Helianthus salicifolius 'Table Mountain'

aachenelf z5 MplsJanuary 19, 2014

This one really caught my eye even though I swore off Helianthus because of past aphid problems. Is anyone growing it and is it as cool as it looks?

From what I've read, it was developed in New Zealand in 1993 from a cross between Helianthus 'Golden Pyramid' and 'Autumn Queen' and only grows to about 16 inches tall. Zone hardiness is a bit confusing depending on what website you look at - anywhere from zone 4, 5 or 6 and up.

Take a look at the video in the link below. It's short.

Hmmmmm.... Just noticed, it sure looks a lot taller than 16 inches in that video.


Here is a link that might be useful: Helianthus

This post was edited by aachenelf on Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 12:28

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Campanula UK Z8

16inches!!!! 16feet is more my understanding of these.
Years ago, I was persuaded to give the willow-leaved sunflower a go and was, in fact, bitterly disappointed in the vast swathe of foliage with a few minuscule flowers somewhere miles out of view at the top (I am a short woman). Have pretty much sworn off these prairie stalwarts since my soil is too dry and thin to really have an attempt at prairie plantings - shame because they would look good, I think, on my sunny, flat and open allotment. The whole prairie garden was a harsh lesson in putting the right plants in the right place - an epic fail en masse but I still manage to sneak in a few of these toughies in a less ambitious scheme.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 2:49PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

From the Missouri Botanical Garden website:

Helianthus salicifolius is native to prairie regions of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. It typically grows to 5-8' tall. 'Table Mountain' is a cultivar that is primarily distinguished from species plants by its compact, flat-topped habit. It typically grows to only 16" tall and as wide. It is the result of a controlled cross-pollination that took place in Auckland, New Zealand in 1993 between Helianthus 'Golden Pyramid' (female) and Helianthus 'Autumn Queen' (male). Foliage is covered in late summer to early fall with a profuse bloom of 1.5-2" diameter sunflowers with golden yellow rays and brown center disks. Narrow, linear, rich green leaves (each to 3-4â long and to 3/8" wide) form an attractive foliage clump. U.S. Plant Patent Applied For (PPAF).

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:24PM
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I can only speak to the species. I have to mostly agree with the English lady?, the flowers on the species are quite small and unless grown in harsh conditions, very large and floppy plant.
It's really hard to believe someone made a pretty little plant out of it...but I see blogs and Missourri Botanical Garden entries that seem to imply they did.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 7:41PM
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I love the species and have not been able to overwinter the hybrid. Helianthus salicifolius looks like a giant ornamental grass until it takes on its few daisies as late as November here. It blooms just before the snows come. It's certainly not suitable for the front of the border, but in a mixed grass bed, the back of the border or the shrubbery, it's really a fun plant. The daisies are not huge, and are not incredibly conspicuous, but then, most grasses don't have grand inflorescences anyway. It's spreading, though it does not self-seed here. It's also easy to control.
It is also a stand-up plant. Despite it's great height, it seems sturdy enough in all weather. We get a lot of requests for this plant for its foliage alone.
However, I've had no luck with any of the shorter hybrids.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:31AM
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Campanula UK Z8

Yeah, I mainly grew it for the foliage and the screening value.....but it was just a monster, almost as overweening as bamboo. It didn't fall over but was essentially.....boring.
Course, if I was planting on acreage, I might reconsider.....but, in truth, I have become less enamoured of many of these sunflower, rudbeckia and yellow daisy things. I find myself going back in time, through the taste and style lexicon.....and landing somewhere in the late 70's, with a burgeoning interest in shrubs and conifers.

It's all cyclical, hey?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:51AM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

nina - Thanks for telling me about your experience with some of these "shorter" hybrids. To be honest, I was even aware there any out there until I stumbled upon this plant.

There are a few images out there for 'Table Mountain' if anyone cares to Google the plant. Yes, it does appear to actually exist and no it is not 8 or more feet tall. In some of the photos it does appear to be maybe 16 or less inches tall, but in that video (if anyone watched it), it sure looks to be at least a 2 footer, but still not a monster by any means.

I wonder if salicifolius is less prone to the aphid problem? That's my biggest concern.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 8:56PM
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I grew my species out in my "prairie". I'm sorry to say that I didn't watch it close enough to tell if it developed aphids or not...but it certainly didn't cause it any issue if it did.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:59AM
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catkin(UDSA Zone 8)

Hello, Kevin. How did this plant do in your garden?

I believe it's similar to one I've been trying to ID for a for a few months. The tag was lost when I planted it earlier in the season. I may have 'First Light', though. It is loaded with buds but only two are showing bits of golden color. It has deep green shiny foliage (densely branched) and is between 3-4' tall.

The one I have may be from NZ.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2014 at 9:37PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls


This must be the thread you mentioned in the other one. Sorry I didn't get back to you.

The plant I received this spring was very small - one of those tubes from Forest Farm. It grew, but didn't flower this year. In fact, now that you mention it, I haven't taken a look at it in a while. I'll try to do that tomorrow and report back.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2014 at 7:18PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

Well, here it is.

I was surprised at how much it has grown since I last saw it. It's probably round 18 inches tall, but the nearby mums are kind of swallowing it up (must move them next year). I particularly like the leaves on this one. Next year I think this is going to be a very attractive plant.

It's even developing flower buds, but I have a feeling the first frost will come before they have time to do anything.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 3:56PM
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catkin(UDSA Zone 8)

Thank you Kevin! It looks pretty! Great texture with your mums!

The foliage looks very similar to the plant I have, except the size and leaf color is a bit different at this stage.

Mine is finally blooming. The blooms aren't that big--maybe 2 to 2-1/2 " across and are that yellowy-orange Rudbeckia color. Will take a pic for posterity but am unsure when I could post it.

Thanks again for helping narrow it down!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 3:41PM
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You know...photos that used to be there and aren't anymore...are kinda annoying.
Maybe GW should archive the thread and pull down the images after some idle time?
I came back to this thread because I wanted to report seeing a municipality that planted a native bed (oddlty), and one of the current centerpieces was a H. salicifolius, the straight species. It was a pretty large clump, so it did make a statement, but due to the excessive height, it tended to arc in different directions, and the small flowers were lost in the height.

The pics of 'Table Mountain' looked a lot better, as I recall them from my memory.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 8:08AM
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You know...photos that used to be there and aren't anymore...are kinda annoying.

Definitely does take away from the usefulness of the forum; just another example of GW being very much behind the times. I would imagine that Kevin had these photos stored at one of umpteen various picture storage sites and if he deletes the photo there it breaks the link here. GW should be able to provide picture hosting space (as do all other forums I frequent). That way the photos are available to be viewed within each thread "forever".

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 8:32AM
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That would definitely help the experience, Rouge.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 4:42PM
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davids10 z7a nv.

i like helianthus-see pic of dakota sunshine-but really, who needs another 18 in yellow flower with a dark eye, particularly at this time of year. i thought thats what rudbeckias were for.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2014 at 12:15PM
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