Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Autumn sneezeweed
Wandering through a local arboretum I managed to avoid the potentially offending plant knowns as Wild Parsnip. However, I could not avoid sneezing. Have you been sneezing a lot lately? This has been a rather robust year for allergies. While at the arb, I also noticed Autumn Sneezeweed in abundance. This is a zone 3 hardy native that enjoys moist open areas along streams and ponds. It grows 3 to 5 feet tall and has delightful daisy-like yellow flowers that make me think of sunshine.
This plant was used medicinally to make a snuff that promoted sneezing. I’m really not sure WHY they wanted to promote sneezing but nonetheless they did. The fibrous root system makes it a good stabilizing plant for stream banks and shorelines. The flowers can be used for cuttings and in dried arrangements. It also attracts butterflies, song birds and upland game birds eat the seeds. Oh, and here’s another plus – deer don’t like it.
You can prune se plants to about 12 inches in late May or June to keep them shorter which means you won’t have to stake them in your landscape and you’ll get bushier plants. If you remove the spent flowers, also known as deadheading, you’ll get more! Bonus!
Autumn Sneezeweed looks great with phloxes, asters, tickseeds and gentians. There are other cultivars that have been selected for their compact growth habit,different colored flowers, and double flowers.