Bluestem Nurseryhardy field grown plants

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Ornamental grasses at Bluestem Nursery


Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer' - Elecampane

Inula 'Sonnenspeer'
Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer'
Image on right courtesy Naomi Brooks
Verdant Landscapes


Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer' - Elecampane

This perennial is not a mainstream plant in the nursery trade. This may be partly because of its great size. The long basal leaves can exceed 3' and many are 8-10" wide. The leaves themselves make for an interesting plant!

But then, from the middle of the leaves rises a stout 6-7' stalk (sometimes branching) lined with clusters of yellow flowers. These will dry and persist through the winter, and are good for dried flower arrangements in the house.

Elecampane is not at all new to horticulture. The monks cultivated it throughout the Middle Ages and brewed tea from the roots, to soothe their sore throats.

When in flower there is a beehive of activity around the plant, as insects love the flowers. Another special time is in late summer and fall, when the tall flower stalks become a natural birdfeeder.

Ideal conditions: vigorous in moist fertile soil, but will tolerate dry sites in full sun

Ideas and companions:

  • plant low growing groundcovers in front to allow the entire plant to be seen. The basal leaves are 1 m (40") long by 20-25 cm (8-10") wide. The flowers are 2 m (6'6") tall.
  • All Panicums will complement this plant as well as Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'

Flowers: 200-250 cm (6-7'); bright yellow daisy-like flowers that are clustered along the stalk; blooms July through September; dries to a shiny bronze colour in early winter

Coldest zone: 4 (possibly colder) (find your zone; further info on plant hardiness)

Season of interest: all four seasons

Notes: will self sow a carpet of little Inula around the plant; excellent for dried flower arrangements