Helianthus, Small Wood Sunflower, Small-Headed Sunflower 'Lemon Queen'

Helianthus microcephalus

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Helianthus (hee-lee-AN-thus) (Info)
Species: microcephalus (my-kro-SEF-uh-lus) (Info)
Cultivar: Lemon Queen
Additional cultivar information:(aka Limelight)
Synonym:Helianthus x microcephalus
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

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

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

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:

Richmond, California

Waukegan, Illinois

Dracut, Massachusetts

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Somerville, Massachusetts

Grand Marais, Michigan

Webberville, Michigan

Natchez, Mississippi

Southaven, Mississippi

Plattsburgh, New York

Liberty, North Carolina

Mooresboro, North Carolina

Pembina, North Dakota

Columbus, Ohio

Spencerville, Ohio

Willoughby, Ohio

Enid, Oklahoma

South Beach, Oregon

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Sellersville, Pennsylvania

Houston, Texas

Bellevue, Washington

Everett, Washington

Lakewood, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 18, 2016, phconners from Liberty, NC wrote:

I got this plant on clearance from Burpee last Fall. Over wintered it in a raised vegetable bed. Once it emerged in Spring I planted it in a new garden I had created. Oh my goodness, it is now 8 ft and spectacular. Will end up having to make adjustments due to its size with the rest of plants in garden. I pairs beautifully with Hyssop and asters. I can't wait to divide and start a row on the east side of my privacy fence! My only question since this is the first year I've had it, what do you do with it after it blooms, leave it, prune it, hack to ground or what??


On Aug 28, 2015, Camieux from Doylestown, PA wrote:

I ordered 4 plants in late April 2015 from Bluestone Perennials. They all have been blooming profusely since the first of August. Just beautiful. One is over 6'. Full of lemon yellow blooms. We have had 4 heat waves this summer (SE PA) but also ample rain. Very happy to have such huge plants the first season.
9/20/17 update: two yrs later and the plants have not disappointed. This season was very wet along with stormy straight line winds and my unstaked plants never missed a beat. I have been cutting bouquets for over a month and even dug up a piece of the original plant and transplanted which is still blooming.


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 ... read more


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!


On Jul 12, 2012, stephanietx from Fort Worth, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grew these for the first time this year. They did wonderfully! The blooms are a soft butter yellow and the bees love them. One plant reached a height of 8 feet and the shortest was a little over 4 feet. The others were in between. Very easy to grow. I did put supports up for them, but I'm not sure if they really need them.


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.


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.


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.


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 tha... read more


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.


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.