Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Small Wood Sunflower, Small-headed Sunflower
Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Cultivar: Lemon Queen
Additional cultivar information: (aka Limelight)

Synonym:Helianthus x microcephalus

8 vendors have this plant for sale.

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are good for cutting

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:
By dividing the rootball
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By mgarr
Thumbnail #1 of Helianthus  by mgarr

By northgrass
Thumbnail #2 of Helianthus  by northgrass

By jg48650
Thumbnail #3 of Helianthus  by jg48650

By Debsroots
Thumbnail #4 of Helianthus  by Debsroots

By mslehv
Thumbnail #5 of Helianthus  by mslehv

By mslehv
Thumbnail #6 of Helianthus  by mslehv

By unliminc
Thumbnail #7 of Helianthus  by unliminc

There are a total of 9 photos.
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8 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive coriaceous On Jan 26, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I agree that this is the best of the perennial sunflowers, the best of the late summer yellow daisies, and one of the most useful of garden plants. The color is a soft clear lemon yellow, not gold, and consorts well with all colors.

Clumps spread vigorously, but are easy to divide in spring. I also observe the occasional self-sown seedling, but this plant isn't weedy. Seedlings have flowers the same color as the parent.

I find this needs more supplementary irrigation than most of my border perennials, and its flagging is an indicator that the bed needs watering. Drought stress also often leads to powdery mildew late in the season, which is a cosmetic problem but does not affect future vigor.

Plants can get a little over 6' tall and in rich soil sometimes need support to prevent lodging. If you leave them, they have a good snowproof winter presence, once they lose their leaves.

Positive yousirname On Sep 3, 2012, yousirname from Sellersville, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is my new favorite plant! It's big and eye-catching without being a bully, and it gets that way it's very first season! The habit and flower make it look old-timey and free-spirited, but the pale yellow flower color makes it very contemporary and easy to use in a design. Give it space and sun. Mine ended up not far from sambucus "Sutherland Gold" and the differing yellow tones look great together!

Positive NancyMcD On Aug 31, 2010, NancyMcD from Grand Marais, MI wrote:

This clump-former does spread rapidly, but not in any sneaky way. The clump just gets larger every year. Knowing that, you can divide it when you need to. I love it for its clear, soft yellow color and its time of bloom. It looks smashing with white phlox, another colonizer that needs regular division. Ours has never needed staking, but it's in sandy, sandy soil in full sun.

Positive mslehv On Aug 30, 2010, mslehv from Columbus, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I planted this last July from a nursery's gallon container. It grew to a managable 5'. I suspected it would be bigger this year so in May I staked out its territory.

However, I wasn't prepared for this 8' monster (see uploaded photo) that looks more like a huge shrub. Fortunately, it's at the very back of the garden. Despite its spread, the stalks have remained reasonably compact.

Positive ben773 On Feb 14, 2009, ben773 from Waukegan, IL wrote:

Great plant! Ordered two last year from Roots and Rhizomes. They were cutting propagated and arrived in a 4-inch pot. Planted it in a "dryish" spot and watered it irregularly for the first few weeks. By August, they have reached 5 ft high and 2 ft wide with a profusion of blooms. No staking. Will try propagating it by stem cutting next year. It bloomed from August to October. I highly recommend it.

Positive straea On Jun 1, 2008, straea from Somerville, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is my favorite perennial sunflower of all the ones I've tried, and I've tried a bunch - I love sunflowers! I grew it with tremendous success on the east side of a fairly tall wood fence (a couple feet taller than this plant) in fairly dry soil with only occasional supplemental water. Mine never needed staking, didn't spread very much beyond the 3 ft. x 3 ft. clump it formed its first year, and was reliably smothered in blooms for at least a month, often more. Bees and butterflies LOVED the blooms. For some reason it's been very difficult to find this cultivar (or even the species!) in local nurseries in recent years, which I think is a real shame. This is a great plant to plant at the transition between a meadow area and a loosely canopied tree, doing better with partial shade than most sunflowers.

Positive outdoorlover On Apr 23, 2008, outdoorlover from Enid, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This vigorous growing plant does very well on the south wall of our house, although it needs staking when it gets a good supply of water. I have heard that if it gets less water, it will not require staking. Each year produces many more baby plants which I have transplanted all over my yard. It is a beautiful, prolific flowering plant which flowers from early to late summer. It also does well in part sun and part shade.

Positive northgrass On Jan 27, 2007, northgrass from West Chazy, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant spreads very rapidly. I had to move it from one flowerbed where it was to overcome the more subdued plants there and planted it next to the barn where it holds its own with other vigourous plants like Nepeta "Infinity', Hydrangea "Annabelle", various daylilies and asiatic lilies. It is a nice plant if you have a suitable spot for it.


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

Richmond, California
Waukegan, Illinois
Dracut, Massachusetts
Provincetown, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Somerville, Massachusetts
Grand Marais, Michigan
Webberville, Michigan
Natchez, Mississippi
Southaven, Mississippi
Plattsburgh, New York
Mooresboro, North Carolina
Pembina, North Dakota
Columbus, Ohio
Willoughby, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Sellersville, Pennsylvania
Houston, Texas
Bellevue, Washington
Everett, Washington
Lakewood, Washington

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