Content Detail

Sneezeweed is a wonderful, large, daisylike, yellow flowering perennial that is a great selection for a rain garden, pollinator garden, cottage garden, wild garden, prairie, or meadow with lots of sun and moisture. If watered regularly, sneezeweed is a hardy plant that will reciprocate with beautiful blooms that last from midsummer into the early fall. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.

  • Family (English) Aster
  • Family (botanic) Asteraceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Moist, Wet soil
  • Tolerances clay soil, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Yellow
  • Shape or form Upright
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Wildlife Butterflies, Insect pollinators

Size and method of spreading:

Sneezeweed matures to 3 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. The plants spread by forming clumps that can be divided. The seeds can be saved, but they have low germination rates. 

Native geographic location and habitat: (include C-value if appropriate)

Sneezeweed is native to the United States with New Hampshire as the only exception. C-value: 5.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

The flowers attract bees, butterflies, wasps, flies, and beetles. The foliage offers a source of food for the caterpillars of the rigid sunflower borer moth (Papaipema rigida).

Leaf description:

The leaves of sneezeweed are long and narrow (oblong to lanceolate) and attach directly to the stem (sessile) or sometimes partially surround the stem (clasping). The edges of the leaves are slightly toothed (serrate margins) and the upper and lower surfaces are covered in short, velvety hairs. They can occur around the base of the plant (basal leaves), but those generally die back before flowering. Other leaves will grow along the stems in an alternate arrangement. 

Flower description:

The flowers of sneezeweed are daisylike, with petallike ray flowers and a center composed of disk flowers that are surrounded by leaflike bracts (phyllaries). The ray flowers are wedge-shaped with three rounded lobes on the tips. There can be between eight to 21 yellow ray flowers per flowerhead. The disk flowers may collectively be flattened on the top center or may be more spherical in shape. They are individually tubular in shape and yellow to yellowish brown in color.

Fruit description:

The fruit of sneezeweed is similar to dandelion fruit, without the hairy tuft (achenes). They are small, dry, and primarily distributed with the aid of water. 

Plant care:

Sneezeweed does not tolerate dry conditions well. Division may be beneficial to sneezeweed growth when performed every three to four years. Fertilizing sneezeweed can lead to longer, weakened stems. Cutting the plants back at least six weeks before flowering, usually sometime in June, is recommended to produce shorter, denser plants with less need for support. Deadheading is recommended for encouraging additional blooming, and sneezeweed plants can be cut back to half the size after flowering. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Sneezeweed is resistant to deer, rabbits, and most other pests as well as major disease. Aphids can be minor pests of sneezeweed. Some minor issues that could affect the foliage of sneezeweed include powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spot.


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