HOW TO GROW AND SAVE SEED OF HELIOPSIS

Latin name Heliopsis helianthoides is an herbaceous perennial in the Aster family. A care-free wild flower that is noted for being fairly drought tolerant.

 

HISTORY

Native to central and eastern North America, it is also known as ox eye. An excellent choice for native pollinator gardens. Named for the flowers' resemblance to the sun.

 

USES

  • Native wildflower. Native plantings, wildflower meadows/mixes.
  • Rehabilitation/ restoration sites. Pollinator garden.
  • Visited by butterflies, a range of pollinating insects and beneficial insects as well as a diversity of birds. A specialist pollinator of heliopsis is the ground nesting miner bee.

 

SEED STARTING

  • Seeds germinate in 14-21 days.
  • Direct seed outdoors right around the time of last frost. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 65-75 F.

 

GROWING

  • Plants prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade.
  • Plants are heat and drought tolerant, although they perform best when regularly watered.
  • They also tolerate a wide range of poor soil, from rocky to clay to low fertility.
  • Please note that this perennial really shines in its second and subsequent years. The first year it can be slightly unimpressive, but is stunning after that.

 

PESTS/SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Typically very vigorous and pest free, the plants are sometimes bothered by aphids.
  • The tall plants will benefit from staking.

 

SEED SAVING

  • Allow the flowerhead containing the seeds to mature completely and dry on the plant, then clip it off and place it in a container.
  • Working over the top of another clean, opened container, rub the flowerheads between the palms, breaking them apart.
  • The seeds can be separated from the chaff by first screening and then winnowing.
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place over winter.