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Heliopsis, ‘Oxeye Sunflower’

A must for your butterfly garden!
‘Oxeye Sunflower’ produces a profusion of golden yellow flowers that are beautiful when used in floral arrangements. This is an exceptionally long-blooming flower that will start in June and often bloom into September. It attracts nectar seeking butterflies and birds who enjoy the ripe seeds. Deadhead to extend the bloom time. This hardy perennial tolerates drought but increases more rapidly in fertile soil. Grows around three feet tall in almost any soil, including rich damp sand, loam and heavy clay.

This is a great plant for the busy home gardener who expects his plants to give him more than he deserves. It will produce arm loads of flowers all summer long and never once ask for decent soil or proper care. It will even thrive on heavy clay where other flowers refuse to grow. And bees and butterflies will feed on the nectar and enjoy it while the “gardener” is away doing real work.


# Description Qty per Unit Units Available Price/Unit
ZS8HEOXT Heliopsis, 'Oxeye Sunflower' out of stock $0.00

Plant Details +

Size #1
Height 36"
Spacing 18-24"
Hardiness Zones 3-9
Exposure Prefers full sun, but will tolerate partial shade.
Foliage Green leaves
Flower Bright Yellow 3" flowers
Bloomtime June-Fall

General Information +

Botanical: Heliopsis helianthoides

Common: Oxeye Sunflower, False Sunflower, Rough Heliopsis, Hardy Zinnia or Orange Sunflower

Family: Asteraceae/Compositae (aster/daisy Family)

General Characteristics: Oxeye Sunflower' is a large perennial growing up to 5 ft tall from a heavy fibrous rootstock. The thin 3-6" dark green leaves have a sandpapery surfaces (both above and below) and toothed margins. They grow on short petioles, usually in opposite pairs, but sometimes, arranged in whorls of three. From midsummer into fall, the plants bear 2-3" flowers scattered singly atop loosely branched tall bare stems. The ragged daisy-like blossoms are composed of 10-16 pointed yellow ray flowers and numerous orange disc flowers, which mature into smooth 4-angled seeds. 'Oxeye Sunflower' in native to North America, from New Mexico east into South Carolina and north into southern Canada. Oxeye sunflower was originally a species of tall grass prairies and savannas. It is now most commonly encountered in prairie remnants, woodland edges, open or rocky woods, and along old roads and railroads. It may grow at elevations up to 7,000 ft.

Tip: Left to its own devices, 'Oxeye Sunflower' reseeds abundantly. It can easily be kept under control by autumn deadheading since it does not spread from rhizomes. Heliopsis is easy to grow from seed. Sow the seeds outdoors about two weeks before the last frost. To produce transplants, start them in a greenhouse six to eight weeks before last frost. At 68-70ºF (20-21º C), the seeds will germinate in 1-2 weeks. Be sure to keep the young plants evenly moist. To propagate oxeye sunflowers vegetatively, take cuttings from non-flowering shoots in the summer or divide the clumps while they are dormant. New plants can be potted up in the fall and set out in the spring. 

Use: Oxeye Sunflowers' are usually grown in casual borders, cottage gardens, rock gardens, and similar informal situations. They are also very useful in prairie restorations and wildflower meadows. The leaves of this species have been employed in folk remedies, such as honey-sweetened teas for loosening lung congestion or reducing fever. The stems have been used to treat malaria. Great cut flower, too.

Planting/Care Instructions +

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

Moisture: Oxeye Sunflower' likes good drainage and will tolerate dry conditions, but it performs best where the soil stays moist all summer.

Planting Instructions: Dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the root meets the stem) is about 1-2 inches below the soil surface. Cover with soil to the original soil surface and water thoroughly.