Common Sneezeweed

Common Sneezeweed looks gorgeous when planted en masse and mixes wonderfully with decorative grasses or other perennial plants. It has daisy-like blooms that often attract bees and butterflies. Their blooms have characteristic wedge-shaped, brilliant yellow rays and conspicuous, dome-like, yellow centre discs. The three-lobed petals of all sneezeweeds differentiate them from and other yellow coneflowers. They yield rust-colored fruits in the autumn. It’s ideal for cut flowers and butterfly gardeners.

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Helenium autumnale

Botanical Family: Asteraceae

En français: Hélénie automnale



Water: Twice weekly once established


Hardiness Zones:

They are widely known as ‘Sneezeweed’ because its dried leaves were once used to make snuff, which was breathed to aid with sneezing and to rid the body of bad spirits.

A close up of a full Helenium autumnale flower, with 14 yellow petals
Helenium autumnale
Credit: Agnieszka Kwiecien, Nova, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The most common visitors to the flowers are long-tongued bees. Other visitors include sweat bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and beetles. Most of these insects suck nectar, although some bees also collect pollen, and some beetles feed on the pollen. 

Companion Plants

In addtion to decorative grasses, include common sneezeweed in your pollinator garden with great blue , , wild bergamot and more.

Where to Plant

Flowers bloom from late summer through autumn (sometimes until the first frost) and can bring pleasant colour in late summer and fall when many other flowers have faded. Helenium autumnale thrives in perennial borders, grasslands and meadows, and around ponds and streams.

Although not required, plants may be cut back in early June (at least six weeks before normal flowering) to reduce plant height and to encourage branching, thus leading to a more floriferous bloom, healthier foliage and less need for support. Deadheading will extend the flowering season. Once flowering has ceased and the plant has died back the stems should be cut down.


Though they are deer resistant, common sneezeweed leaves, flowers, and seeds are poisonous to humans if eaten in large quantities, causing gastric and intestinal irritation. (Maybe deer know that!)

Despite its common name, Common Sneezeweed presents no problems for most allergy sufferers. Its pollen is distributed by insects, not wind. The common name is based on the former use of its dried leaves in making snuff, inhaled to cause sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits.

Sources and References

US Forest Service

Related Posts

Recent Additions

  • Slender Blazing Star

    Slender Blazing Star

    Slender Blazing Star is an upright, clump-forming perennial with fluffy, purple flowers that bloom in late summer. It is best to plant it with slow-growing perennials or as a border plant, as it is a shorter, non-competitive plant. The long-blooming perennial Liatris, a slender blazing star or gayfeather, is native to eastern North America. It…

    Read more

  • Sansevieria (Snake) Plant Varieties

    Sansevieria (Snake) Plant Varieties

    Snake Plants are available in various shapes, colors, and sizes, so you are sure to find one that’s right for you. The following are a few Sansevieria varieties every Snake Plant lover should know about. You might want more information on the adaptability of sansevieria houseplant. Sansevieria trifasciata There are many cultivars of Sansevieria trifasciata,…

    Read more

  • False Solomon’s Seal

    False Solomon’s Seal

    False Solomon’s Seal boasts beautiful white blossoms, scarlet fruit, and fragrant petals. It is native throughout North America. It grows from 30 to 75 cm tall and has light green alternating leaves and a zigzagging stem with a flower head or cluster of fruit at its tip, depending on the season. You might be interested…

    Read more