Mexican Sunflower: Should-Develop Tithonia Crops

There are literally two vegetation that qualify as Mexican sunflower, each of that are Tithonia species. Tithonia rotundifolia can be known as the “pink sunflower,” however Tithonia diversifolia has a slew of names starting from “Japanese sunflower” to “tree marigold” or “Mexican tournesol.” 

Each share the widespread identify “Mexican sunflower,” however the former is orange-to-red in shade, and the latter is yellow. Every Mexican sunflower is so carefully associated that their care is an identical. Each are native to Mexico. They’re each nice vegetation for drawing in butterflies, and hummingbirds love them! 

Any grasp gardener will let you know Mexican sunflowers make an important addition to any butterfly backyard as they’re recognized for attracting many helpful bugs, together with monarch butterflies. Develop Mexican sunflowers alongside milkweed (the monarch butterfly’s host plant), castor bean plant, flowers that appear like sunflowers, and different butterfly-friendly vegetation with a view to present them with a further meals supply. 

Tithonia diversifolia is a bit more widespread than Tithonia rotundifolia (widespread pink sunflower), however each are widespread backyard vegetation. To stop confusion from right here on out, we are going to focus on T. diversifolia. This simple plant is within the Aster household and has flowers that resemble marigolds (that are additionally within the Aster household!). 

In each instances, Mexican sunflower care is similar. Now, let’s discuss the best way to develop Mexican sunflowers!

Good Merchandise At Amazon For Rising Mexican Sunflower:

Fast Care Information

Tithonia diversifolia
Tithonia diversifolia. Supply: Starr
Widespread Title Tree marigold, Mexican tournesol, Mexican sunflower, Japanese sunflower, Nitobe chrysanthemum
Scientific Title Tithonia diversifolia
Household Asteraceae
Peak & Unfold As much as 8 ft tall by 3 ft large
Mild Full solar
Soil Properly-drained
Water Drought tolerant as soon as established
Pests & Illnesses Snails and slugs, powdery mildew

All About Mexican Sunflowers

Monarch butterfly on an orange Mexican sunflower
Butterflies like to land on Mexican sunflowers. Supply: kendoman26

Mexican sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) are also referred to as tree marigold, Mexican tournesol, Japanese sunflower, Nitobe chrysanthemum, or just Tithonia. As their identify would recommend these flowers originate from Mexico and Central America. They’re grown as annuals in most areas however will be grown as perennials in USDA zones Sep 11. In hotter climates, they are often reduce to the woody development in late fall/early winter and they’re going to develop again within the spring. 

Though Mexican sunflower is the commonest identify for this plant, tree marigold looks like probably the most acceptable identify. They will develop to be 8 ft tall and resemble a small tree! And the flower extra carefully resembles that of marigolds fairly than true sunflowers. The Tithonia flower can are available quite a lot of colours, however the most well-liked are shades of pink, orange, and yellow. T. diversifolia is most frequently yellow. 

Rising Mexican sunflower is really easy that you just may even do it accidentally! They’ve the power to set roots from any level on the stem, very like a tomato. Because of this if considered one of these sunflowers falls to the bottom it then has the power to root itself and develop a brand new flower. It’s this development behavior that has led to it being thought-about invasive in some areas. 

All that being stated, due to its aggressive development, it may be used as a supply of biomass and used so as to add natural matter to different areas of your backyard. When utilizing them this manner you will need to run the stalks by a chipper or chop them finely to keep away from them spreading to an space the place you don’t need them. This fashion you’ll be able to develop your individual fertilizer! 

Mexican sunflower vegetation have been known as the comfrey plant of the south, and pound for pound present vitamins equal to hen manure. For that reason, it has additionally been known as vegan manure. As a result of Mexican sunflower care is so minimal, you’ll have nice success utilizing this manner.  

If you happen to’re involved about dedicating a considerable amount of vertical house to the Mexican sunflower, then by no means worry! There are additionally dwarf varieties that received’t develop as tall resembling Fiesta del sol. These smaller vegetation don’t take up as a lot house and nonetheless provide lovely lower flowers from the backyard. 

Caring For Mexican Sunflowers

Tithonia diversifolia flower
An excellent view of the Tithonia diversifolia flower. Supply: Anita363

Mexican sunflower care is minimal which makes them an ideal plant sort for the newbie gardener. Learn on to learn to hold these lovely yellow flowers blooming all summer time. Give them sufficient house in your backyard and their blooms will entice many pollinators together with butterflies – just like the monarch butterfly – and hummingbirds. 

Solar and Temperature

Mexican sunflowers love full daylight. They require 6-8 hours of daylight per day and will be very drought tolerant as soon as established. If you happen to develop Mexican sunflower vegetation in partial shade, they won’t produce blooms as profusely and won’t develop as tall. They might even develop spindly, lanky, and flop over from a scarcity of daylight. 

USDA rising zones Sep 11 most carefully resemble this plant’s native habitat. These vegetation are extraordinarily delicate to frost and funky climate and shouldn’t be grown outside till nighttime temperatures warmth to 60 levels Fahrenheit and above. 

For that reason, in milder climates with frost looming, chances are you’ll need to begin your Mexican sunflower seeds indoors in containers (like our Epic 4-cells) about 6-8 weeks earlier than your final frost date to make sure that this plant has sufficient time to develop and flower in summer time. This head begin after the final frost will be sure that your Mexican sunflowers have sufficient time to develop beautiful blooms. 

In hotter climates with out as a lot frost, chances are you’ll select to sow seeds immediately into your backyard. At all times seek the advice of the packet of your Tithonia seeds earlier than you sow immediately for the size of time from seed to summer time bloom. 

Water and Humidity

Planting a Mexican sunflower seedling would require extra water than a longtime Mexican sunflower plant. Whereas they’re younger you should definitely water your sunflower plant deeply and infrequently (not less than two occasions per week). Water within the morning on the base of the plant and keep away from wetting the foliage and blooms as they will undergo from mildew. 

For this similar purpose, this plant sort doesn’t take pleasure in excessive humidity, and vegetation have to be correctly spaced within the backyard to keep away from overcrowding and enhance airflow. As soon as the bloom season has come to an finish, you’ll be able to stop watering your vegetation. It’s additionally essential to notice that this plant doesn’t like moist soil, so when unsure, it’s higher to underwater fairly than overwater the sunflower backyard. 


Mexican sunflowers can tolerate poor soil circumstances and have been recognized to thrive in sandy and rocky soil. As talked about above crucial consideration in your backyard soil when you find yourself rising Mexican sunflowers is that it’s well-draining with a view to keep away from constantly moist soil. Your soil ought to be capable to dry out between waterings. Mexican sunflower vegetation also can tolerate quite a lot of soil pH ranges and may even tolerate barely acidic soils. 

Fertilizing Mexican Sunflowers

As talked about above, Mexican sunflower care is minimal. For that reason, this plant doesn’t require any fertilizer in any respect. The addition of some natural matter to the backyard planting website firstly of the rising season must be enough. As soon as established, they don’t require a lot in the best way of watering, nor do they require fertilizing. Deadheading the spent blooms will encourage extra flowers than any fertilizer will. To not point out, Mexican sunflower vegetation will be chopped and dropped into the backyard and used as a fertilizer for different vegetation in your backyard. 

Pruning & Coaching Mexican Sunflowers

Tall Mexican sunflower plant
Mexican sunflowers can develop to be fairly tall. Supply: Starr

As beforehand talked about, deadheading spent blooms is critical for flower manufacturing, extra so than the addition of fertilizers. As soon as the bloom of your Mexican sunflower vegetation has pale, merely lower them again on the nearest development level beneath to encourage bushier development, and extra blooms will quickly seem. 

With out deadheading, you’re going to get fewer blooms general, and the Mexican sunflowers might develop too tall to help themselves and require staking or coaching up a trellis. You may additionally discover your sunflower has completed the planting of seeds with out you, as seeds germinate in spring and flowers bloom in summer time. 

One of the vital essential elements of studying the best way to develop Mexican sunflowers is deadheading. Deadheading prevents the spreading of seeds that offers Tithonia its invasive popularity. By eradicating the plant’s seeds from the backyard, you’ll save house for different flowers in summer time. 

Mexican Sunflower Propagation

Now that you know the way to take care of Mexican sunflowers, chances are you’ll be wanting extra of them and questioning the best way to propagate Mexican sunflower. The most effective and simplest way of propagation for these vegetation is to start out them from seed. In USDA zones Sep 11, chances are you’ll select to plant seeds immediately outside or begin seeds indoors and transplant Mexican sunflower seedlings with a view to get earlier blooms. 

In milder climates with a shorter rising season, it’s beneficial to start out the seeds indoors for planting outside at a later time. Seek the advice of the again of the seed packet for suggestions particular to your space. 

Since these sunflowers put out aerial roots, they may also be propagated from stem cuttings. Like tomato vegetation, Mexican sunflowers can put out roots all alongside their stem. Take away a bit of the stem slightly below a leaf node. Ensure that the chopping has not less than 2-3 leaves. Place the chopping immediately right into a pot with soil and hold properly watered in a sunny window indoors. Roots will set up inside 2 weeks, and so they can then be transplanted outside.  

Troubleshooting Mexican Sunflowers

Tithonia diversifolia spent flowers
Spent Tithonia diversifolia flowers on the plant. Supply: osahiro_nishihata

The Mexican sunflower plant is a comparatively carefree and no to low upkeep plant. Nevertheless, there are some indicators to look out for when rising Mexican sunflowers that might point out an underlying subject. 

Mexican Sunflower Rising Issues

As talked about above, rising Mexican sunflowers requires full solar. A lot of the rising issues that happen with this plant are a results of a lack of daylight. If you happen to discover that your vegetation aren’t blooming within the butterfly backyard, that development appears sluggish, or that vegetation are spindly and lackluster, then this might be a results of a scarcity of solar. 

There isn’t a technique to treatment a scarcity of sunshine apart from to make use of warning when selecting a planting website in your sunflowers previous to the time you plant seeds. Make sure to select a spot to develop Mexican sunflower in your backyard that receives 6-8 hours of daylight per day and isn’t shaded out by another vegetation or buildings. 

Since these flowers are recognized to develop fairly tall, they may also be knocked over if grown in a windy or uncovered space. It’s not not possible to develop Mexican sunflowers or begin seeds in a majority of these areas. Nevertheless, chances are you’ll want to offer help like a trellis or stakes with a view to hold them upright. 


Since sunflowers are native to Mexico, these Tithonia vegetation are properly suited to drought and dry circumstances. Subsequently most of their pest points are a results of moist climate circumstances. Slugs and snails can typically trouble Mexican sunflowers, particularly after prolonged wet circumstances. If you happen to discover irregular holes within the foliage after extended moist climate, then this can be an indication of snails or slugs. 

A moist piece of cardboard will be positioned close to the place you develop Mexican sunflower to behave as a lure. These pests will search out the cardboard as shelter in the course of the day and may then be simply collected. Iron phosphate has been recognized to regulate snails and slugs in additional excessive infestations, or natural slug & snail baits will be utilized. 


Once you learn to develop Mexican sunflower, you’ll discover overwatering may cause the proper circumstances for fungus to take maintain, particularly in scorching and humid climates. If an excessive amount of moisture is splashed onto the foliage throughout watering, then this could contribute to points with powdery mildew. This mildew seems as a white flour-like powder on the leaves. 

To stop these points, all the time backside water your vegetation. Neem oil may additionally be sprayed as a preventative measure to cut back the colonization of spores on foliage. In superior instances of this mildew, eradicating and destroying contaminated plant materials could also be greatest to stop it from spreading to close by wholesome vegetation. After eradicating contaminated materials (stalks, seeds, and flowers), spray neem oil or a liquid copper fungicide onto the rest of the plant and close by vegetation to cut back the danger of additional unfold. 

Regularly Requested Questions

Mexican sunflower
Mexican sunflower is a beautiful pollinator plant and backyard asset. Supply: Starr

Q: Do Mexican sunflowers come again yearly?

A: Mexican sunflower (Tithonia vegetation generally as properly) will have to be planted once more every spring in gentle climates. In USDA zones Sep 11, you’ll be able to develop Mexican sunflowers as perennials. 

Q: Is the Mexican sunflower an annual or perennial?

A: Mexican sunflowers are annuals in most areas. 

Q: Is Mexican sunflower invasive?

A: T. diversifolia is taken into account invasive in Florida, however T. rotundifolia isn’t, and in a lot of the western US each are used interchangeably. Which means you’ll be able to develop Mexican sunflowers anyplace safely.

Q: Will Mexican sunflower reseed itself?

A: Sure, though Tithonia is an annual, it is going to readily reseed and are available again 12 months after 12 months with little intervention. In hotter climates resembling USDA zones Sep 11, you’ll be able to develop Mexican sunflowers as perennial vegetation.  

Q: Do Mexican sunflowers want full solar?

A: Sure, develop Mexican sunflowers in full solar or 6-8 hours of daylight per day. 

Q: How lengthy does it take for Mexican sunflowers to bloom?

A: Seek the advice of the Tithonia seed packet for planting details about the precise days to bloom. Nevertheless, most Mexican sunflowers will bloom in midsummer and into the winter in hotter climates. 

Q: How do you narrow and drop a Mexican sunflower?

A: Tithonia vegetation produce aerial roots, kinda like tomatoes do — you’ll be able to lower & drop the leaves with no drawback, but it surely’s higher to cut the stems into fantastic particulate, so that you don’t by accident propagate the thick stems and make new vegetation!

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