Heliopsis

(Heliopsis helianthoides) Native to central and eastern North America, heliopsis is also known as ox eye. Heliopsis is an herbaceous perennial in the Aster family. This carefree wildflower is noted for being fairly drought tolerant and forgiving of a wide range of poor soils, though it does best when regularly watered. This flower is super attractive to pollinators, and it is hardy from USDA zones 3-9. Some gardeners will direct sow seeds in place in the fall, allowing the seeds to experience winter's chill. These plants will bloom in their first growing season. If you sow them in the spring, they may bloom in year one, or they may produce leaves only and bloom in the following year. For spring planting, start them indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost date, or direct seed outdoors right around the time of last frost. Sow the seeds ¼ inch deep. Ideal germination temperature is 65-75 F. Seeds germinate in 14-21 days. Plants prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade. Space plants 18-24 inches apart. The roots of heliopsis will perennialize in most zones. It is not an aggressive spreader; the base will grow over time, and you can divide the clumps every 2 to 3 years.

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