Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ashy Sunflower, Downy Sunflower
Helianthus mollis

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: mollis (MAW-liss) (Info)

Synonym:Helianthus mollis var. cordata

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By bigcityal
Thumbnail #1 of Helianthus mollis by bigcityal

Thumbnail #2 of Helianthus mollis by RVWE

By AnniesAnnuals
Thumbnail #3 of Helianthus mollis by AnniesAnnuals


2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive KittyWittyKat On Oct 14, 2011, KittyWittyKat from Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

Mine has been growing up a foot taller every year, now 8ft? Branching. I rarely water or maintain it. It has not spread much, just vertical height increase. It does have the gray down foliage and it is not 'Hairy Sunflower' Helianthus hirsutus. My seeds were said to be all non-viable.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 5, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Offered by SSE with the following description: "This robust sunflower spreads slowly by rhizomes. An abundance of butter-yellow flowers are borne on soft, hairy stems. A favorite with many kinds of birds, so hurry to save seeds. Plants often grow 6' tall and thrive even on poor, dry soils. Hardy to zone 4."

Positive bigcityal On Dec 7, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Plant is touted as a native prairie plant. Looks more fragile than it is. It does spread with some runners - so give it room.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Richmond, California
Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)
Clarksburg, New Jersey
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Patchogue, New York
Seaford, New York
Loveland, Ohio
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Menasha, Wisconsin

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