Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Beach Sunflower
Helianthus debilis

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: debilis (deb-IL-iss) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

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)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Provides winter interest

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 herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Helianthus debilis by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Helianthus debilis by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #3 of Helianthus debilis by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #4 of Helianthus debilis by Floridian

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #5 of Helianthus debilis by Equilibrium

By Equilibrium
Thumbnail #6 of Helianthus debilis by Equilibrium

By artcons
Thumbnail #7 of Helianthus debilis by artcons

There are a total of 16 photos.
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7 positives
5 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral lhpmom98 On Jun 25, 2012, lhpmom98 from New Smyrna Beach, FL wrote:

Where can this plant be purchased??

Neutral PatGalbraith On May 16, 2012, PatGalbraith from Satellite Beach, FL wrote:

I live just north of Satellite Beach, Florida. his critter grows right above the surf - with no tending. I have it in my yard, about 3/4 of a mile from the surf. It's nice BUT if you give it easy conditions it can take over the world - quickly. Blooms all year. Easy to grow. But be ready to do control!

Positive KatMcCon On May 14, 2012, KatMcCon from Immokalee, FL wrote:

Finally, now I know what's growing in my yard. This plant covers a multitude of brush and branches at the edge of our yard; very nicely. I never knew the name of this plant. It showed up all on its own and comes back after a freeze has killed it off. It blankets the brush and carpets the grass. Thank you for putting this up on your site. I live in SW Florida.

Neutral nancy0706 On May 14, 2012, nancy0706 from Willis, VA wrote:

I would LOVE to have this plant, but I live in Southwest Virginia and doubt that it would survive the winters here(?) The temperature sometimes dips below 15 degress F. Does anyone know what plant I could get that is very similar to this one? I want a hardy and pretty groundcover that spreads relatively fast.

Neutral TRUNK On May 10, 2012, TRUNK from North Andrews Gardens, FL wrote:

Grows very easily in South East Florida as a ground cover, left to its own natural wonderful-ness. It can replace thirsty water bills and reward you with affordable living any day. It is a native plant which does nothing but look super-wonderful all the time. it lloks great when its cold and when its hot. It does well in flooding rains as well. It propagates from seeds or from cuttings...

My only negative is that I planted it along my west facing sidewalk and some neighbors from who knows where , were liking it so much they would bend down and drag clumps home with them to plant in their yard.

I have found living in with these neighbors notso rewarding...and bad ambassadors to their culture.

Not great neighbors in north andrews oakland park but wonderful plant.

I now use it in the side and rear yeards...away from fisky hands...

Neutral smarwar On Aug 25, 2010, smarwar from Hollister, FL wrote:

I would like, so much, to have this plant. I planted it last year (obtained from Ace Hardware), it did not come back after, I guess, a horridly cold winter (in Florida, NE, go figure!) I don't know what I have to trade if anything worth while. My garden has not fared well this year -- the heat? Anyway, I sure would like a dune Sunflower or two and would be happy to trade four o'clock seeds (when they start producing, have loads of them!)

Positive Simeon7 On Jul 31, 2010, Simeon7 from Coppell, TX wrote:

This plant has come up in a new bed, been in constant bloom and is quite beautiful. No spreading, possibly resulting from clay soil. Saw a picture today and knew this was my plant. No beach, no Florida, no sand. Zone 7 but 101 today.

Positive ABY102833 On Jul 28, 2008, ABY102833 from Largo, FL wrote:


Positive yardchick On May 12, 2008, yardchick wrote:

I use this in designs frequently. Just be aware that it can be invasive.

Positive CHudnall On Sep 27, 2007, CHudnall from Sebring, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

We had this plant in our garden for a couple of years. If contained with no other plants, this is wonderful plant. If you have other plants, it will grow right over them unfortunately. But, it is fantastic ground cover.

We had some kind of webbing get all over it and it died. :-( Otherwise, I'd still be growing it. Little rays of sunshine every time I looked or went in my backyard. :-)

Positive artcons On Sep 18, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I purchased my Dune sunflower from a native plant dealer in N. Naples back in January. It's been in the yard ever since. I find it a vigorous grower in a "normal" (non beach) environment here in zone 10. My pictured plant has already been cut back around the perimeter three times since January. My plant is no higher than 12", but it has grown very wide. It's currently taking up about a 6' circle, after being cut back.
Bee's and larger butterflies like the plant for it's nectar.
This plant is a Florida native.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Sep 16, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Beach Sunflower or Dune Sunflower is native to the coastal dunes, coastal scrub and open, sandy areas on the coasts of much of coastal Florida, from coastal Georgia southward on both coasts throughout coastal Florida and the Keys, westward along the Gulf coast into Texas. It is an excellent salt-tolerant groundcover with very nice flowers that provides pollinating sources for some insects. It is very valuable because of its importance of holding coastal dunes in place and stabalizing them, protecting the dune and holding it in place from strong storms. It is great for a wildlife garden in coastal locations, mostly from both 9a and 9b zones southward and is possibly easy to grow. I give this plant a thumbs-up!

MORE FACTS - Often grows with other salt-tolerant, dune-stabalizing native vegetation such as sea oats and railroad-vines, also called beach morning glories. Often grows in and loves open, exposed, sunny locations. Drought-tolerant and adaptable in the landscape. It is a superb groundcover near sidewalks and pathways.


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

, (2 reports)
Mobile, Alabama
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Bokeelia, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Casselberry, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Debary, Florida
Delray Beach, Florida
Flagler Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (3 reports)
Hobe Sound, Florida
Hollister, Florida
Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)
Hudson, Florida
Immokalee, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Lady Lake, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Largo, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Miami, Florida
Milton, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Port Orange, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Satellite Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Sebring, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida (4 reports)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Charleston, South Carolina

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