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False Sunflowers: An In-Depth Have a look at Their That means, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance

You would possibly mistake it for a sunflower due to its golden shade and related form to the bloom. But the False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) is a wildflower that’s solely distantly associated to the actual sunflower. In case you’re on the lookout for a plant that thrives in prairie environments the place many different flowers fail to bloom, you’ll have discovered the right match within the cheerful symbolism of this plant. On this information, I’ll run by every thing it is advisable to learn about False Sunflowers that means and symbolism, their cultural significance, appropriate gifting events, and important tricks to develop your individual at house. 

False Sunflowers: An In-Depth Look at Their Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance

False Sunflowers – The Necessities: 

Plant Household: Asteraceae
Genus: Heliopsis
Scientific Identify: Heliopsis helianthoides
Native Vary: North America
Colours: Yellow
Traits: Perennial plant, bearing daisy-like flowers with yellow rays and yellow to brownish-yellow disc florets
Mature Peak: 3 to six ft
Flowering Season: Summer time
Rising Zones: USDA zones 3 to 9
Daylight: Full solar
Watering: Reasonable – can tolerate some drought
Soil: Prefers well-drained, loamy soils. Can tolerate poor soils
Fertilizing: Use a balanced, slow-release wildflower fertilizer initially of the rising season
Pests: Inclined to leaf spot and powdery mildew. Pests embrace aphids and leaf miners
Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage reblooming. Reduce to the bottom in late fall or early spring
Symbolism: Represents everlasting life or the solar

What are False Sunflowers (Heliopsis helianthoides)?

What are False Sunflowers (Heliopsis helianthoides)?

The False Sunflower belongs to the Heliopsis genus as a part of the massive Asteraceae household. Many different vegetation referred to as ox-eyes belong to the genus. Many of the genus members function a buttery or golden yellow shade to the petals. 

The vegetation could range in top, however most have alternating leaves on a tall stem topped by one or a cluster of flowers. Particular person flowers have a compound heart and daisy-style petals. 

Heliopsis helianthoides, particularly, grows between three and 4 ft tall with stiff stems. Most varieties have barely furry leaves however could also be easy as a substitute.

Native Vary

The False Sunflower is native to North America, extra particularly, the Japanese and Central areas, however different members of the genus additionally develop by South America. 

It’s typically grown within the prairies of the Midwest however could unfold aggressively in these areas. Most ox-eyes and False Sunflower varieties have little to no scent. 

Many members of the Heliopsis genus are merely grown from wild inventory, however the False Sunflower has been selectively bred and has a number of named varieties like:

  • Waterperry Gold
  • Benzinggold
  • Mild of Loddon
  • Summer time Solar
  • Prairie Sundown.


The title Heliopsis is derived from the mixture of the phrase for solar, Helios, and the phrase for look, or Opsis. That’s why it has the literal title of sunflower regardless of not being associated to different flowers sharing that title. 

Except for being referred to as the False Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides is also referred to as the tough ox-eye or frequent ox-eye. That is as a result of eye-like association of the flower’s heart and petals. Even the person clusters that make up the middle of the flower have an eye-like look.

Symbolism and That means within the Language of Flowers

Symbolism and Meaning in the Language of Flowers

False Sunflowers symbolize pleasure, heat, and happiness as brilliant yellow flowers that tilt towards gold in shade. The complexity of the flower’s heart additionally conveys a way of marvel and awe. 

The scientific title for the flower hyperlinks it to the Greek god Helios. Helios was the personification of the Solar itself and was believed to journey throughout the sky every day in a chariot that shone down mild on Earth. Which means that the False Sunflower can symbolize the necessity to hold shifting and search new inspiration as nicely. 

For the reason that plant is native to North America, it wasn’t immediately used within the Victorian Flower Language or many older types of flower symbolism. It might have been used for symbolic functions of the Native Individuals of the Japanese and Central areas.

Appropriate Gifting Events

Take into account gifting a bouquet that includes these sunny flowers in case you’re making an attempt to ship an uplifting message of hope to somebody. The nice and cozy yellow-to-gold shade conveys pleasure and good well being. It’s an ideal addition to a get-well-soon bouquet or a present for somebody who’s feeling down.

Makes use of and Advantages of False Sunflowers

The flowers themselves are edible with a light style. They are often candied to be used on desserts or added to a salad with out additional preparation. 

Nonetheless, you have to be positive you’ve correctly recognized your Heliopsis helianthoides vegetation first. Many look-alike Aster vegetation are irritating and even poisonous to eat. Rising the vegetation from seed is an effective manner to make sure you get the right species.

Except for being a superb garnish, the False Sunflower is enticing to many bugs and birds. Bees, butterflies, and extra will go to for the nectar and pollen. Birds take pleasure in consuming the seeds of the dried pods and catching the bugs drawn to the flowers. They play a superb position in any pollinator backyard in varied climates. 

Historically, the leaves of this plant have been used to make tea for treating fever and chest congestion. There isn’t sufficient testing to find out if that is secure within the trendy period, so it’s finest prevented.

The right way to Develop False Sunflowers

How to Grow False Sunflowers

The False Sunflower is well-adapted to numerous circumstances and thrives in USDA zones 3 by 9. It’s a perennial that can return from the roots and any dropped seeds yr after yr. 

You merely have to put aside a patch of well-draining but moist soil that isn’t too wealthy or poor. So long as it doesn’t get too moist and it has full solar, the False Sunflower will thrive for years with little consideration. 

Water it weekly through the first summer time of multinational, after which it ought to have the drought tolerance to face up to even the driest circumstances. Keep away from heavy clay soils and damp areas. 

Fertilize solely annually with a wildflower feed combine utilized within the spring earlier than flowering begins. This plant is customized to forest meadows and open prairie areas. Don’t let it get shaded out by taller vegetation or shrubs. Maintain it within the entrance of any blended mattress plantings or edge makes use of.

Caring for False Sunflowers

Deadheading all through the summer time season will hold the False Sunflower blooming for so long as potential. These wildflowers are well-adapted and may endure from comparatively few pests and ailments when planted of their native vary. 

In different areas, they could expertise whiteflies, thrips, and aphids infesting them in early summer time. Attempt a broad-spectrum natural pesticide spray to regulate pests once they seem. If planted in appropriate local weather zones, these vegetation shouldn’t want any further care to outlive the winter.

Greatest Companion Vegetation for False Sunflowers

1. Ironweed – The deep purple shade of those blooms contrasts sharply in opposition to the gold of the False Sunflower. They’re additionally simple to develop and require related rising circumstances. The truth that they feed bees and butterflies contributes to their match with the False Sunflower.

2. Yarrow – These two vegetation typically develop shut collectively within the prairie remnants scattered throughout the Central plains. Ornamental Yarrow varieties supply loads of shade choices to play with.

3. Wild Bergamot – One other glorious plant for attracting bees, Wild Bergamot is a pure match to pair with False Sunflower. Attempt the purple varieties for a daring shade distinction or the sweet-smelling lavender sort for simple development.

Inventive Makes use of for False Sunflowers

Creative Uses for False Sunflowers

Within the backyard, line borders and flower mattress preparations with this yellow wildflower for a burst of shade. It has the right top to both develop in entrance of taller vegetation or behind shorter ones. Ensure that to incorporate them in any design supposed for attracting pollinators or serving to wildlife. 

False Sunflowers are simply added to flower preparations that function true Sunflowers, lilies, daisies, and tulips. They assist ship a playful and joyful message. In case you rigorously press and dry the flowers, they are often displayed in framed artwork items for a few years.

False Sunflower Crafts

To start out making crafts along with your False Sunflowers, strive choosing a number of flowers simply as they open. Prepare the petals so they’re evenly unfold whereas the blooms are flattened out. Place them between two sheets of watercolor paper or paper towels. Sandwich the paper in a heavy guide or between two heavy books for about one month. Test to see in the event that they’re fully dry but. If not, proceed drying for as much as six extra months as a result of utilizing them to accent bookmarks and present playing cards.

False Sunflowers FAQs:

How lengthy do False Sunflowers bloom for?

Blooming begins in June and runs for 2 to a few months in most areas.

What’s the superb local weather for rising False Sunflowers?

These vegetation can deal with USDA zones 3 by 9, though they like summer time heat.

Can False Sunflowers develop in containers or indoors?

As a meadow wildflower, the False Sunflower tends to battle in containers and received’t thrive indoors.

How typically ought to I water my False Sunflowers?

Water weekly through the first summer time of development. After that solely water if the vegetation wilt throughout long-term drought.

When is the very best time of yr to plant False Sunflowers?

Seeds and roots ought to be planted within the spring. Vegetation grown in pots may be transplanted within the fall however could dry up and die again instantly. They need to return subsequent spring.

How can I defend my False Sunflowers from pests and ailments?

Don’t apply an excessive amount of mulch or fertilize too typically. Extreme fertilization causes the vegetation to get weak and entice extra pests. Mulch can assist in very dry circumstances, however keep away from it in case you get rain usually since it will probably encourage root rot.

How can I lengthen my False Sunflowers’ lifespan after being reduce?

Change the water each day and hold the reduce flowers out of direct daylight. The flowers ought to last as long as one week with excellent care.

Wrapping Up

This flower symbolizes pleasure and heat to all who see it. Whether or not you develop it in your backyard or simply add it to a flower association, False Sunflower can brighten up your day.

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc diploma in Plant Sciences and has skilled professionally at main floristry colleges in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a worldwide editorial group, Andrew’s a passionate content material creator round all issues flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.



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