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

You may mistake it for a sunflower because of its golden colour and related form to the bloom. But the False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) is a wildflower that’s solely distantly associated to the actual sunflower. Should you’re in search of a plant that thrives in prairie environments the place many different flowers fail to bloom, you will have discovered the proper match within the cheerful symbolism of this plant. On this information, I’ll run by means of every part you’ll want to learn about False Sunflowers that means and symbolism, their cultural significance, appropriate gifting events, and important tricks to develop your individual at dwelling. 

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

False Sunflowers – The Necessities: 

Plant Household: Asteraceae
Genus: Heliopsis
Scientific Title: 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 toes
Flowering Season: Summer season
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 at first of the rising season
Pests: Inclined to leaf spot and powdery mildew. Pests embody aphids and leaf miners
Pruning: Deadhead spent flowers to encourage reblooming. In the reduction of 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 often called ox-eyes belong to the genus. A lot of the genus members characteristic a buttery or golden yellow colour to the petals. 

The vegetation might differ 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, specifically, grows between three and 4 toes tall with stiff stems. Most varieties have barely bushy leaves however could also be clean as a substitute.

Native Vary

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

It’s usually grown within the prairies of the Midwest however might 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
  • Gentle of Loddon
  • Summer season Solar
  • Prairie Sundown.


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

Apart from being known as the False Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides is also called the tough ox-eye or widespread ox-eye. That is because of the 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 Which means within the Language of Flowers

Symbolism and Meaning in the Language of Flowers

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

The scientific identify 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. Because of this the False Sunflower can symbolize the necessity to preserve shifting and search new inspiration as nicely. 

Because the plant is native to North America, it wasn’t instantly used within the Victorian Flower Language or many older types of flower symbolism. It might have been used for symbolic functions of the Native People of the Jap and Central areas.

Appropriate Gifting Events

Think about gifting a bouquet that includes these sunny flowers when you’re attempting to ship an uplifting message of hope to somebody. The nice and cozy yellow-to-gold colour 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 certain 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 efficient means to make sure you get the right species.

Apart from being a great garnish, the False Sunflower is engaging 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 interested in the flowers. They play a great position in any pollinator backyard in numerous 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 protected within the trendy period, so it’s greatest averted.

Easy methods to Develop False Sunflowers

How to Grow False Sunflowers

The False Sunflower is well-adapted to varied situations and thrives in USDA zones 3 by means of 9. It’s a perennial that may return from the roots and any dropped seeds 12 months after 12 months. 

You merely must 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 in the course of the first summer season of multinational, after which it ought to have the drought tolerance to resist even the driest situations. Keep away from heavy clay soils and damp areas. 

Fertilize solely yearly with a wildflower feed combine utilized within the spring earlier than flowering begins. This plant is tailored 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 combined mattress plantings or edge makes use of.

Caring for False Sunflowers

Deadheading all through the summer season season will preserve the False Sunflower blooming for so long as attainable. These wildflowers are well-adapted and may undergo from comparatively few pests and illnesses when planted of their native vary. 

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

Finest Companion Vegetation for False Sunflowers

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

2. Yarrow – These two vegetation usually develop shut collectively within the prairie remnants scattered throughout the Central plains. Ornamental Yarrow varieties provide a whole lot of colour 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 pink varieties for a daring colour distinction or the sweet-smelling lavender kind for simple development.

Artistic 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 colour. It has the proper top to both develop in entrance of taller vegetation or behind shorter ones. Be certain that to incorporate them in any design supposed for attracting pollinators or serving to wildlife. 

False Sunflowers are simply added to flower preparations that characteristic true Sunflowers, lilies, daisies, and tulips. They assist ship a playful and joyful message. Should you fastidiously 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 together with your False Sunflowers, attempt 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 ebook or between two heavy books for about one month. Verify 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 very best local weather for rising False Sunflowers?

These vegetation can deal with USDA zones 3 by means of 9, though they like summer season 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 usually ought to I water my False Sunflowers?

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

When is the perfect time of 12 months 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 might dry up and die again instantly. They need to return subsequent spring.

How can I shield my False Sunflowers from pests and illnesses?

Don’t apply an excessive amount of mulch or fertilize too usually. Extreme fertilization causes the vegetation to get weak and appeal to extra pests. Mulch might help in very dry situations, however keep away from it when you get rain repeatedly since it may well encourage root rot.

How can I prolong my False Sunflowers’ lifespan after being lower?

Change the water every day and preserve the lower 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 faculties in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a world editorial crew, Andrew’s a passionate content material creator round all issues flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.



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