Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Hardy Plants for Waterwise Landscapes

Helianthus annuus


Sunflowers in a mixed planting with other annuals (V.I. Lohr)

Plant form

Tall, upright, and coarse, branching out as it ages.


2 to 12 feet tall and about 1/3 to 1/2 as wide.


Plants produce bright yellow, pale yellow, orange, and burgundy flowers.  Some have a contrasting color ring in the center.  Double flowers with many petals are available. Blooms continuously from mid-summer until frost.  Flowers continue opening from the ends of the stems throughout the season.

Water use

Very low; grows in many parts of the West with no supplemental irrigation.

Culture and maintenance

Plants are usually started from seeds sown outdoors in the place they are to be grown. Plants produce viable seeds which will germinate the following year, but flower size and color may not be the same as what was originally planted. Insect- and disease-free.


Full sun.


This is the same plant that is grown for seeds, oil, and cut flowers.  The seeds can be collected and eaten.  Birds and squirrels will eat the seeds if they are left on the plant. Plants are native in Washington (or naturalized, with wild populations very near Washington). 
Field of sunflowers (V.I. Lohr) Sunflowers used as cut flowers (V.I. Lohr)


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