Helianthus angustifolius‘Low Down’ is a fantastic cultivar of a truly underused native. Low Down Sunflower offers narrow, black-green foliage at a height that is more suited to the average garden. While the straight species reach a sprawling seven feet tall, ‘Low Down’ stays between 2-3 feet high. The plant is literally blanketed in flowers from late summer well into the fall. The blooms are great for cut flowers. And while it is native to moist soils, this plant does well is average garden soils.
Low Down Sunflower is perfect in combination with Pink Muhly Grass. Both share light, narrow foliage, but the Sunflower adds mass and volume in the spring and summer—when Muhly Grass is rather boring. And in late summer, each plant explodes in bloom. The Muhly Grass covers the dense Sunflowers in a pink mist. Each plant is a show-stopper, but the combination is truly captivating. Both plants do extremely well in the hot and humid southeast and midwest--areas that often challenge perennial gardens.
When I hear someone say that natives are not quite as showy as exotic plants, this combination often comes to mind. Our imaginations are the only limit to the potential of native plants.
|Helianthus a. 'Low Down' combined with Muhlenbergia capillaris at the U.S. Botanic Garden|