Tithonia rotundifolia, otherwise known as Mexican sunflower or Red sunflower, is a nice-looking and low-maintenance species of flowering plants. Member of the Asteraceae family, this flower is native to several regions of North America. It occurs in the warmer and moister parts of its native habitat, such as the West Indies, Central America, Mexico, Louisiana, and Florida.
Mexican sunflower is a pretty popular ornamental flower worldwide. Besides its easy-going style, this species has become popular among gardeners thanks to its numerous gorgeous varieties. The most common Mexican sunflower cultivars you can find include ‘Fiesta del Sol’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Torch’, and ‘Yellow Torch’.
Ready to learn more about Tithonia Rotundifolia a.k.a. Mexican Sunflower? Keep reading!
About Mexican Sunflower
- Mexican sunflower shows up at elevations of (200-2300 m) above sea level. The plant grows mostly in dry, bushy slopes, damp thickets, savanna grasslands, degraded lands, and roadsides.
- Mexican sunflower has colourful, eye-catching blossoms with great ornamental importance. Beyond this, the flowers contain lots of nectar and are also very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
- This spectacular plant makes for a wonderful addition to various landscape decorations, such as gravel gardens, cottage gardens, cutting gardens, beds, or borders. It is also a lovely cut flower for indoor settings.
- Although Mexican sunflower is most common in cultivation as a garden plant, it is also full of surprises. This plant comes with small varieties that can be one of the most adorable pot-grown specimens for indoor settings.
- Mexican sunflower is an excellent companion plant for many other showy species. The companions include Black-Eyed Susan, China Aster, Common Zinnia, Coreopsis ‘Mango Punch’, Dahlia, Anemone, Montbretia, Purple Fountain Grass, Snapdragon, Tall Verbena, and Toothpick Weed.
- Tithonia rotundifolia is a kid and pet-friendly species as long as you collect its seeds before they do. The seeds of this plant can be extremely toxic to humans, dogs, or cats if ingested.
Mexican Sunflower Features: An Overview
- The plant belongs to the Tithonia genus of flowering plants. Mexican sunflower shares this genus with other similar-looking species, but this one and T. diversifolia are the most popular species in cultivation.
- Mexican sunflower is a vigorous perennial flowering plant. In optimal conditions, this flower can reach from 4 to 6 feet (120-180 cm) in height with a spread of 2 to 3 feet (60-90 cm).
- Its foliage consists of large, hairy, heart-shaped, occasionally lobed, and light green to dark green leaves. The foliage emerges from tall, thick, wood-ish, green to brownish stems that may also feature soft hairs.
- The blooming period of Mexican sunflower usually lasts from midsummer through autumn. During these seasons, the plant produces an abundance of daisy-like flowers that measure up to 3 inches (7 cm) in diameter.
- In general, the delicate blossoms of Mexican sunflowers can last for weeks. They show up in various shades of orange, yellow, or red. Moreover, the flowers have a yellowish centre that contains high amounts of nectar.
Growing Mexican Sunflower
Mexican sunflower thrives in environments that mimic the conditions of its native area. The first step to simulating that natural habitat involves proper lighting exposure. When it comes to its lighting needs, you should know that Mexican sunflowers do not perform at their best in shady spots. To grow healthy and happy, these sun-loving plants need as much full sunlight as you can provide them with.
Temperature-wise, the Mexican sunflower is a cold-hardy perennial only in the USDA regions 9 to 11. In zones that are cooler, most gardeners grow this plant as an annual. Mexican sunflower prefers warm to hot temperatures, which usually help it bloom sporadically throughout the summer and fall months.
If you live in a place with regular rainy weather, your Mexican sunflowers might become more susceptible to pest infestations. The most common pests that may bother your flowers are slugs and snails. Luckily, these intruders are not very harmful to Mexican sunflowers. If you notice their presence, you can place some cardboard near your plant and collect the pests during daylight hours.
Planting Mexican Sunflower
The ideal time to plant your Mexican sunflower is once the last danger of frost is gone, typically in spring. In general, nighttime temperatures above 60 °F (16 °C) are a great indicator for optimal planting. Since overcrowded Mexican sunflowers are prone to fungal issues like powdery mildew, make sure you provide extra spacing for your plants from the very beginning.
When it comes to soil, you will not have to think too much about it. Mexican sunflowers can grow just fine in any type of average substrate as long as it comes along with excellent drainage. Avoid planting your flowers using soil that is rich in nutrients or organic matter because they don’t really need that. Plant your Mexican sunflowers in well-draining, sandy or rocky soils that are low in nutrients and you will encounter no problems with these beauties.
- Beautiful - The Mexican Sunflower, or Tithonia diversifolia, is also known as the tree marigold and is native to parts of Mexico and Central America. Enjoy in your flower garden or as cut flowers. Minimum of 1g per packet.
- Fun - These sunflowers take a twist with the classic sunflower blossom. The flower blooms up to 4in across in a dark orange and grows wildflower style.
- Pollinator Friendly - Bees love the nectar in these flowers and will travel around helping pollinate your garden. Towards the end of the season, birds also love to come and eat the dried seeds as well.
- Easy to Grow -- Instructions included on each packet with additional growing tips in the “How To” section of our website. Plus we are available to answer your questions as well. If these seed don’t germinate, we will happily make it “Right” for you.
- Safe Seed -Sow Right Seeds has taken the Safe Seed Pledge and sells only Non-GMO heirloom seeds that are safe for you and your family.
- 1 Pack of 50 Mexican Sunflower Seeds for Planting | Non-GMO & Heirloom Flower Seeds | 50 Giant Mammoth Sunflower Seeds to Plant Home Outdoor Garden | Buy Planting Packets in Bulk "Tithonia rotundifolia"
- Life Cycle: Annual | Light Requirement: Full Sun | Planting Season: Spring
- Color: Orange | Blooms: Late Summer, Early Fall
- Plant Height: Up to 72 inches | Plant Spacing:12-18 inches | Planting Depth:1/2 inch
- #1 Source for Non-GMO Garden Seeds!
- QUALITY - All seeds packaged by Seed Needs are intended for the current and the following growing seasons. All seeds are stored in a temperature controlled facility that is free of significant amounts of moisture.
- QUANTITY - Seed packets by Seed Needs offer generous quantities. You can share with friends and family, or save your extra seeds until the next season, if properly stored.
- PACKETS - This packet displays a beautiful illustration of the variety to be grown, as well as detailed seed sowing information on the reverse side as well. Measures 3.25” wide by 4.50” tall.
- PROMISE - Seed Needs will never knowingly supply GMO based seed products. The vast majority of our seeds are open pollinated & heirloom, with the exception of a few hybrids.
- GERMINATION - Seed Needs packets contain some of the freshest seed available. Direct from the growers. If sown correctly, you will begin seeing results in only a matter of days.
Last update on 2023-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Mexican sunflower is an independent ornamental that does well without extra fertilizers. This plant will need supplemental fertilizing only if you are growing it in soil that completely lacks nutrients. In this case, feed your Mexican sunflower with an all-purpose fertilizer designed for flowers once every year in early spring.
Mexican sunflower tends to grow at a pretty fast pace. Due to this, it can get somewhat lanky or overcrowded with time. Although pruning is the best option to give this plant a fresh start, you should know that this process may sacrifice some flowers along the way. Prune the top one-third of your Mexican sunflower during its blooming period. If you do not want to part ways with its healthy flowers, you can cut off only those stems that have spent blooms or lack them completely.
Watering Mexican Sunflower
The greatest thing about this friendly Mexican sunflower is that it is super tolerant of drought throughout its lifetime. This feature makes it a perfect start-up for beginners or forgetful growers that secretly love flowering plants. The only detail you will have to remember about your Mexican sunflower is its intolerance of constantly wet soils.
If you live in a location with regular rainfalls, you can basically forget about watering your Mexican sunflower for good. However, keep in mind that this flower will withstand regular or frequent rainfalls only when it grows in well-draining soil.
In regions with hot and dry summer months, it is enough to water your Mexican sunflower once every week or so. For this plant, the “soak & dry” method is sacred. But because it generally grows outdoors directly into the ground, it will be hard to check the soil in-between waterings without a little help. We suggest you buy a moisture meter to find out accurately when your plant needs water and to also avoid over-watering it.
Propagating Mexican Sunflower
Since Mexican sunflowers look best when you plant them in masses, you cannot miss the opportunity to have more of them in your outdoor ar. Especially when you have propagation at hand, which saves you extra money and brings lots of fun along the way. You can propagate your Mexican sunflower through both stem cuttings and seeds to increase your chances of success and have more of this lovely flower in your garden.
Propagating a Mexican sunflower is nothing more than a piece of cake, even if you are not so experienced in the gardening world. Look for strong, healthy stems on your plant and cut about 12 inches (30 cm) off them with a sharp knife. Once you have the cuttings, make sure you remove all leaves from each cutting until you have only a pair of leaves at the top. After this step, cut all the remaining large leaves in half to help your cuttings support them better.
Fill a container with a fresh rooting medium, such as perlite, sand, vermiculite, or a mix of peat moss and one of those mentioned. Plant the cuttings until about 6 inches (15 cm) of each stem is under the well-draining substrate. Keep the Mexican sunflower cuttings in filtered sunlight and provide them with water once every day.
With proper care, the cuttings will develop a good root system in ten days after planting. It will be safe to transplant the cuttings outdoors in eight weeks or so, but only when the last sign of frost has passed away, typically in spring.
In terms of seed propagation, Mexican sunflower will show nice results in little to no time. First things first, you must sow the seeds outdoors two weeks after the last frost in your area. If you live in a region with short summers, we recommend you start the seed indoors in a pot about six weeks before the usual last sign of frost.
Sow the Mexican sunflower seeds in a soilless potting mix that features great drainage. For optimal results, the growing medium should be always warm. Likewise, you will have to water it whenever it has all dried out. If you are doing this properly, you will have mature and blooming Mexican sunflowers before autumn.
Are you ready to add Mexican sunflowers to your plant family? These flowers are absolutely fabulous ornamentals. They make the perfect garden ornamentals as they are drought-tolerant plants that come with few demands in general. Mexican sunflowers thrive in full sunlight, warm temperatures, and well-draining soil.
Are you already growing Mexican sunflowers in your garden? Share your experience in the comment section!