Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale 'Bandera'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
sneezeweed 'Bandera'


Helenium autumnale 'Bandera' is a striking perennial known for its bountiful displays of vibrant flowers. These blossoms are characterized by a daisy-like form with a central cone that is surrounded by petals, which can be described as ray florets. The color of the florets typically ranges from yellow to orange and red, often exhibiting a gradient or banded pattern, indicative of the 'Bandera' variety which suggests a flag-like appearance in the hues. Some describe this pattern as resembling the colors of a sunset. The central cone of the flower is prominent and protrudes outward, often in shades that contrast with the petals, such as a deeper reddish-brown or yellow, adding to the plant's visual interest. The foliage of this variety is usually a deep green color, forming a bushy clump with lance-shaped leaves that may have toothed edges. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stems, providing a lush background for the colorful blooms. 'Bandera' flowers from late summer into fall, offering a late-season burst of color in the garden when many other plants are starting to fade. This Helenium variety is attractive to pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, its bright flowers serving as beacons in the garden. Additionally, the eye-catching flowers make excellent cut flowers for arrangements due to their bold colors and long vase life. The overall impression of Helenium autumnale 'Bandera' is one of a warm, vibrant plant that adds a splash of autumnal color and interest to the landscape.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Sneezeweed, Helen's Flower, Autumn Sneezeweed, Common Sneezeweed.

    • Common names

      Helenium autumnale 'Bandera'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The common name for Helenium autumnale 'Bandera' is sneezeweed. This plant is known to have toxic properties when ingested by humans. Consuming any part of the sneezeweed plant can lead to digestive upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, handling the plant might also cause skin irritation in some individuals. The plant contains sesquiterpene lactones, which can be irritants. If ingestion occurs, symptoms could be more severe depending on the amount consumed, and medical attention should be sought.

    • To pets

      The common name for Helenium autumnale 'Bandera' is sneezeweed. Sneezeweed is also toxic to pets if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning in pets can include salivation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Like humans, pets may also experience skin irritation from contact with the plant. The toxic compounds, primarily sesquiterpene lactones, can irritate the gastrointestinal tract of animals. If a pet ingests sneezeweed, it is important to seek veterinary care promptly to manage the symptoms and prevent more serious health consequences.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-5 feet (0.91-1.52 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.61-0.91 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      North America


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts Pollinators: Helenium autumnale 'Bandera', commonly known as Sneezeweed, is a favorite among bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.
    • Late-Season Bloomer: Sneezeweed adds vibrant colors to the garden when many other flowers have finished blooming, providing visual interest in late summer to fall.
    • Drought Resistance: Once established, Sneezeweed is quite drought-tolerant, making it suitable for gardens in drier climates or for water-conservation landscapes.
    • Deer Resistant: It is not a preferred plant for deer to eat, which can be beneficial in areas where deer browsing is a problem for gardeners.
    • Easy to Grow: Sneezeweed is relatively easy to cultivate, requiring minimal maintenance once established, and is adaptable to a variety of soil conditions.
    • Cut Flower Garden: The blooms of Sneezeweed make excellent cut flowers for arrangements and can hold their color and form for an extended period when cut.
    • Naturalizing: Sneezeweed tends to naturalize well, meaning it can spread and establish itself in the landscape without much human intervention.
    • Seasonal Interest: With its colorful daisy-like flowers, it provides a splash of warm autumnal hues, enhancing the aesthetics of any seasonal garden design.
    • Wildlife Habitat: By attracting insects, Sneezeweed plays a role in supporting local ecosystems and food webs within a garden or naturalized 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

    • Helenium autumnale 'Bandera', commonly known as sneezeweed, can be used as a natural dye, giving wool and textile fibers a range of yellow and orange hues.
    • Crafting with sneezeweed involves drying and pressing the flowers for inclusion in decorative botanical artwork or homemade paper products.
    • A natural insect repellent can sometimes be created from the compounds in sneezeweed when extracted and applied to the skin or garden areas.
    • In photography or art, sneezeweed provides vibrant subject matter for botanical still life due to its rich autumnal colors and full flower heads.
    • As a learning tool, sneezeweed can be used in educational settings for plant identification classes or botany studies focusing on aster family characteristics.
    • Bioindicator species utilization involves observing sneezeweed, as changes in its health or bloom patterns can signify shifts in the local ecosystem or climate conditions.
    • Eco-friendly confetti can be made from dried sneezeweed petals, offering a biodegradable option for celebrations.
    • Potential in floristry for training in preservation techniques, as sneezeweed flowers can be used to practice drying and pressing methods for bouquet inclusions.
    • Sneezeweed's sturdy stems and long-lasting blooms make it ideal for practicing ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.
    • In companion planting, sneezeweed may be used to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies to gardens, supporting the health of surrounding plants.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    Sneezeweed is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    Sneezeweed is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Grief: Helenium autumnale, commonly known as sneezeweed, is sometimes associated with grief, likely due to the historical use of its dried leaves in snuff, which could cause sneezing and tears.
    • Healing: The plant's genus name, Helenium, stems from the legend of Helen of Troy, and it is often connected with healing due to its medicinal uses in the past.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Late spring-summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Sneezeweed, or Helenium autumnale 'Bandera', prefers consistent moisture especially during its blooming period. Water the plant deeply once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions, to maintain moist soil. Use roughly 1 gallon of water per plant for each watering session, ensuring you're soaking the soil without waterlogging it. During hot, dry spells, you may need to water more frequently to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Cut back on watering in the fall as the plant prepares for dormancy.

  • sunLight

    Sneezeweed thrives in full sun conditions, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. The best spot for this plant is an area that receives unfiltered sunlight throughout the day, ensuring vibrant blooms and healthy growth. Avoid planting in heavily shaded areas, as too little light can lead to poor flowering and a leggy growth habit.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Sneezeweed does well in a range of temperatures, but grows best when daytime temperatures are between 60°F and 75°F. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F and as high as 90°F. However, it's important to protect the plant from extreme cold and frost, which can damage the foliage and roots.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning sneezeweed should be done to remove spent flowers and encourage additional blooming. Deadhead regularly during the flowering season to maintain a tidy appearance. In late autumn or early spring, cut back the entire plant to about 4 inches above the ground to promote healthy new growth. Pruning is also the time to divide and thin out clumps if they become too dense.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale 'Bandera') thrives best in a soil mix that is rich in organic matter and provides good drainage. A mixture that combines two parts garden soil, one part peat moss, and one part perlite or sand can be ideal, creating an environment that retains moisture while preventing waterlogged conditions. Aim for a soil pH between 5.5 and 7.5 to ensure optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Sneezeweed does not typically require frequent repotting and can thrive in the same pot for several years. However, if you notice signs of the plant becoming root-bound or if the soil's structure has significantly degraded, it may be repotted every 2-3 years during the early spring before the new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Sneezeweed grows well in average outdoor humidity levels and does not require any special humidity adjustments. The plant is quite adaptable and can tolerate the varying humidity levels found in most garden settings.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, moist soil, and good air circulation.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun, moist soil, good drainage, and space for air flow.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale 'Bandera') begins its life cycle as a seed which germinates in late spring or early summer when soil temperatures are warm enough. This perennial will then develop into a rosette of leaves close to the ground, where it spends the first stage of its life establishing a strong root system. As the plant matures, it begins to send up flower stalks in mid-summer to late summer, which are topped with the characteristic yellow to reddish-brown daisy-like flowers. After the blooming period, which can last until fall, the flowers will produce seeds and then the plant starts to senesce as the days grow shorter and temperatures drop. The aerial parts of the plant die back with the onset of winter, but the root system remains alive underground, preparing the plant for the next growing season. Come spring, the sneezeweed resumes growth from this root stock, continuing its perennial cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late spring-summer

    • The Helenium autumnale 'Bandera', commonly known as the Sneezeweed, is typically propagated through the division of clumps. This is the most popular method for this perennial plant due to its straightforwardness and effectiveness. Propagation by division is ideally done during the early spring or fall when the plant is not in active bloom. To propagate Sneezeweed by division, the gardener should carefully dig up an established clump of the plant and gently separate the roots into smaller segments, ensuring that each new piece has a portion of the root system and several shoots. These divisions can then be immediately replanted in well-prepared soil, spaced approximately 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 centimeters) apart to allow adequate room for growth. Water the newly planted divisions thoroughly to establish them in their new locations. Dividing Sneezeweed not only helps to increase your stock but also invigorates older plants that may have become too dense or have begun to decline in the center.