HARDY PERENNIALS: INULA

With the common name of ‘Fleabane’, Inulas may have little herbal value nowadays, but there are a few that merit a place for the show of yellow, finely rayed flowers they produce. All are easy to grow in ordinary soil and all respond to division in autumn or spring. I. orientalis has large flowers 3-4 inches across delicately rayed for all its lack of height. It grows to 20 inches but lacks also a long flowering period, covering 3-4 weeks only in June-July. I. ensifolia compacta by comparison, flowers on and on, from late June to September, with 1 inch yellow flowers on bushy growth only 9 inches high. At more than twice the height, up to 2 feet, I. ‘Golden Beauty’ has a similar long period in flower and a bushy habit, but I. hookeri is rather floppy. This has soft green leaves and on this dense mass of greenery it makes 2-2 1/2 feet high, comes a long succession of rayed yellow daisies from June onwards.

Plants spread quite quickly and may need curbing after 2 years, but I. magnifica needs space for its big clock-like foliage which spreads out from a compact but hefty deep rooted rootstock. Stems grow massively to 5 or 6 feet branching above with yellow flowers 3-4 inches across from June to August.

INULA orientalis

INULA orientalis

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