False Sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra 'Summer Nights'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care


The 'Summer Nights' variety of the smooth oxeye is a visually striking plant that commands attention in any garden setting. It is distinguished by its vibrant and showy daisy-like flowers that exhibit a rich, golden-yellow hue with a distinct central cone that often appears in a darker red-brown color. These blossoms are arranged abundantly on the plant, making it a spectacle when in full bloom. The foliage of 'Summer Nights' adds to its attractiveness, bearing deep green leaves that sometimes show hints of a purplish or reddish undertone, creating a stark contrast with the warmth of the yellow flowers. The leaves are lance-shaped with edges that may be toothed or smooth, and they typically grow in opposite pairs along the stems. This perennial generally has a bushy and robust appearance, with strong stems that keep the flowers upright and visible. Its blooming season extends from early summer to mid-fall, providing a long-lasting display of color and interest in the garden. The visual impact of 'Summer Nights' is undeniable, with its combination of radiant blossoms and lush foliage making it a popular choice for borders, wildflower gardens, and as a fresh cut flower for indoor arrangements. Its overall look is one of vibrant energy and sunny charisma, fitting for its name which conveys the warm, inviting atmosphere of summer evenings.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      False Sunflower, Smooth Oxeye, Summer Sun, Summer Nights Heliopsis

    • Common names

      Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant known as False Sunflower is not commonly recognized as a toxic plant to humans. However, like many plants, it could potentially cause a skin reaction or an allergic response in some individuals. There isn't typically any concern for serious toxicity if any part of the False Sunflower is ingested. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to avoid consuming plants that are not specifically grown for consumption due to the general risk of stomach upset or an unexpected allergic reaction.

    • To pets

      False Sunflower is generally considered non-toxic to pets. There are no widely recognized symptoms of poisoning from the plant, as it is not known to contain any substances that are harmful to animals like cats or dogs. If a pet were to ingest a large quantity of the plant, they might experience mild gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting or diarrhea, but serious consequences are not expected.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves

      Dark green

    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: 'Summer Nights' is known to attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects that are vital for pollination.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, 'Summer Nights' has a good tolerance for dry conditions, making it suitable for xeriscaping.
    • Long Blooming Period: This cultivar blooms from early summer to early fall, providing extended color in the garden.
    • Low Maintenance: It requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for gardeners seeking low-maintenance plants.
    • Deer Resistant: The plant is less palatable to deer compared to many other garden plants, reducing the risk of damage from browsing.
    • Suitable for Cut Flowers: The vibrant blooms and strong stems of 'Summer Nights' make it an excellent choice for fresh floral arrangements.
    • Erosion Control: The root system of 'Summer Nights' can help hold soil in place, making it useful for slope stabilization and erosion control.
    • Landscape Versatility: It can be used in a variety of landscape designs, including borders, wildflower gardens, and as a backdrop for other plants.
    • Visual Appeal: 'Summer Nights' offers attractive foliage and deep, golden-yellow flowers with reddish centers that can enhance the aesthetic of any garden space.
    • Wildlife Habitat: The plant provides food and habitat for various wildlife species, contributing to the biodiversity of the area.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Heliopsis helianthoides 'Summer Nights', commonly known as False Sunflower, can be used for dyeing fabric due to its pigmented petals, giving a natural, soft yellow hue to textiles.
    • The tough stems of False Sunflower, after being dried, can be utilized in basket weaving, adding a rustic and natural element to handcrafted baskets.
    • When planted, False Sunflowers can act as a natural soil stabilizer, preventing erosion in areas susceptible to water or wind erosion.
    • Their tall and sturdy nature makes them suitable for use as a privacy screen or living fence when planted in a dense row in residential gardens.
    • The dried flower heads can be used as a natural bird feeder in the winter months, as they retain seeds that are favored by birds.
    • False Sunflowers are often utilized in educational programs to teach children about plant biology and pollination due to their attractiveness to bees and butterflies.
    • The dense foliage of False Sunflower can provide a microclimate that supports beneficial insect populations, like predatory beetles, that can help in pest control.
    • As an ornamental element, False Sunflower can be used in crafting dried floral arrangements, maintaining their color and shape for extended periods.
    • The seeds of the False Sunflower can be harvested and used as a component in homemade granola or trail mix.
    • Due to their extensive root systems, they can be employed in permaculture designs as a perennial that helps to improve soil quality and structure over time.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Oxeye is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Oxeye is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra 'Summer Nights', commonly known as False Sunflower, is a hardy plant that can withstand tough conditions, symbolizing one's ability to endure and stand strong despite adversity.
    • Admiration: The bright blooms of the False Sunflower represent admiration and the power of positivity, often given to show respect for someone's strength and cheerfulness.
    • Longevity: As a perennial that returns year after year, False Sunflower is often associated with longevity and eternal happiness, reflecting the cycle of life and endurance over time.
    • Energy: Its sunflower-like appearance exudes a sense of energy and vibrancy, symbolizing liveliness and the ability to energize or invigorate those around you.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Not needed
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    False sunflowers need moderate watering and prefer consistent moisture, especially during their growing season. They should be watered deeply once a week to encourage root development, providing about one inch of water which is roughly equivalent to 0.6 gallons per square yard of soil area. During hot or dry spells, watering frequency may need to increase to twice a week. It is important to avoid overhead watering to prevent disease, instead use a drip system or water at the base of the plant. Be careful not to overwater, as they are somewhat drought tolerant and excessive water can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    False sunflowers thrive best in full sun, which means they need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. The ideal spot for them is an open area with clear exposure to the sun, without shade from trees or buildings. They can tolerate partial shade but will produce fewer flowers and become lankier in less light.

  • thermometerTemperature

    False sunflowers are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The ideal growing conditions are between 60°F and 75°F. They can survive minimum temperatures down to -30°F, which are conditions typical of a USDA hardiness zone 3. These plants can also cope with temperatures well into the 90°F range during summer months without significant stress.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning false sunflowers can promote bushier growth and encourage more blooms. Deadheading, or removing spent flowers, will prevent them from going to seed and stimulate a second flush of blooms. Pruning can be done throughout the blooming season as needed. The best time for significant pruning is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Ox Eye 'Summer Nights' thrives in well-draining, loamy soil enhanced with compost and a balanced pH of 6.0 to 7.0, mirroring natural garden conditions.

  • plantRepotting

    Ox Eye 'Summer Nights' is primarily grown outdoors and does not require repotting as it is not typically container-grown.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Ox Eye 'Summer Nights' is tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and does not have specific humidity requirements as it is well adapted to outdoor conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, moderate watering, and good air circulation for Ox Eye.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to partial shade, in well-draining soil for Ox Eye.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    'Summer Nights' false sunflower, or Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra 'Summer Nights', begins its life cycle with seed germination, which occurs in late spring after the last frost when soil temperatures warm sufficiently. Following germination, seedlings emerge and develop into young plants with a rosette of leaves at the soil surface. The vegetative stage is marked by rapid growth as the plant develops a sturdy stem and broader foliage, preparing for the flowering phase. Flowering typically takes place in the early to mid-summer, producing distinctive deep yellow to orange flowers with a contrasting mahogany center, attracting a variety of pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into achenes (a type of dry fruit), which mature by late summer or early fall and are then dispersed, completing the reproductive stage. Finally, as a perennial, the plant's aboveground structures die back with the onset of winter, while the root system enters a period of dormancy before resuming growth the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra 'Summer Nights', commonly known as the False Sunflower, is most effectively propagated by division. The best time to perform this method is in the early spring or fall when the plant is not actively blooming. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the plant, ensuring a generous amount of roots are attached. Then gently separate the clump into smaller sections with at least two or three shoots each. Replant these divisions immediately, maintaining a distance of about 18 inches (approximately 45 centimeters) between the new plants. Water them thoroughly to help establish the newly divided plants in their locations. This method allows the gardener to have fully mature and blooming specimens much sooner than starting from seed.