Helianthus Annuus

Helianthus Annuus Sunflower (Su,D,AE,N)

2 – 8 ft H x 2 – 4 ft W. Annual. Bright yellow ray flowers surround a composite (many flowered) center. Blooming mid summer to fall. Great plant to bring in wildlife.

  • Blooms:  Mid Summer to early fall  (Su)
  • Moisture: Dry  (D)
  • Soil Type: All soil types when local ecotype is available (AE)
  • Range: Native (N)
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Nectar in summer for small bees and butterflies, as well as seeds in fall for birds.

Propagated by

Seed – introduced from birds. Purchased seed did not germinate.

In my garden

Started as a volunteer, its a favorite of yellow tanagers.   This native sunflower with large leaves and stiff, spiny stems grew to 40″ with multiple flowers.

The photo taken in early August 2020 shows a bird (center).  I definitely want more of these lovelies around for feeding.  This is also a catapillar host plant that can feed hatchlings!

Birds including tanagers loved this volunteer sunflower.

Propagation methods and availability

I collected some seed to reseed in the prairie, and in 2021 two seedlings sprouted but do not have as dark centers as the first volunteer. Seed purchased from American Meadows did not sprout.


The USDA describes the native plant as follows:

From the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). The
sunflower is an erect, coarse, tap-rooted annual with
rough-hairy stems (2-10 ft) tall. The leaves
are mostly alternate, egg-shaped to triangular, and
entire or toothed. The flower heads are 7.5-15 cm (3-
6 in) wide and at the ends of branches. Ray flowers
are yellow and disk flowers are reddish-brown.

USDA NRCS National Plant Data
Center Plant Guide https://plants.usda.gov/DocumentLibrary/plantguide/pdf/cs_hean3.pdf

Host plant for the butterfly silvery checkerspot.  and related The species is linked to  least 69 butterflies and moths

Did You Know?

May 1st  is Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day

An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.