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Sunflower Helianthus

Phonetic Spelling
hee-lee-AN-thus
Description

There are 150 species of sunflower, most of which are native to North America.  They are annuals or perennials and have rough sandpapery leaves and showy daisy-like flowers that come in a variety of colors.  including H. annuus, the giant sunflower from which we get seed and oil, and H. tuberosus, the roots of which form Jerusalem Artichokes. All species are tall and many can become weedy as they self-seed easily but their cherry summer and fall flowers make up for any inconvenience.

Although generally preferring moist soil, some species will tolerate poor drainage.

Helianthus cultivar production trial results

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  Tall plants with large blooms could require support.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Helianthus angustifolius, Helianthus annuus, Helianthus atrorubens, Helianthus decapetalus, Helianthus divaricatus, Helianthus maximiliani, Helianthus microcephalus, Helianthus occidentalis ssp. occidentalis, Helianthus resinosus, Helianthus schweintizii
Tags:
#bees#showy flowers#yellow#perennial#easy to grow#yellow flowers#weedy#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#specialized bees#moist soil#summer flowers#large flowers#self-seeding#cutting garden#pollinator plant#wildflower garden#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Helianthus angustifolius, Helianthus annuus, Helianthus atrorubens, Helianthus decapetalus, Helianthus divaricatus, Helianthus maximiliani, Helianthus microcephalus, Helianthus occidentalis ssp. occidentalis, Helianthus resinosus, Helianthus schweintizii
Tags:
#bees#showy flowers#yellow#perennial#easy to grow#yellow flowers#weedy#nectar plant#low maintenance#fall interest#specialized bees#moist soil#summer flowers#large flowers#self-seeding#cutting garden#pollinator plant#wildflower garden#bird friendly#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Helianthus
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Flowers can be used to produce a yellow dye.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North, South, Central Americas
    Distribution:
    Americas Europe
    Wildlife Value:
    It is a great late season nectar plant for butterflies. Birds are attracted to seeds so leave standing dead flowers into the winter as natural bird feeders. Members of the genus Helianthus support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) accepta, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) aliciae, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) helianthi, Melissodes (Eumelissodes) agilis, Dieunomia (Dieunomia) heteropoda, Megachile (Sayapis) pugnata, and Paranthidium (Paranthidium) jugatorium. This plant is occasionally damaged by deer.
    Edibility:
    The seeds are eaten and are a source of one of the most important vegetable oils. The leaves and stalks are food for livestock.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Radial
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    bright colorful ray florets that come in a variety of colors on the outside and yellow or brown/red disc florets inside
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    The lower leaves are opposite, ovate, or cordate. Upper leaves are alternate and narrower. Petiolate leaves are dentate and may be sticky.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Edible Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Dry Soil