(Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Mexican’)
Mexican Sunflower is an annual flower that is native to Mexico but can be commonly found growing throughout Louisiana and Florida. At maturity, this plant reaches a height of 4-6' and features 3-12” lobed dark green leaves and 3” orange-red flowers with orange-yellow disks. This plant attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, is resistant to deer, tolerates drought, and is used as a cut flower!
Variety: Mexican Sunflower
Also Known As: Red Sunflower
Native to: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua, Panamá.
Introduced into: Andaman Is., Assam, Bangladesh, Botswana, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Himalaya, Ethiopia, Fiji, Florida, Haiti, India, Jawa, Kenya, Korea, KwaZulu-Natal, Leeward Is., Louisiana, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, New South Wales, Nicobar Is., Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Pakistan, Peru, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuela, Vietnam, Windward Is., Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Ease of Growing: Easy
Grown as: Annual
Maturity: July to September
Hardiness: Half Hardy. Sunflowers will tolerate light frost.
Crops: Spring Transplant, Spring, Summer
Growing Season: Long
Growing Conditions: Warm, Hot. Sunflowers needs rich soil for good growth. They prefer full sun (though they will tolerate light shade). The taller varieties need shelter from the wind and should be placed where they won't cast unwanted shade on other plants.
Outdoor Growing Temp: 55°F - 95°F
Min Outdoor Soil Temp: 50°F. Don't plant out until the soil is at least 50˚ F (and preferably 60˚ F).
Start Indoors: Yes
Start Outdoors: Yes
Light: Sun: min. 6 hours daily (Warm, Hot). Full sun.
Water: Moderate. Sunflowers are thirsty plants and for maximum production they need a constant supply of water.
Feeder: Heavy. Low nitrogen. High phosphorus. High potassium. Sunflowers like phosphorus and potassium, but not too much nitrogen as it may encourage leaf growth rather than flowering.
Suitability: High heat, Needs lots of space
Small Gardens?: No
Attracts beneficial insects?: Yes
Sow Depth: 1 1/2"
Produces: 3-12” lobed dark green leaves, and 3” orange-red flowers that have orange-yellow disks.
USDA Grow Zone: 2-11
Storage Req: Drying
Storage Temp: 55-70°F
Storage Length: 180-360 days
Seed Viability in Years: 3-5 years
This nectar plant also attracts bumblebees, eastern tiger swallowtails, eight-spotted forester moths, fritillaries, giant swallowtails, honeybees, hummingbirds, painted lady butterflies, pipevine swallowtails, skippers, spicebush swallowtails, sulphurs, queens, and more.