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How to Grow Inula

Inula helenium
Inula helenium

Inula—commonly called elecampane– bears showy daisy-like flowers in shades of orange-yellow and yellow. The blooms are carried singly or in flat-topped clusters. Flower petals are very narrow and often dropping.

Add taller Inula varieties–to 6 feet (2m) tall–to summer flower borders. Shorter varieties–to 2 feet (1.8m) tall–can be used at border edges or in rock gardens.

Inula is a genus of about 100 species of mostly perennials and some herbs.

 Elecampane, Inula helenium
Elecampane, Inula helenium

Get to Know Inula

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 4 to 9
  • Hardiness: Dies back after the first frost
  • Height and width: 2 to 6 feet (.6-1.8m) tall and 2 to 4 feet (.6-1.2m) wide
  • Foliage: Usually large basal leaves and progressively smaller stem leaves
  • Flowers: Daisy-like flower heads are flat with numerous narrow yellow ray florets and tubular disk florets are borne singly or small clusters
  • Bloom time: Mid- to late summer
  • Uses: Taller species in borders; shorter species in rock gardens or bed edging
  • Common name: Encampanes
  • Botanical name: Inula
  • Family name: Asteraceae
  • Origin: Europe and temperate Africa and Asia

Where to Plant Inula

  • Grow Inula in full sun.
  • Plant Inulas in humus-rich, well-drained soil.

When to Plant Inula

  • Set container-grown Inula in the garden in spring.
  • Sow seed in containers in a cold frame in spring or autumn.
 Elecampane, Inula helenium
Elecampane, Inula helenium

Planting and Spacing Inula

  • Space Inula 24 to 36 inches (61-91cm) apart.
  • Sow seed ¼ inch deep in sterile potting soil or evenly prepared garden soil.

How to Water and Feed Inula

  • Keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Fertilize Inula in spring with an all-purpose organic fertilizer.

Inula Care

  • Taller species need support.

Inula Pests and Diseases

  • Powdery mildew may be a problem if growing conditions are too dry.

Inula Propagation

  • Sow seed in containers in a cold frame in spring or autumn.
  • Divide perennials in spring or autumn.

Inula Varieties to Grow

  • Inula ensifolia, leaved Inula: Species grows to 24 inches (61cm) tall; lance-shaped leaves; clusters of 2-inch-wide yellow flowers.
  • I. helenium, Elecampane: Grows 3 to 6 feet (1.8m) tall; clump-forming; bears 3-inch-wide yellow flowers.
  • I.hookeri: Grows to 30 inches (76cm) tall with lance-shaped leaves; pale yellow flowers to 3 inches wide borne singly or in small clusters.
  • I. magnifica: Species grows to 6 feet (1.8m); forms clumps; bears 6-inch-wide daisies.

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