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Summer Sun Heliopsis Is a Great False Sunflower

Virtues: False sunflowers (Heliopsis helianthoides) are great perennials for adding bulk to the border, providing long-lasting color and drawing bees and butterflies. We love the selection Summer Sun for its height, strong stems and its ruffly golden flowers that can last into autumn.

summer sun heliopsis

Common name: ‘Sommersonne’ or Summer Sun heliopsis, false sunflower or ox-eye daisy

Botanical name:Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Sommersonne’ or Summer Sun

Flowers: Bright gold petals surround a darker gold central disk. Summer Sun heliopsis can have a double row of petals, giving the flowers a ruffled look.

Foliage: The leaves of Summer Sun heliopsis differ from those of the straight species (H. helianthoides) and its cultivars in that they are thicker and hairy.

Habit: Summer Sun heliopsis has an upright shape, growing 2 to 3 feet tall and about 1.5 to 2 feet wide.

Season: Midsummer to autumn, for flowers. Deadheading prolongs false sunflower’s bloom.

Exposure: False sunflowers bloom best and maintain a better habit in full sun, although they tolerate part shade.

Origin: Summer Sun is a cultivar of a Heliopsis species native to parts of the United States’s South, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and much of eastern Canada.

How to grow Summer Sun heliopsis: Site this perennial in full sun, in well-drained soil. It is tolerant of poor soil and different soil types as long as the drainage is good. Provide heliopsis with moderate water, about an inch a week. However, it will tolerate periods of drought once it is established. Summer Sun false sunflower will bloom into autumn if it is deadheaded; however, letting the spent flowers remain on the plant and go to seed will draw birds and encourage self-sowing. Self-sowing may be desired because the plant is naturally a short-lived perennial. Summer Sun will come true from seed (that is, seedlings will look identical to the parent plant). USDA Zones 3–9.

Image courtesy (Walters Gardens)