|This clump of Helenium is at the perfect stage of growth for proper division, a task which must be carefully timed if you intend to avoid any disturbance in growth.|
|Helenium can help carry the perennial border through the hottest days of summer|
As spring starts to arrive here in the North East, ( and a glorious spring, at that) - we gardeners are grateful for this cool, gradual introduction to summer, as it is kind to plants, and it offers us time to divide perennials such as hosta and phlox, which must be divided while only a few inches tall. In most years, I either forget to divide over-grown perennials, or I just run out of time. This year, I am already ahead of schedule, having divided a few choice hosta selections and other perennials like asters. Why divide? Well, first of all, division is essential for good health with many perennials such as aster, phlox, daylily, echium and helenium, as after thee or four years of continual growth, a sizable crown will begin to deteriorate in the center, resulting in a less than spectacular display, and if you never divide these perennials, they will eventually become weaker and weaker.
A few years ago I decided to invest in four selections of helenium, an under-rated perennial not often seen at garden centers, as it blooms in late July and early August, and come on - who goes to garden centers then! But although some of you may sneer at orange, gold or even brownish flowers, I crave their heat during these hot summer days, because they put on a spectacular display, and one that lasts for weeks. Aside from the fact that helenium are rather disease free ( sure, it can suffer with a little powdery mildew, which one can avoid if you water in the early morning), the genus is worth introducing to your perennial border.
Sure, you can plant just one, for a mature clump can be impressive alone, but I crave 'wow', so this year, I have divided my three clumps into 20 clumps ( and I love imagining what those gallon-sized containers would have cost me if I had purchased them on-line or at the garden center! I am not planting a perennial border that only someone who has won Mega Millions could!
|Since Helenium are easy to propagate, there is no reason to ever buy more than one of each variety, and then divide them every year until you have a summer display which is epic.|