Bringing a wonderful splash of warm golden orange, copper and yellow sunshine shades to the flower border, sneezeweed graces the garden with its lovely, happy blooms from mid summer through autumn, and better still, bees and other pollinators love this cheerful flowering plant.
Sneezeweed is a member of the Asteracea family and also one of the 'coneflowers' along with Echinacea and Rudbeckia. Like so many sharing the same family (Asteracea), if you add it to your border, you’ll stand a good chance of attracting honey bees, bumble bees and a range of solitary bee species to your garden, not to mention butterflies and hoverflies.
Better still, sneezeweed comes into its glory through the last weeks of summer, to help late emerging bee species, as well as helping honey bees stock up in preparation for the cooler period ahead.
Sometimes I think of sneezeweed almost as an alternative to the sunflower: if you want a flower with all the cheer of a sunflower, but with smaller flower heads, all whilst feeding the bees at the same time, sneezeweed is a great choice.
Compact varieties are available, but I especially like the very tall ones -
they catch the eye even at the back of the border with those lovely vibrant flower heads.
Sneezeweed is available as a perennial, biennial or annual. It is easy to grow from seed, but do be cautious if handling seeds as they may irritate the skin.
Sneezeweed needs a sunny spot, and although it can thrive in an exposed position, you may need to support tall stems. You can dead head the flowers to prolong the flowering season.
Select a perennial variety, and divide the clumps in autumn to quickly establish new patches – or even donate a clump to a neighbour or friend to help get as many people as possible on board with including flowers for bees in their gardens (it works – I have given lamb’s ear and linaria to nearby friends and neighbours to help encourage and expand the territory of wool carder bees in my area – likewise, a neighbour gave pulmonaria to me, which attracts hairy footed flower bees to my garden).
It is largely pest free, although it can be troubled by a bit of leaf spot.
There are lovely sneezeweeds to choose from that will be appreciated by pollinators in your garden. Here are a few varieties for you to consider (check the height for your particular flower border requirements):
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