Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sunflower
Helianthus annuus

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: annuus (AN-yoo-us) (Info)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

49 members have or want this plant for trade.

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4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

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

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There are a total of 97 photos.
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5 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral TeadoraX On Jul 13, 2010, TeadoraX from Pompano Beach, FL wrote:

Within 3 months the seeds I bought at Home Depot were 7 and 8ft tall with 12 in flowers. Something was eating through the leaves as they were coming up, but spraying with insecticide stopped it. The leaves half way down the plant are wilted or destroyed, the remainder to the top healthy and vibrant, if not for the BEETLES!! I do not want to spray more insecticide because these flowers are attracting everything in the neighborhood... though some of the flower heads have been eaten 1/2 through. Very pretty, but also unsightly. Don't think I will plant again. Deerfield Beach, Fl.

Positive DisHammerhand On Jun 24, 2009, DisHammerhand from Fontana, CA wrote:

I grow the common 'wild' kind. I let them volunteer because they are superb bird-feeders. They attract House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches. The sunny yellow flowers look cheery hanging over my fences

Positive Rite On Sep 22, 2006, Rite from Miami, FL wrote:

I grew sunflowers for the first time this year and I was really pleased with the outcome. The advice that I have is to find the spot or spots in your garden that get the most FULL sun during the day and plant the seeds directly in the ground. Water them well in the beginning and they will grow. The seeds that I did not plant in these locations, were stunted and short and a disappointment.

If you want to wow your neighbors, this is the plant to have, especially the giant varieties (mammoth, American giant, Russian mammoth, paul bunyan). If you don't go for height, there are dwarf varieties (sunspot, teddy bear) that offer blooms on less than 3 foot stalks.

Bees buzzed my blooms and then later the cardinals, blue jays and others went wild over the seeds.

Note: the beetles also loved the heads and I had a time picking them off when the beetles were in season.

You can probably grow these plants almost year-round in the warm climates.

Positive Noell_swfl On Jun 9, 2006, Noell_swfl from Fort Myers, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I LOVE Sunflowers! I seem to have a issue not growing them. They are all over my yard. Bad soil didn't seem to stop them.

I have over 30 types of sunflowers growing.

Many of them grow past to their full high. I have had them grow well over 12 ft, passing the base of my roof.

I have about 300 growing all over my yard thanks to my twins getting the seeds and putting them into the yard.

Getting seeds are easy and my kids love to pick the seeds out of the flower heads.

So far I have the normal yellow sunflowers, as well as black, green, blond, strawberry blond, red, and many more!

Positive Gindee77 On Jul 9, 2005, Gindee77 from Hampton, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is a plant with lots of interest in the garden. People always comment on the size and beauty of them. I love to grow them to save the seeds for the birds.

Neutral JodyC On Jan 17, 2005, JodyC from Palmyra, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

Long-tongued bees are the most important pollinators, including the honeybee, bumblebees, Miner bees, and Leaf-Cutting bees. Halictine bees are important visitors, while visitors of lesser importance include bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and the Goldenrod Soldier Beetle. All of these insects seek nectar primarily. Syrphid flies and other beetles occasionally feed on pollen, but they are usually non-pollinating. Also, many insects feed on foliage and other parts of the Annual Sunflower.Because the seeds are abundant, large-sized, and nutritious, they are an attractive food source to many animals, including upland gamebirds, songbirds, ground squirrels, tree squirrels, and mice. To some extent, the seeds are distributed by these animals. Mammalian herbivores, such as rabbits, ground hogs, and deer, may eat the foliage, particularly from young plants. Muskrats and beavers eat the stems and other parts, or they may use them in the construction of lodges and dams.

Positive frostweed On Oct 9, 2004, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

The common Sunflower can be as tall as 10 feet and bloom for a long time.
This is the most abundunt sunflower in the state of Texas. It follows fencerows and covers acres of old fields.
This plant was very useful to native peoples as a source of food and fiber for cordage. The seeds are eagerly sought by wild birds and many modern
food products are derived from this plant.

Neutral Terry On Mar 16, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Large plants traditionally grown for their round, lemon-colored flower heads with dark seed centers. The seed heads are usually 2-3" across, but some varieties reach 12" across. The seeds are edible when roasted; birds will feed on raw seeds year-round.

Newer varieties include pale yellow to creamy-white flowers, and some dwarf varieties. Large-flowered varieties need richer soil.


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

Gadsden, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona
Little Rock, Arkansas
Calistoga, California
Clovis, California
Fontana, California
Lompoc, California
Oak View, California
Richmond, California
San Diego, California
San Mateo, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Deltona, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Holiday, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake Butler, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Dacula, Georgia
Waycross, Georgia
Nampa, Idaho
Victor, Idaho
Champaign, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Divernon, Illinois
Hampton, Illinois
Oak Forest, Illinois
Quincy, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Noblesville, Indiana
Brookville, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Pride, Louisiana
South China, Maine
Pinconning, Michigan
Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Michael, Minnesota
Brandon, Mississippi
Mathiston, Mississippi
Olive Branch, Mississippi
Southaven, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Holts Summit, Missouri
Reno, Nevada
Port Norris, New Jersey
Los Alamos, New Mexico
College Point, New York
Saratoga Springs, New York
Denver, North Carolina
Haw River, North Carolina
Fort Jennings, Ohio
Mount Orab, Ohio
Baker City, Oregon
La Grande, Oregon
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Washington, Pennsylvania
West Warwick, Rhode Island
Newberry, South Carolina
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas (2 reports)
Brazoria, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
El Paso, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Kerrville, Texas
Manchaca, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring, Texas (2 reports)
Ogden, Utah
South Hero, Vermont
Jonesville, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Seattle, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Delavan, Wisconsin
Kaukauna, Wisconsin
Kinnear, Wyoming
Riverton, Wyoming

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