Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’—Must Have Summer Flower

Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’—A Celebration of Color and Blooms!

Helenium 'Mardi Gras'Today’s blog features Helenium Mardi Gras. Patented as ‘Helbro’ (USPP#15124), comes to Rozanne® and Friends from Bob Brown, Cotswold Garden Flowers, UK.

The appropriately named Mardi Gras, features festive orange-yellow streaked flowers that, per its inventor, “produce a riot of multicolored blooms for six to eight weeks in the summer, from late June to early August”. Sounds like quite a party!

Plants develop strong, upright flowering clumps that sway gently in the wind. It’s larger and more free-flowering than Helenium ‘Coppelia’.

Received the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year award from the Calgary Horticultural Society (Alberta, Canada).

More than meets the eye

The common name, “Helen’s Flower”, is preferred over another one often used— “Sneezeweed”. Native Americans used dried flower petals to combat hay fever; however, this common name infers that sneezing would be caused, rather than cured!

Plants provide nice accent plants for middle and back border gardens, but also make an impressive display en masse. Plants are useful for cut flowers, are attractive to butterflies and have a long bloom period in summer. Also deer resistant!

For growers

  • Typically plant 1 liner per 8-inch (20 cm) or 2-gallon (8 litre) pots.
  • Vernalization is not required. Long days are required for flowering. Only short, basal growth occurs under short days.
  • Plant unvernalized liners in early May for flowering in early July.
  • Media pH: 5.8 to 6.4; media EC 1.0 to 1.5 mmhos/cm. Weaker plants develop with high fertilization rates.
  • Water thoroughly and keep moist between irrigations as mature plants need extra water.
  • Potential problems are aphids, spider mites, powdery mildew and rust.
  • See our Technical Guide for more information.

 In the garden

  • For middle and back garden borders. Also nice in mass plantings.
  • Plants are useful for cut flowers, are attractive to bees and butterflies and have a long bloom period in summer. Also deer resistant!
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8.; AHS Heat Zones 8 to 1.
  • Grow in full sun.
  • Spread 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm).
  • Height 36 to 40 inches (91 to 102cm).
  • Often cutback plants after flowering since spent flowering stems may break easily and become unsightly.