x-Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'
Heleniums are tough, vigorous plants loved for their bright, hot, daisy-shaped flowers that bloom late in the season, often lasting well into the autumn until the frosts finally knock them back.
'Sahin's Early Flowerer' has flame-streaked petals, tipped with golden yellow, surrounding a chocolate brown central cone, and will flower in succession from June until November, if fading blooms are regularly nipped out.
Despite its name it is not the earliest helenium, but with a flowering potential of almost six months it is certainly one of the longest. One way to prolong its flowering season is to give plants the Chelsea chop – a cut that is undertaken in late May around the time of the flower show (hence the name). For a guaranteed late succession of blooms, cut half your clump before they flower, delaying their blooming for a few weeks. The uncut clump will flower as usual only to be replaced by the cut stems a few weeks later.
Heleniums love full sun and fertile, moist soil and are perfect for a sunny border. Plant them in spring, adding lots of organic matter such as garden compost or well rotted manure to keep the soil moist and fertility up and be ready to protect the emerging young foliage from slugs and snails who love their young, fresh growth.
'Sahin's' is more drought tolerant then other varieties but if it starts to wilt in hot summers a good long drink should revive it. Although not the tallest helenium - and clumps should be able to support themselves - it is worth staking clumps on windier sites. Cut plants down to the ground in late winter and keep plants in top condition by dividing clumps every couple of years in spring.
Loved by bees and butterflies, helenium also make gorgeous cut flowers for vases indoors. They are at their best in the low autumn sun so plant towards the front of a border where they can catch the light. They are great companions to grasses and with other hot palette plants such as crocosmias, alstromerias and monarda but also look striking with contrasting pinks and blues like agastache and Echinacea.