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Willow Leaved Sunflower, Narrow Leaved Sunflower 'First Light'

Helianthus salicifolius

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: salicifolius (sal-iss-ih-FOH-lee-us) (Info)
Cultivar: First Light



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


15-18 in. (38-45 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)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter




This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Glastonbury, Connecticut

Douglas, Georgia

Olathe, Kansas

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Cato, New York

Dunn, North Carolina

Holly Springs, North Carolina

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 9, 2014, MorelCottrill from Dunn, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I was given one root of this plant by a friend, and within a few years it had spread through half the garden. It needs staking. Around here it blooms in mid-to-late autumn, providing a nice backdrop for chrysanthemums. This plant spreads vigorously underground, so if you don't want it overstepping a boundary you might want to plant it in a sunken bucket to keep it contained.


On Jan 5, 2011, mcrousse from Holly Springs, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have had this plant for 3 years now. Every year it gets bigger. The first year it was in a pot, and was only about 1.5 ft. tall. This year it was about 6 feet tall, and probably 3 feet wide. Allow lots of room for this one. I had to stake it as well after a heavy rainstorm. Folks always ask me what this plant is when it's in full bloom, as it is a beautiful sight. So far I have not seen any birds going after the seedheads but I am leaving them on just in case. It tolerates high heat and humidity quite well, and seems to be somewhat drought-tolerant.

June 2011:This plant will self-sow a little. I have found a handful of seedlings around the garden this spring.


On May 9, 2010, juba_stan from Olathe, KS wrote:

I got this plant from a monarch conservation event in Lawrence, and have recently planted it in a pot. It says it will grow in zones 6 or higher on the tag, so it is in a pot. Right now it has it's first flower and one singles stalk. Even so, it is very pretty. This will add some color during the summer months when most plants are done flowering.