Tithonia Species, Mexican Sunflower, Bolivian Sunflower, Marigold Tree

Tithonia diversifolia

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tithonia (ti-THO-nee-a) (Info)
Species: diversifolia (dy-ver-sih-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Helianthus quinquelobus
Synonym:Mirasolia diversifolia
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter

Mid Winter

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Tucson, Arizona

Baywood-Los Osos, California

Fallbrook, California(5 reports)

Richmond, California

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida(3 reports)

Citra, Florida

Crystal River, Florida

Deland, Florida

Dunedin, Florida

Dunnellon, Florida

Eustis, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida(2 reports)

Gainesville, Florida

Hawthorne, Florida

Hollywood, Florida(2 reports)

Homestead, Florida(2 reports)

Hudson, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Kissimmee, Florida

Lake Wales, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lithia, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Mc Intosh, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Mulberry, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Niceville, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida

North Palm Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Ocala, Florida

Okeechobee, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Osprey, Florida

Palm Harbor, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Safety Harbor, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida(2 reports)

Sanford, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Seffner, Florida

Tampa, Florida(3 reports)

Titusville, Florida(2 reports)

Trenton, Florida

Valrico, Florida

Venus, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

Wauchula, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida(3 reports)

Yulee, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida(3 reports)

Zolfo Springs, Florida

Brunswick, Georgia

Cordele, Georgia

Lagrange, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Brownsburg, Indiana

Quincy, Massachusetts

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Penn Yan, New York

Hudson, Ohio

Charleston, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Richmond, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 3, 2019, plips from Dumbarton, VA wrote:

I seldom see a huge benefit these plants offer —- as a means to add biomass and fertility to your soil.

Here is an excerpt from

“Tithonia diversifolia, a shrub in the family Asteraceae, is widely distributed along farm boundaries in the humid and subhumid tropics of Africa. Green biomass of tithonia has been recognized as an effective source of nutrients for lowland rice (Oryza sativa) in Asia and more recently for maize (Zea mays) and vegetables in eastern and southern Africa. This paper reviews the potential of tithonia green biomass for soil fertility improvement based on recent research in western Kenya. Green leaf biomass of tithonia is high in nutrients, averaging about 3.5% N, 0.37% P and 4.1% K on a dry matter basis. Boundary hedges of sole tithonia ... read more


On Oct 12, 2017, Sailordan100 from Hudson, OH wrote:

I planted a wildflower garden from a mix I got at a local home store here in Northeast Ohio. I did also use a soil mix I bought that was a very nice manufactured mix as my base. Around July we notice a plant that looked like a Marigold but was huge starting to grow above everything else in the garden. I had never heard of such a thing. I figured I'd just wait to see what the flower looked like. Yup. Giant Marigold. Currently just over 9 feet tall and it just started flowering now in October. I hope to be able to glean the seeds and I want to do a large bed of these things next year. Love 'em and all our neighbors are stunned. I was surprised that the flowers aren't all that large. I see they are predominantly southern. Well, not anymore. I know our growing zone was shifted to the one sout... read more


On Sep 12, 2015, golfwidow317 from Brownsburg, IN wrote:

My Mexican sunflowers were a complete surprise. I live in Indiana and mk self nor my neighbors could identify it. I did not plant them. My seed packet was not these. Do I need to replant the seeds or will they do that on their own? They are so beautiful! Currently they are around 12 feet tall! Any suggestions?


On May 16, 2015, jerry076 from Dunnellon, FL wrote:

Although I love this flowering plant here in central florida, there is one aggravating problem which I can't seem to solve. Its a persistent leaf YELLOWING, then browning, and fall off. I've noticed that others in our area suffer from the exact problem in varying degrees. Mine starts were from asparagus size cuttings, which did root quite well. I understand that propagation from seed is nearly impossible. If I could solve the yellow leaf rot problem, I would give it a positive rather than a neutral rating. I'm wondering if the sandy soil in this area is responsible or if the plant is lacking in some nutrient, say, perhaps iron.,


On Jun 18, 2013, LostLizard from Tucson, AZ wrote:

We live in the higher desert areas near Tucson, Arizona at about 3200 feet. That means we often get freezing winter temperatures, although seldom into the low teens or for long periods, harsh, dry winds, and summer temperatures often greater than 105 deg F. Now in late June, year to date, we've had 1.3 inches of rainfall, and we are awaiting our summer rains for a few more inches.

After seeing the Mexican Sunflower year after year in a protected location at a Tucson nursery, we wanted to try it. somewhat hard to find in this area, we put in a scraggly, 1-foot well-rooted cutting last April. It was not in a protected area, and we give it supplemental water. It grew to about 8 feet the first year and was covered with flowers from late summer to late fall. This winter w... read more


On Nov 8, 2012, bsgardens from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

We love this plant / tree. Our last measurement of this tree was 28 foot tall. We measured the tree when a storm came through & blew it over & up rooted it. We found that it has shallow roots. The flowers have a wonder sniff to them. Bees, Butterlies (especially Skippers) & hummingbirds & hummingbird moths LOVE this plant.

I love seeing the flowers in the sky as I drive up my street.

They do die back to the ground in the winter. & can be invasive if not kept tidy. We tie ours up & make a giant topary of sorts.

*****Update 9-17-2013 - This Plant ended up growing to 32ft tall!!! The fragrance is wonder ... unfortunately the only time we can enjoy the fragrance is when it falls over since we topiary it.


On Nov 10, 2011, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I started my Mexican sunflower two seasons ago from a clipping a friend gave me. It now has some stalks that are a good twenty foot tall. It also has tripled in width this year. The past two winters it completely froze to the ground when temperatures went to 32. Mine doesn't flower until mid October and so far last until it freezes which has been in December. It is now mid November and covered with big bright yellow flowers that really stand out in the garden...even if they are up in the clouds practically.
I wish the plant wasn't so tall, I actually cut two stalks as an experiment in late July this year to see if I can bush it better and yet still get blooms. Those two stalks within one week were growing out three to four more stalks. Now in mid November those stalks are about ten... read more


On Dec 31, 2010, Arbolinda from Hermosillo,
Mexico wrote:

I am saying my comment is positive, but that is my appreciation for it's beauty. I have not planted it yet. I just returned from a three day trip to the hills in the east of Sonora, Mexico. I brought pieces of this plant back to the city of Hermosillo, where we spend the winter. My husband and I are charged with restoring an Hacienda for a church ministry here in Sonora. I am looking for trees for this place we call Hacienda los Arboles. The plants I brought back were in the vehicle for two days after I cut them, one batch in a moistened paper towel, and a long branch that I allowed to dry out somewhat. Will they still develop roots? I have put them both in water until I hear comments. Thank you, Arbolinda



On Aug 20, 2010, SheilaFla from Orlando area, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

The only negative I've found is the height, that the blooms are too high up to enjoy. I may have found a solution when one of mine broke in the spring and I put it in a big container and about six shoots came up that are now only 5 feet tall so if it still blooms, I will be able to enjoy them and even move them to the perfect viewing spot.


On Nov 18, 2009, missfancy34667 from Hudson, FL wrote:

Ive had mine planted for about 4-5 years now and its about 25-30 feet tall. it seems to grow about 3-5 feet every year. I dont think there is any limit to its growth. when the stalks dry they make very strong poles, my kids used to make a tee pee. I have been propagating from seed with the intent to plant this plant along my 200 feet of fence line to afford privacy. problem is nor that they are so tall, i cant manage to get cuttings anymore. too tall for a ladder, so I just sit outside and paint them ;)


On Nov 1, 2009, valb561 from Okeechobee, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I love these plants. I grew them in SE FL & brought cuttings when we moved to central FL. I now have 5 large stands & 4 newly started ones. The only things that seems to bother them are very dry conditions, frost & standing water from too much rain. But they've always come back after "dying off". The cut flowers make a great centerpiece & last about a week inside.


On Oct 18, 2009, Jensmunk from Titusville, FL wrote:

I got several cuttings from a friend in the neighborhood. She told me to just put the cuttings in the ground and watch them grow. Indeed, they did grow very fast. My plant has grown to about 15 feet in two years. It went into shock when we got a frost in early 2009, and I had to remove the top section of the plant, but it recovered nicely. It does spread quickly, but you can keep it contained, by removing the side stalks. It grows very well in Titusville, Florida.


On Oct 2, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I have four "stands" of this plant. All started from two purchased cuttings in 2007. Then I did my own cuttings in the spring of 2008 to get more plants. Roots easily from the cuttings. Leaves droop in the heat if not given enough water, then they bounce back. The original patch is about twenty feet high Oct 2009.


On Jul 25, 2009, fullsun007 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I have had this plant growing in my central north Florida yard for 2 years now. They are very nice plants, as some others have noted here, choosing your planting location is important. This plant prefers full sun and with adequate water will easily reach 12-15 feet in height in one season. Each year it gets slightly bigger around and can easily become a substantial clump. In my yard it blooms from October until first frost which knocks it back, this year we had 2 nights with back to back lows of 21oF and it has bounced right back. Butterflies love the flowers, also so do squirrels, they also like to eat the stalks, maybe best to plant this in the open, not close to a fence or wall. Also the flowers are produced at the tops of the stalks. I cut some last year they smell like honey, un... read more


On Jul 15, 2008, pforrester from Fallbrook, CA wrote:

In my neighborhood I admired this giant daisy bush for several years. I finally stopped by one day and the homeowner was home. I asked what the name of the daisy bush was. She said she was told it was a Mexican sunflower. I had never seen it at a nursery but before I could say another word she said she would give me something. I thought it would be literature but she promptly cut off two long stalks and said to just cut them up and stick them in the ground and they would grow. So, I removed the leaves cut them up into 12 inch lengths (be sure to keep track of the top by cutting at an angle or straight and then cut the bottom differently) I dipped them in water and then into Rootone and buried 6 inches in potting soil in pot. I put them where they got afternoon sun to warm the potting soil ... read more


On Dec 27, 2007, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant grows well and returns dependably at the Jacksonville (Florida) Zoo & Gardens, which is situated just about on the borderline of Zone 8b/9a, so it may grow in slightly colder zones than reported above. It can be seen at the zoo as backdrop for the flamingo exhibit behind the "Range of the Jaguar" and in other locations around the zoo.

Before planting T. diversifolia, be sure you consider its annual growth spread and height. Look at the photos in the Plant Files -- if it seems taller and wider than many houses, it is! Even one plant needs a lot of room.

The only problem I've seen with this plant is that the very tall, nearly hollow, individual stems can break at the root crown without much wind or external pressure. Fortunately, even though they ... read more


On Dec 7, 2006, kjc783 from Palm Harbor, FL wrote:

I just got this plant for my mother for her birthday. Even though it's our first growing experience with this plant our neighbors is a stunning beauty. He grows it as a dividing "wall" between his property and a local golf course. The flowers are beautiful, and they smell like chocolate to me! My mom has often threatened to go cut a piece for her garden, but I decided to get a whole plant for her. Though, our neighbor wouldn't have minded!


On Nov 12, 2006, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Super easy to grow and stunning when in bloom, this Mexican Sunflower has many names, including:
Bolivian Sunflower, Tree Marigold, Honduras Sunflower, and Japanese Sunflower.

My plants are well over 15' high this year (their second year) and although not all of them survived the winter here, most did. In my zone, these bloom mainly in the fall and early winter to first frost.

To grow in colder regions, I would suggest taking cuttings before first frost, rooting them in containers and overwintering indoors. Then set the plants out in the spring for a head start. They root easily but don't like to be too wet, better on the dry side or they will rot before taking root.

This is a great plant for screening undesirable views and they rea... read more


On Nov 6, 2006, bekados from Pensacola, FL wrote:

This plant roots easily from soft and hardwood cuttings. In our zone, it blooms in late October at a height of about 12 ft. It also overwintered in our zone last year.


On Dec 26, 2005, zville123 from Zanesville, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Has anyone tried growing this plant like an annual in cooler regions? Send me a D-mail if you have, with details on sowing dates and bloom times, etc. Thanks :~)


On Jul 2, 2005, edfinney from Sarasota, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This plant has a beautiful bloom and is attractive to butterflies and bees. It requires no care except removing the dead leaves from the lower part of the stalk. As the plant increases in height, the bottom leaves wither and die as with any sunflower. It blooms during November here when there aren't many other plants blooming. BUT it grows to heights of 12 or 15 feet and new stalks branch out from old stalks to make what appears to be a colony. It takes a lot of room for a small garden. So it has good qualities and bad qualities.


On Jun 5, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is a perennial sunflower plant in zone 10. It is easily grown from cuttings. They are very common in S. Florida Zone 10. My plant shown is about 8-9 feet tall. It has been in the ground since October. Before going into the ground I had it around for at least two years in containers. It is multi branched and has been trimmed several times since October. There are many in my neighborhood are growing better than 15 ft tall. It is attractive but does take up lots of space. It does require trimming to keep it relatively normal sized, otherwize it will grow out of control. It's dark green leaves and bright yellow flowers grow all year long. It is attractive to butterflies birds and bees.