora is a compact clump-forming form with spider-like golden-yellow flowers. Height and spread up to 20in (50cm). Seed for sale at Suttons.

Inula helenium (elecampane) has toothed green leaves with a hairy underside. Bears large brown-eyed, yellow daisies on tall stems from June to August. For sale at Crocus.



Inula hookeri (Hooker inula) a vigorous species that bears large pale yellow solitary flowers in autumn. Height 2.5ft (75cm), spread to 2ft (60cm) or more.

Inula magnifica (giant inula) is a tall form that produces rough broad oval green leaves and open clusters of vivid deep-yellow flowers in late summer. Height 6ft (180cm), spread 3ft (90cm).

Inula orientalis (Georgian fleabane) has oval hairy leaves and woolly buds that open to large, finely rayed, orange-yellow flowers in summer. Height 2ft (60cm), spread 18in (45cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.

Inula royleana (Kashmir inula) has oval leaves and deep golden yellow solitary flowers from late summer to early autumn. Height 2ft (60cm).