How to Grow Inula Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Inula, Elecampane, Horseheal

Inula is a large genus of hardy perennials.

They range in height from 30 cm to 2 m (1 to 7 feet), making them useful in garden borders.

Inula carry daisy like flowers in the summer.

Some common names for Inula are Elecampane and horseheal.

Inula hookeri
Inula hookeri by wlcutler.

Inula Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Inula, Elecampane, British Yellowhead, Irish Fleabane, Marchalan, Horseheal.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 10 to 96 inches (25 to 240 cm).
Native: Europe, Asia, Africa.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.

Flowers: Summer.
Flower Details: Gold, yellow. Daisy-like ray and disc florets. Rays are thin and spidery.
Foliage: Herbaceous. Some species such as Inula magnifica have long leaves that can reach up to 36 inches (90 cm in length). Narrow. Toothed.

Sow Outside: Cover seed. Start of spring - before the last frost or the beginning of autumn. Spacing: Small species 6 to 18 inches (15 to 45 cm); Larger species 18 to 48 inches (45 to 120 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: two weeks to two months. Temperature: 55 to 65°F (13 to 18°C). Six or seven weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements and care: Full sunlight or partial shade for some species. Good drainage. Ordinary soil. Apply manure top dressing at the beginning of spring. Regular watering during dry periods in summer to maintain soil moisture. Cut back flowering stems once blooming has completed in the autumn. Maintain vigour by dividing every three years. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas.
Miscellaneous: Some species, such as Inula Britannica are considered to be aggressive weeds in many areas. Elecampane is used to produce absinthe.

How to Grow Elecampane and other Inula Plants in the Garden

Seeds of Elecampane and other Inula species can be planted either at the beginning of autumn or before the last frost of spring.

Once sown, the seeds should be lightly covered with soil. Elecampane and other Inula like to grow in sunny areas of the garden that have good drainage, the soil type is not to important.

If you first plan to grow Elecampane seedlings indoors then they should be prepared about 7 or 8 weeks before the last frost of spring.

The seeds will take anything from two to six weeks to germinate at 12 to 18 degrees centigrade (54 to 64°F). Once ready the young Inula plants should be transplanted into the garden following the last frost of spring at a spacing of 20 cm (8 inches; small) to 60 cm (2 feet; large).

Caring for Inula Plants

To create more Inula plants they can be divided in the spring or autumn. It is easy to look after Inula, simply keep the soil moist and cut back the stems after flowering has finished in the autumn. It is necessary to dvide the plants every three years or so to maintain vigor.

Common Questions

How many members does the Inula genus have?

There are about 90 species in the Inula genus. It's a pretty diverse group, from large, eye-catching flowers to humble ground covers.

Do members of Inula make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Inula are often used in gardens for their vibrant yellow flowers. They're great for attracting butterflies and bees, too!

Which Inula species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most popular species are Inula helenium (Elecampane) and Inula magnifica, both for their striking flowers and robust growth.

Are members of the Inula plant genus fragrant?

Yes, many Inula species are fragrant. For example, Elecampane has a unique aromatic scent that's reminiscent of camphor and vanilla.

What is the perfect location to grow Inula?

Inula species thrive best in full sun to partial shade. They prefer moist, well-drained soil, making them ideal for borders and wet gardens.

Is Inula invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Inula is not listed as an invasive species in the USA. But as always, it's essential to monitor any non-native plants in your garden.

How do I remove Inula plants from my garden?

To remove Inula, dig up the entire plant, making sure to get all the roots. Then, dispose of the plant properly to prevent it from re-establishing.


The Inula genus belongs to the Asteraceae family. It comprises perennial herbs and shrubs native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. These plants, often known as elecampane or yellow star, are recognized for their daisy-like yellow flowers.

Inula enjoys full sun and well-drained soil. Regular watering is necessary, especially during dry periods. Propagation is typically done through seeds or division, this is generally done in the spring or fall.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Inula plants. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Rochea, Nemesia plant, and Hacquetia plants.