The subshrub Helianthemum, better known as sun rose, is one of the species of plants that keep gardening enthusiasts enjoying their hobby. During their flowering period from May to September or October, they align their glowing calyxes with the sun as soon as the thermometer exceeds the 20 ° mark. In the dark, cold and wet, they simply close their flowers again and wait for the next warm rays of sunshine. There are more than 170 types of sun rose in the most wonderful colors from yellow to white to purple and red. They can be found in the gardens of the most varied of styles, because their refreshing look comes into its own in many locations. Although their name does not suggest it, sun roses are quite hardy, some species even color their foliage bright red in snow-free places. Investing a little of your time in the most important criteria for care, cutting and propagation should definitely be worthwhile.


It is not difficult to meet the requirements of the sun rose in terms of care:

  • A location in full sun is desirable.
  • The ideal planting time is spring from March.
  • Planting in autumn is also possible until October.
  • Fresh, nutrient-rich, slightly calcareous soil.
  • Permeable, sandy-gravelly soil without the risk of waterlogging.
  • Mulching promotes growth and strengthens winter hardiness.
  • Mix some fine gravel into the mulch material.
  • Water regularly but moderately.
  • Pluck out dead flowers.
  • Apply a little liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks.
  • The Helianthemum can withstand short periods of drought.
  • interschutz is not required.

With a height of 15 cm to 30 cm, the sun rose is not only attractive in flower beds, but also in rock gardens, on wall crowns, as a border or in planters.

To cut

An essential part of caring for sun rose flowers is cutting after the main flower. In this way, growth is controlled and promoted on top of that. If the withered flowers are cut off, this suppresses the formation of seeds and at the same time forces the formation of flowers on the side shoots. On this occasion, attacked and injured parts of the plant are removed, which protects the Helianthemum from diseases. Another advantage of pruning after flowering is that it improves air circulation throughout the subshrub. A process that makes it very difficult for mushrooms to attack the sun rose. For the cut itself, simply grasp a tuft with your fist and cut off anything that protrudes with a pair of secateurs. The clippings can easily be disposed of on the compost heap. It is of crucial importance not to wait too long before cutting, otherwise the sun rose will no longer be able to gather enough strength to survive the winter. That is why experienced hobby gardeners reach for scissors in September at the latest and carry out the pruning – albeit with a heavy heart – even when the plant is still showing beautiful flowers.


that the resulting larvae nibble on the tender roots. Alternatively, the cuttings can be placed in a glass of water where they will form their new roots. Garden enthusiasts are now free to plant the young plants directly in their new location in the garden, or to continue to cultivate them during the winter in the house, in the winter garden or in the greenhouse and only plant them in the following spring.

Propagation by seeds is also possible. However, in the rarest of cases an identical specimen will emerge, because sun rose flowers are mostly hybrids, the seeds of which contain all the genetic information of both the mother and father plants. The seeds are located in the capsule fruits and can be harvested in autumn. Then continue in the following steps:

  • Let it dry for several days.
  • Protect from the intense autumn sun.
  • Store in a dark, dry, cool container.
  • From March sow in trays at 5 ° to 10 ° Celsius.
  • Cover only very thinly with growing substrate.
  • Keep slightly moist permanently.
  • Prick out when the first cotyledons appear.
  • Continue to cultivate in small pots in a bright place at around 15 °.
  • Plant out in the open from late May / early June.
  • Enrich the soil with compost at the chosen location.
  • Plant and water well.

Experienced experts strongly advise against direct sowing in March. The danger that the seeds will be eaten by snails or birds is simply too great.

An uncomplicated method of propagation is done by subsidence. For this purpose, some shoots are pulled from a strong mother plant to the ground and fixed there with stones in a prepared channel in the ground. So that the roots develop more quickly at this point, the shoots are carefully scratched in several places with a razor blade. If stubborn lowerers don’t want to stay on the ground at all, they can also be attached with tent pegs. With this type of propagation it is of great importance that the shoot tip protrudes from the earth. The advantage of this approach is that the sinker is still supplied by the mother plant. Only when he has developed strong roots himself,

Like most of the perennials in the garden, the Helianthemum can also be propagated by dividing it in spring or autumn:

  • Dig up healthy, strong perennials widely.
  • Cut into several pieces with a sharp knife.
  • Each part must have buds and shoots.
  • Get rid of weeds and diseased roots.
  • Plant in the new location and water well.

The new perennials of the sun rose created by division are treated like an adult plant from the start.

Attractive species and varieties

175 species of sun rose are known to date, many of which have been further cultivated in many beautiful varieties by experienced breeders. Some of the popular variants are presented below:

Yellow sun rose

  • the most common species in Europe
  • often found in the wild in the wild
  • extremely robust and frost hardy
  • Growth height up to 20 cm
  • bright yellow flowers

Saffron yellow sun rose

  • varied species with fleshy leaves
  • Flowers shine in yellow, white or orange
  • Growth height up to 30 cm
  • popular type for ornamental gardens

Moon-spotted sun rose

  • rare species from Italy
  • yellow flowers with orange blotch
  • evergreen dwarf shrub up to 20 cm
  • needs light winter protection

Yellow pearl

  • Height 15 cm to 25 cm
  • Lemon yellow carpet of flowers
  • robust and cold-resistant
  • wonderful garden shrub

Amabile Plenum

  • Height 15 cm to 25 cm
  • red double flowers
  • frosthart
  • ideal for the rock garden

Apennine sunflowers

  • Growth height 20 cm to 30 cm
  • white flowers with yellow eye
  • frugal and hardy
  • nice for perennial borders and buckets


  • Growth height 20 cm to 30 cm
  • pink flowers
  • robust and hardy
  • forms a lush carpet of flowers

Ben Hope

  • Height 15 cm to 25 cm
  • pink flowers from May
  • tolerates short drought
  • perfect plant for the dry stone wall

Ben Mhor

  • Growth height 15 cm to 20 cm
  • orange-colored sea of ​​flowers
  • compact and bushy
  • nice for the flower box
  • Eye-catcher on the top of the wall

Cherry Queen

  • Height 15 cm to 25 cm
  • cherry-red, double flowers from May
  • frugal and frost hardy
  • impressive in the rock garden and in the bucket
  • unmistakable highlight in the dry stone wall

Golden Queen

  • Height 15 cm to 25 cm
  • golden yellow double flowers in early summer
  • adorns every garden
  • lights up in the flower box and in the tub

Henfield Brilliant

  • Growth height up to 30 cm
  • orange-red flowers in spring
  • brings a good mood into the garden
  • excellent for the rock garden

Lawrensons Pink

  • Growth height up to a maximum of 25 cm
  • The color of the flowers is chimney pink
  • impresses in the rock garden, in the bucket, on the dry stone wall
  • beautiful perennial for the border of the bed

Bronze carpet

  • grows to a height of 25 cm
  • copper colored flowers
  • beautiful ground cover
  • wonderful combinations with other perennials possible
  • decorative in the rock garden and on the top of the wall

The bride

  • unusual rarity
  • white flowers and silvery leaves
  • Growth height up to 20 cm
  • long flowering from May to September


  • grows up to 25 cm high
  • copper-orange double flowers
  • robust and hardy
  • rare variety that causes a sensation
  • beautiful in the rock garden, in the herbaceous border

Helianthemum ‚Raspberry Ripples‘

  • rare two-tone variety
  • Flowers white and pink
  • Growth height up to 20 cm
  • popular in rock gardens, dry stone walls

Mountain sunflower

  • one of the smallest varieties
  • Growth height up to 5 cm
  • ideal for dry embankments and rock gardens
  • beautiful border or grave border
  • absolutely hardy

Sun roses offer a huge range of colors within their species and varieties. As a rule, this plant genus is hardy and tolerates frost down to -20 ° Celsius. However, the intense winter sun can be a problem for some varieties. It is therefore advisable to seek advice before buying whether light winter protection in the form of fir branches, brushwood or straw is required.

Pests and diseases

Thanks to their dry and full sun location, sun roses are usually safe from many voracious pests, such as snails. However, the Helianthemum is not spared the plague of aphids. Therefore, the experienced gardener regularly takes a careful look at his perennials. If action is taken at the first signs of an infestation, the chances are good that the control will prove successful. The following control agents have proven effective:

  • Spray with soft soap solution
  • Spreading of lacewing larvae
  • Distribute ichneumon wasps
  • Use of nettle manure

If the biological control methods do not show any positive effects, the only option left is chemical insecticides or the complete elimination of all infected plants.

If you get to know them, you will immediately take them to your heart, the hard-working, robust sun roses with their lovely flowers. They are frugal and easy to care for, as long as the gardener allows them a sunny spot. Thanks to the wide range of colors of the numerous varieties, the most wonderful combinations are possible. Helianthemums not only adorn the rock garden, dry stone wall or natural garden, they also decorate every bed as a border and serve as a splash of color between trees and shrubs.

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