Nice flowers, shame about the roots

As well as pollinating insects, some flowers are especially popular with butterflies. Buddleias attract them in August, while sedum spectabile draws them in the following month. In July, their favourite appears to be inula hookeri.

Inulas belong to the asteracae family whose daisy flowers are always popular with insects. Inula hookeri has narrow, lemon yellow ray florets opening from fuzzy buds; ‘shaggy’ is a good word for them. The leaves are furry and mid-green.

Inula hookeri and butterfly - 2017

The plant grows about two and a half feet tall, prefers sun but will take part shade, in a cool, moist soil. So far, so good.

But you have to be aware of what is happening underground. I checked on the websites of various vendors to see how they described the potential snag with this plant. “Spreads quite quickly” is a genuine and honest description. “Making a colony” and “somewhat invasive” are less obvious ways of saying the same thing. My favourite for downright honesty comes from Hardy’s Plants: “known to become a thug.”

So there you have it, good for wildlife, not so good for the control freak gardener who wants plants that stay in their allotted space. The choice is yours.





One thought on “Nice flowers, shame about the roots

  1. Excellent advice! I loved this plant in its early days but once it looked set to take over the garden, and beyond, I dug it up and replaced the spot with lovely yellow Helenium, which I know is a spreader but less invasive and obstinate.


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