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Plant Profile: Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundiolia)

When I stand next to my flowering Mexican sunflower plant I feel like Jack with his beanstalk. The plant towers over me and grew to such heights in just a couple of months. True, I am gardening in a warm area and so it reaches its full potential in my garden but if you decide to try this one, be aware that it could be a biggy. There are much shorter cultivars available but I buy my seeds at the local garden center and have never had any choice as to cultivar. Actually, I kind of enjoy having this gentle monster in my garden and besides, it gives a challenge to the zebra grass next to it. In addition, the vivid orange flowers add zip to the scene and butterflies adore it. Place it in full sun and well-drained soil then stand back and watch it grow. 

Type: Annual.

Bloom: Yellow to orange flowers resembling mini dahlias are borne in late summer through fall.

Size: 2-8’ H x 4’ W.

Light: Full sun.

Soil: Average, well-drained.

Pests and Diseases: Slugs when young;  susceptible to aphids, thrips.

Propagation: Seed.

Companion plants: Pampas grass, zebra grass, goldenrod such as ‘Fireworks;.

Outstanding Selections:

    ‘Aztec Sun’ (golden, 4’)
    ‘Fiesta del Sol’ (orange, 2-3’, but flowers late and sometimes not at all)
    ‘Goldfinger’ (orange, 4-5’)
    ‘Torch’ (orange, 6’)

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