Heliopsis helianthoides 'Prairie Sunset'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 5 Professionals
Common Name: false sunflower
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: Yellow rays with maroon basal petal ring
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Erosion, Clay Soil, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Tolerates drought, but does best if regularly watered. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including poor, infertile ones. Tolerates some light shade, but plants are less vigorous and stems need support in heavier shade. Remove spent flowers to extend bloom season. Plant stems may be cut back by 1/3 to 1/2 in late May to reduce overall plant height.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Heliopsis helianthoides, commonly called ox eye, is an upright, clump-forming, nearly glabrous, sunflower-like, short-lived perennial that is native to eastern and central North America. It typically grows to 3-4' tall and features daisy-like flowers (2-3” diameter) with yellow-orange rays surrounding brownish-yellow center cones. Flowers bloom throughout summer atop stiff stems clad with ovate, toothed leaves (to 6" long).

Plants in the genus Heliopsis are both similar in appearance to and closely related to those in the genus Helianthus, the true sunflower. Heliopsis is sometimes commonly called false sunflower.

Genus name comes from the Greek words helios meaning the sun and opsis meaning resembling in allusion to the rayed yellow flower heads.

Specific epithet means resembling the genus Helianthus.

‘Prairie Sunset’ is an oxeye cultivar that is noted for its purple stems, purple-veined foliage and reddish-maroon basal petal ring. Typically grows 3-5’ tall. Features daisy-like flowers with yellow rays and darker yellow-brown center disks. Maroon tinting at the base of the ray flowers forms a distinctive ring around the center disk. Flowers bloom from early summer to early fall atop stiff stems that seldom need staking. Serrate, ovate, dark green leaves (to 5” long) have purple veining. Good fresh cut flower. U.S. Plant Patent PP13,779 issued May 6, 2003.


No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to aphids. Taller plants may need staking or other support.

Garden Uses

Provides long summer bloom for the perennial border or cutting garden. Also effective in a native plant or wild garden or as part of a naturalized planting or prairie area.