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Oxeye sunflower

Heliopsis helianthoides

Heliopsis helianthoides

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Dry to Medium

Height: 3-6'

Spread: 2-4'

Flowering period: June to August

As the day transitions to evening, smooth oxeye’s yellow blooms take on a warm, orangish aspect as though expressing an internal light. Over the course of an exceptionally long, 2-3 month flowering period, the plant is indeed a beacon to pollinators, with bees large and small drawn to its pollen and nectar.

Smooth oxeye is easy to grow in the garden and performs well in a variety of conditions, including full to partial sunlight and moderately wet to dry soil. In natural settings the plant is usually associated with woodlands, and in NE Ohio, it can be found growing in forest openings and edges. The plant is tolerant of drought and is thus a good choice for parts of the yard that tend to be fairly dry, such as tree lawns.

Smooth oxeye will attain a height of 4-6’ and usually displays a bushy appearance due to branching along its stems. It does not spread by rhizome, but its seed germinates quite readily, potentially leading to numerous seedlings near the parent plant. Removing the old flowerheads will prevent re-seeding. Smooth oxeye has good resistance against herbivory, seeming to be mostly ignored by browsing deer.

Smooth oxeye’s floral contribution is especially noticeable in June, a time when few other plants are blooming. Smooth penstemon, white baptisia, Ohio spiderwort, and narrow-leaved sundrops are some other June bloomers that will complement smooth oxeye. With its early and long flowering, and tolerance for dry soil as well as partial shade, smooth oxeye can bring color and floral resources to some challenging gardening situations.

References: 1,2,3,4,5,6.

Photos by Julie Slater.

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