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Heliopsis helianthoides

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Kemper Code:  G520

Common Name: oxeye sunflower
Zone: 3 to 9
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Missouri Native: Yes
Native Range: Ontario to Florida and Mississippi
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Spread: 2 to 4 feet
Bloom Time: June - August   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Orange-yellow rays with brown center disks
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates drought, but does better if regularly watered. Tolerates wide range of soils, including poor ones. Tolerates some light shade, but plants grown in too much shade tend to require support. Remove spent flowers to extend the blooming season.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

Oxeye is a clump-forming, upright, Missouri native perennial which occurs in open or rocky woods, thickets, prairies and along railroads throughout Missouri, except for the southeast lowlands. Typically grows 3-6' tall. Features daisy-like flowers (2-3" diameter) with yellow-orange rays and brown center disks atop stiff stems. Rough, serrate, medium green leaves (to 5" long). This species is a somewhat weedy plant that is less floriferous (and therefore less desirable as a garden plant) than the cultivars available (see H. 'Ballerina' and H. 'Summer Sun'). Lengthy summer to early fall bloom. Heliopsis is both similar in appearance to and closely related to Helianthus, the true sunflower. Good fresh cut flower.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to aphids. Taller plants may need staking or other support.


Provides long summer bloom for the perennial border or cutting garden. Also effective in a native plant or wild garden or as part of a naturalized planting or prairie area.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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