Western Sunflower (Helianthus occidentalis) is a compact native perennial with large yellow-orange flowers. It blooms for many weeks in late summer, attracting a wide variety of insect pollinators and seed-eating songbirds. It spreads by rhizomes to form large colonies, so it’s a great solution for poor soil sites. Give it room to spread alongside other meadow or prairie flowers.
This compact-growing, native perennial sunflower blooms for many
weeks flowers beginning in late summer, attracting a wide variety of
pollinators and later, seed-eating songbirds to its seed heads. Native to the
eastern half of the US, the flowering plants only reach 3 to 4 feet in height.
Spreading by rhizomes (horizontal growing roots), the plants will form large
colonies, so give it room to expand. Growing in a wide range of soil types and
climates, this wildflower makes a wonderful low-maintenance cottage garden or
meadow/prairie plant. It’s also useful on slopes to hold the soil. Western Sunflowers
makes a great companion for Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe), Purple Coneflower
(Echinacea), and many native ornamental grasses like ‘Blonde Ambition’ Blue
Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) and Prairie Switchgrass (Panicum).
Helianthus (Sunflower) are showy late summer/early fall blooming native wildflowers that are deer and rabbit resistant. There are both annual and perennials sunflower varieties.
Preferred growing conditions:
Both annual and perennial Sunflower varieties grow easily in all types of soil including clay.
Plant in full, hot sun.
Sunflowers do not need to be mulched, but when planted in a garden with other plants that are mulched, they amenable to most common types of mulch including crushed gravel in xeriscapes.
Perennials like Helianthus maximiliana and its hybrids are xeric (waterwise). After becoming well established by their second growing season they do best with deep but infrequent watering. Too much water makes them tall and floppy; it’s best to grow them on the dry side.
Annual types need regular irrigation when there has been no rain.
Perennial types just need a few handfuls of compost and Yum Yum Mix in the planting hole to get them off to a good start.
Annual types benefit from more extensive soil preparation and will grow more vigorously when the soil has rototilled or dug to a depth of 8 to 12 inches and enriched with ample compost and Yum Yum Mix.
Undaunted® Lemon Max hybrid perennial sunflower sets a lot of seed. If re-seeding is not desirable, it should be deadheaded shortly after blooming has finished to reduce the number of volunteer seedlings.
Maximilian sunflower varieties are very vigorous growers that spread via underground roots. They should not be planted in flower beds with good soil as they will crowd out their neighbors; they are best planted in poor soil sites along fences, empty walls and other peripheral areas where their large size is an advantage.
Sunflower seeds are a favorite food of many songbirds, so don't deadhead the plants after blooming.
Leave perennial plants standing over the winter and cut them back hard to a height of 1-2" in early to mid-spring.
Perennial varieties are easily divided in the spring to propagate additional plants or keep them in bounds if they grow too wide.
The seed of annual varieties should be planted when the soil begins to warm up in late spring. Sow seeds at the same time when planting corn in your area.
View more Planting Guides, or download our complete Planting Guide for tips on caring for your plants when you receive your order, as well as planting instructions for Perennials, Spring-Planted Bulbs, Fall-Planted Bulbs, Cacti & Succulents, Xeric Plants and more.
No longer available this season.
As soon as your order is placed you will receive a confirmation email. You will receive a second email the day your order ships telling you how it has been sent. Some perennials are shipped as potted plants, some as perennial roots packed in peat. The ‘Plant Information’ section describes how that item will ship. All perennials and spring-planted bulbs are packaged to withstand shipping and are fully-guaranteed. Please open upon receipt and follow the instructions included.
Perennials and spring-planted bulbs are shipped at the proper planting time for your hardiness zone. Perennial and spring-planted bulb orders will arrive separately from seeds. If your order requires more than one shipment and all items are shipping to the same address, there is no additional shipping charge. See our shipping information page for approximate ship dates and more detailed information. If you have any questions, please call Customer Service toll-free at (800) 925-9387 or contact us by email.
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