Perennial sunflowers are perfect for bees and butterflies. Birds will devour the seed heads too.

Common Name: Perennial Sunflower.

These are the perennial relatives of the well-loved, towering sunflowers of our childhoods. They make great  long flowering, trouble free subjects for the back of a sunny border. They will also grow well in dappled shade.

Most are great in dry soils.


Great for bees.

Most spread slowly - some do run a lot (e.g. laetiflorus). Cut down the stems in early winter. Lift and divide every 2 or 3 years otherwise the plants can be very difficult to break up. Some are said to be less hardy than others. In very cold winters the new buds at the soil surface can be damaged, but in my experience the plants recover well but may be a little later to flower.

Some species have chocolate scented flowers. This is only really noticeable if you get your nose right into the bloom.

Some species have chocolate scented flowers. This is only really noticeable if you get your nose right into the bloom.

A member of the Asteraceae family.

Helianthus Bitter Chocolate

Attractive foliage plant during the summer and then in autumn grows very tall and in late September and October the flowers appear and they are chocolate scented. More of a drinking chocolate aroma to my nose. Very tall - about 6-7ft / 180-210cm with arching stems.

Helianthus Capenoch Star

Anenome-centred flowers on 5ft / 150cm stems. You can't help smiling!

Helianthus Happy Days

Flowers much like Capenoch Star but with larger centres. The main attraction is that the plants are quite short - 4ft / 120cm tall - and remain compact.

In bloom from late July

Helianthus Helios

New introduction to the UK obtained from Austria's Sarastro Nursery. A tall and willowy sterile hybrid between H. x kellermannii (itself a hybrid) and H. microcephalus. This parentage means he does run a bit but also that he should tolerate less sunny positions

We've been growing him for a couple of years now and his been a really good performer.

In bloom from late August. 5ft / 150cm tall. Well drained soil, not extreme acid.

Helianthus Lemon Queen

Masses of pale yellow rayed flowers each 2-3in across. The upright plants are 5ft / 150cm tall and self supporting. In flower from August to October. Spreads to form a 2ft wide clump in two years.

RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Helianthus Loddon Gold

Double golden yellow flowers from July onwards.  About 3 - 4ft tall depending on soil and position. Flowers well in sun or part sun.

RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Probably raised by Thomas Carlisle in the 1930's

All text and images ©SpecialPerennials.com 2007 - 2023 A partnership of Janet & Martin Blow. Privacy Statement