Salsa is a fabulous recent variety of the oddly named sneezeweed, as helenium is commonly known, which cannot fail to brighten the garden from summer into autumn with brilliant carmine red flowers with gold and chocolate centres held on sturdy stems. Relatively compact so won’t flop as the taller ones can do. Sunny spot. Any reasonable soil. 18 in. 2 litre pot.


Salsa is one of the Mariachi series of helenium hybrids, and it’s that prolific breeder of new plants Arie Blom of AB Cultivars who is the man responsible. Mariachi is a musical term, referring to a style of music, or dance, popular in Mexico and often performed by a strolling band of musicians featuring trumpets, guitars and violins. Salsa is a cunningly chosen name for this cultivar in the series, as it has connotations related both to dance and of course the spicy tomato-based sauce. And red the flowers certainly are.

And why has helenium been lumbered with the name sneezeweed, you ask. Well, it would seem to refer to the former use of the dried leaves to make a form of snuff which was inhaled, causing sneezing that would supposedly rid the body of evil spirits. And now you know.

Care is restricted to dead heading when required and cutting back to the base in late winter or early spring. NIce.

This (family-oriented, as you will discover) video, although it features a different variety of helenium, Sahin’s Early Flowerer, gives you a good idea of how attractive these plants can look, particularly en masse.

Helenium Salsa is a hardy compact perennial plant with red flowers with gold and chocolate centres in summer and autumn suitable for full sun.

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