Gelenium (Helenium) and its species / varieties in the photo – decorative flowers

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Helenium is a genus of herbaceous annuals and perennials of the Asteraceae or Compositae family, found wild in Central and North America. Some species are grown as ornamental plants.

  • Family: Compositae.
  • Origin: North and Central America.
  • Rhizome: in the most common species – annual, superficial.
  • Stem: strong, straight.
  • Leaves: alternate, lanceolate.
  • Fruit: seed.
  • Reproductive ability: propagated by dividing the bush, seeds.
  • Illumination: photophilous, some varieties tolerate partial shade.
  • Watering: plentiful.
  • Content temperature: frost-resistant.
  • Flowering time: second half of summer and autumn, 60 days.

Description of the flower gelenium

Perennial or annual rhizomatous plants from 75 to 160 cm high with strong straight stems, branching in the upper part, and oval lanceolate leaves, petiolate in the rosette, sessile alternate on the stem.

Most species in nature, growing in wet meadows and swamps of North and Central America, do not have perennial rhizomes. By autumn, their stems die off, but buds form on the underground part, from which new rosettes with young roots develop in the future. Species growing in mountainous areas have a powerful, deep-lying, perennial rhizome.

Gelenium flowers are single or corymbose baskets 3-7 cm in diameter, with yellow, red, orange, brown, monochromatic or two-color marginal ligulate, and yellow or brown convex central tubular flowers. The fruit is an oblong-cylindrical achene with slight pubescence.

Flower Helenium in the photo.

According to legend, the Helenium flower got its name in honor of the wife of the king of ancient Greek Sparta Menelaus, the beautiful Helen, who was abducted by the Trojan Paris. Her tears, falling on the ground of Troy, turned into golden flowers.

It has been used in culture since 1635, it was first mentioned in the scientific literature in 1755, when Carl Linnaeus described the only species known at that time, H. autumnale (autumn gelenium).

Common decorative types and varieties of gelenium

There are more than 30 species in the genus, of which the following are most often used in culture:

Gelenium Bigelow (H. bigelovii) , about 80 cm high, with whole lanceolate leaves, blooming in June-July, baskets up to 6 cm in diameter with yellow reed and brown central flowers.

Helenium spring (H. vernalis) , up to 1 m high, blooms in mid-May, baskets with orange petals and a dark brown center.

Helenium Gupes (H. hoopesii) , a resident of the mountainous regions of North America, a perennial up to 1 m tall, with a powerful rhizome, grayish-green decorative foliage and orange baskets with narrow long petals collected in large umbrella inflorescences. Blooms in June.

Gelenium low (H. pumilum) , low, up to 60cm, perennial with yellow flowers blooming in August. The showy variety Magnificum is grown in the borders.

Helenium autumn (H. autumnale) , the most common species in decorative floriculture, up to 160 cm tall, with medium-sized sessile leaves, finely serrated at the edges, and baskets 3-5 cm in diameter, collected in corymbose inflorescences at the tops of the stems. The color of reed flowers is yellow or reddish, tubular – dark yellow. Blooms from July to September. A typical representative is the autumn gelenium variety “Sunny Hill”. It is tall, with bright yellow inflorescences collected in corymbs up to 30 cm in diameter.

Gelenium hybrid (H. hybridum) , a species that includes most garden forms, varieties and interspecific hybrids grown in gardens, as well as hybrids of unclear origin, different in height, color and flowering time. The source for them is usually the previous species, H. autumnale.

Until recently, in our country, mainly natural forms of autumn gelenium and its red-flowered varieties were grown. The surge of interest in the perennial occurred due to the appearance on the market of varieties of foreign, mainly German selection. In Germany, gelenium is especially popular, there is constant selection work to create varieties with dense large flowers with wide petals, various colors and patterns. It is not surprising that many varieties common in our country have German names.

Some popular varieties of geleniums:

Rotgout , 120 cm high, red-brown baskets with a yellow-brown center;

Bruno , the same height, with bronze-red inflorescences;

Butterpat , up to 1 m tall, golden yellow;

Brassingham Gold , bright yellow, up to 1 m tall;

Kokarde , 140-150 cm tall, scarlet-red baskets with a yellow edge;

Sonnenberg , bright yellow, 110-120 cm high;

Vindley , up to 80 cm tall, yellow-orange, has a particularly long flowering;

Chipperfield Orange , tall, up to 180 cm, orange;

Crimson Beauty , undersized, up to 60 cm, blooms in June-July.

Below are photos of geleniums of various varieties.

Growing and propagating geleniums

For growing gelenium, a well-lit area with moist fertile soil of a neutral reaction is chosen. Varieties with yellow flowers, unlike red-flowered ones, can successfully bloom in partial shade.

Most often, hybrid and autumn geleniums are planted in our gardens. These species are moisture-loving, have a superficial root system, therefore, so that the roots do not dry out, plantings are recommended to be mulched, and watered at least 2 times a week in dry weather. With a lack of moisture, the lower leaves dry out prematurely.

Depending on the variety and height of the plants, when planting, they are placed at a distance of 25 to 75 cm. Tall specimens are tied up. To form dense and lush bushes at the end of May or in June, some of the shoots are shortened, which causes them to branch and bloom later. Geleniums are responsive to fertilizing with mineral and organic fertilizers, which are carried out at the beginning of the growing season and during the budding period. To prolong flowering, wilted inflorescences are removed. In autumn, the stems are cut at the root.

Plants are frost-resistant, however, replacement buds on the underground part of the stem are formed every year closer to the soil surface, so bushes of 3-4 years of age must be divided and replanted. Otherwise, without mulching and adding soil, the flower may freeze.

The easiest way to propagate is by dividing the bushes, which, when dug up, easily fall apart into separate outlets. Division is best done in May. For seed propagation, seeds are planted in the ground in autumn or spring, sowing in seedlings is possible. At 18-22 ° C shoots appear in 15-20 days. After the appearance of 2-3 true leaves, the seedlings dive, in early June they are planted in the ground at a distance of 30 – 35 cm. Plantings bloom the next year.

Less commonly, Helenium Gupes is grown in gardens . For this early-flowering gelenium, planting and care are largely the same, but due to a deeper and more powerful root system, it is more drought-resistant, does not require high soil moisture and frequent watering, and hibernates without shelter.

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