Helianthus, Maximillian Sunflower, Prairie Sunflower 'Santa Fe'

Helianthus maximilianii

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



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:



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)

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:

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


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

Huntington, Arkansas

Oildale, California

San Diego, California

Erie, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado

Albany, Georgia

Minden, Louisiana

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Las Cruces, 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

Knoxville, Tennessee

Boerne, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Snyder, Texas

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Seattle, Washington

Morgantown, West Virginia

Casper, Wyoming

Kinnear, Wyoming

Riverton, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 11, 2017, dduff from Fort Collins, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

Going with a positive rating for now. In the first season with this plant I moved it in mid summer and it went into shock, but recovered nicely. In the second season it was a mammoth at least eight feet tall. Unfortunately just a week or two into its blooms we had an early wet snow and frost that knocked about half of this monster down and damaged most of the blooms. I am hoping this is an aberration, though, and will be adding more in the spring. Does well for me with no extra care or attention.


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).

L... read more


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.


On Apr 21, 2010, blomma from Casper, WY (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.


On Apr 21, 2010, wyomingsage from Kinnear, WY (Zone 4b) 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 resist... read more


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.


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.