Inula racemosa 'Sonnenspeer'
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
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
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
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