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If you are looking for a fast-growing plant that will attract beneficial insects to your garden, choose a Mexican sunflower. With the ability to skyrocket upward of 6 feet tall in a single growing season, Mexican sunflower is easy to grow and blooms nonstop the entire growing season.
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3 to 8 feet
2 to 3 feet
Mexican Sunflower Colors
While not a true sunflower, this annual is native to Mexico. With its fuzzy, coarse-textured foliage in bright green, Mexican sunflower is a great choice as a filler plant to take up garden space as well as serve as a backdrop for other perennials. Mexican sunflower is most often found in warm shades of bright orange and hot yellow. The blossoms of Mexican sunflower resemble a large daisy with long, bright outer petals and a yellow center. This showy flower is attractive to local beneficial insects like the minute pirate bug. Plant a few near your vegetable garden to entice pollinators and good bugs, which can help control potential outbreaks of bad bugs.
Mexican Sunflower Care
Growing extremely easily from seed, Mexican sunflower loves summer heat. One of the easiest ways to grow Mexican sunflower is to sow seeds directly into the ground. Be sure to plant after the last frost in spring. When planting the seeds, be sure to sow directly on top of soil as the seeds require sunlight to germinate. In as little as 7-10 days you should see signs of germination. At this point, if plants are growing densely, it is best to thin seedlings out a bit—approximately 1–2 feet apart in order for plants to have the best growing conditions. If you would like to get a head start on growing Mexican sunflowers, they can also be started indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Once this date has passed, they can be transferred out to the garden.
Ideally, Mexican sunflower should be planted in well-drained soil with moisture levels ranging from average to dry. But Mexican sunflower tolerates poor soil. This plants will not tolerate wet soil or soil rich with organic matter as it will make the plant flop.
For the most impressive display of flowers, be sure to plant Mexican sunflower in full sun. This also helps keep the plant compact and prevents flopping. In part sun conditions, plan on staking to keep it upright. When growing Mexican sunflower, plan on deadheading plants to encourage continuous blossoms. In more tropical climates, this can also help prevent potentially vigorous reseeding.