Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Maximillian Sunflower, Prairie Sunflower
Helianthus maximilianii 'Santa Fe'

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: maximilianii (maks-ih-mill-ee-ANE-ee-eye) (Info)
Cultivar: Santa Fe

One vendor has this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


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

36-48 in. (90-120 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


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid 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:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
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; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Iceman2458
Thumbnail #1 of Helianthus maximilianii by Iceman2458

By Iceman2458
Thumbnail #2 of Helianthus maximilianii by Iceman2458

By Carkeekfish
Thumbnail #3 of Helianthus maximilianii by Carkeekfish

By peachespickett
Thumbnail #4 of Helianthus maximilianii by peachespickett

By blomma
Thumbnail #5 of Helianthus maximilianii by blomma

By blomma
Thumbnail #6 of Helianthus maximilianii by blomma

By NMphil
Thumbnail #7 of Helianthus maximilianii by NMphil


5 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Darwinsthumb On Jul 12, 2012, Darwinsthumb from Erie, CO wrote:

Love this plant! I purchased one last year as an addition to my xeriscape garden and it has done amazing. The first year it just put out one tall stalk, but this spring it came back with about a dozen stalks and has grown three feet tall. This is especially impressive considering that we (Colorado) are in a drought and severe heat wave. I've given it some supplemental irrigation (every two weeks), but it seems to be one of the most xeric plants in my garden. I suspect it would do well on even less water but I'm hesitant to try before it is more established.

The only caveat so far is that the tall stalks bend in heavy winds, but I suppose this could be easily remedied by staking or planting in a protected area (I moved mine against wall this spring).

Looking forward to the blooms this fall. :)

Positive flowerqueen1960 On May 1, 2011, flowerqueen1960 from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

I bought this plant last year and only planted it in an 8" round container. I left it in the back of my house by near our gathering area which is mosly sunny and watered it about every 2 or 3 days whenever I took the hose out to water the rest of plant beds and garden areas.

It grew to about 5 feet high, on 3 branches, with many colorful and bright yellow blooms. But in september it broke from the wind and started dying down. I left it outside in the pot this winter and hopefully it will come back again this year. It is a nice plant. If I had protected it better from the wind it would have gotten taller I'm sure. If it comes back I am going to be planting it staked, in a show off area.

Positive blomma On Apr 21, 2010, blomma from (Zone 4a) wrote:

I started this plant from seed in February 2009. Planted in my garden first week in June. From there, it grew quickly and bloomed first week in September until frost.

I pinched it when 12" tall due to high wind. It produced 3 stems, each full of blooms. Had to tie it to my fence to avoid breaking branches in the wind. By fall, it grew to 8 ft in height.

It has begun growing this spring. It is a great plant if you have the room and can use the height. Nothing bothered it.Due to its height, it is best to plant it where it is given some protection from the wind, or can be tied to a fence.

Neutral wyomingsage On Apr 21, 2010, wyomingsage from Kinnear, WY (Zone 4a) wrote:

For the past two years I've had this cultivar, it hasn't made it to full bloom. Apparently, our growing season is too short (120 days--zone 4) as our first frost hits us just about the time the blooms start to open. I am planning to order the cultivar 'Dakota Sunshine' as this one is claimed to bloom within a shorter growing season. It is yet to be proven.

A VERY BIG plus for this plant is the fact that it withstood our nasty grasshopper plague we've had this past year...I would say with less than 1% grasshopper damage. Ninety to ninety five percent of my perennials were eaten down to the nub and many of our young trees were skeletonized and/or stripped of their bark. So, this says alot about the sunflower's exceptional vigor and resistance to the six-legged terrors. I would recommend this robust perennial especially if you have bald areas you would like to fill quickly and substantially...only get a cultivar that is best suited for your particular growing zone bloom-wise.

As a side note, two other plants that survived the grasshoppers mostly intact were false hollyhock (sidalcea) and twilight coneflower (however they devoured and killed my sundown coneflower). I don't use pesticide and organics didn't even phase them.

Positive renatelynne On Jun 7, 2007, renatelynne from Boerne new zone 30, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Excellent plant for butterfies and deer around here don't bother it at all.

If you let it self seed it will grow a bigger clump each year.

It makes a great hedge but can get a bit tall and/or leggy. To prevent this, cut plants down to knee height in June. This makes it bush out a bit more and lets the stalks grow bigger to hold the weight plus makes for a tall but not 9' plant that it will be if you don't cut it back.

Positive wulfadams On May 20, 2005, wulfadams from Hawthorne, NY wrote:

Bought this last year from High Country Gardens in Santa Fe and planted it on the south side of the house. Had three stems that grew to 8' and was a real beauty in late summer. I did stake them to an old garden fork to prevent wind damage. This year's crop will be about 40 stems in an area just a tad smaller than a hula hoop. Going to try 4' bamboo poles with heavy green electrical wire to keep them coralled.
Very showy if you have a spot for a big plant.


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

Huntington, Arkansas
Oildale, California
San Diego, California
Erie, Colorado
Albany, Georgia
Minden, Louisiana
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Magdalena, New Mexico
Mora, New Mexico
Atlantic Beach, New York
Hawthorne, New York
Campbell, Ohio
Roseburg, Oregon
West Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Boerne, Texas
Copperas Cove, Texas
Snyder, Texas
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Seattle, Washington
Morgantown, West Virginia
Casper, Wyoming
Kinnear, Wyoming

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America