Mexican Sunflower - The 'Torch' of the Garden
Butterflies of all kinds, but especially the endangered Monarchs, carry a “Torch” for the Mexican sunflower. Swarms of migrating Monarchs are commonly seen mobbing the big, bold, red-orange dahlia-like blooms. This native of Mexico and Central America soars up from seed, reaching 5’ tall in just weeks, surrounded by its trademark lush, dark green foliage with 3” brilliant sunset-colored flower heads topping 6’.
Their long bloom period attracts and feeds butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and several other beneficial pollinators. There’s a reason most photos have a butterfly perched on the flower! Goldfinches and other smaller birds perch on the spent flowers and daintily eat the seeds.
The Mexican Sunflower was the 1951 All-American Selection (AAS) winner for the 'Tithonia' and container categories. Called Golden Flower of the Incas in the 1940's. Tithonus was a young, mortal man dearly beloved of Aurora, the goddess of dawn. Rotundifolia means round leaves.
Makes vibrant cut flowers.
Direct sow in warm soil – these need heat for strong germination and bountiful growth. Plants thrive in summer heat and are best suited for average, dry to medium, well-drained soils, but will tolerate poor soils and do surprisingly well. Avoid nutrient-rich soils, as they produce weak-stemmed blossoms with excess foliage and soon topple over.
Remove spent blooms for stronger, longer blooms. Plant along a fence for support at the back of a flower patch, or cut the plants back to encourage bushier growth for shorter groupings.
From the soil to the seed to the food you eat - we'll help you grow your best garden!
Grew well in clay soil
This grew well in my SE PA clay soil, topping out at about 5 feet. Unfortunately, the branches were brittle and broke under their own weight (but they kept blooming!)
It is beautiful plant! Flowers are bright orange with height of 5. About 3 across flower size. Hope to have in my bed every year.