Tropical Style

Types of Perennial Sunflowers

Sunflower (Helianthus) is a large group of sun-loving lants with glowing yellow petals that radiate from a dark brown center. Unlike yearly varieties, perennial sunflowers blossom and return for many years. Even though the flowers are similar to annual sunflowers, the flowers are normally smaller. Most perennial sunflowers begin blooming in late summer or early fall, attracting butterflies and honeybees into the backyard as late as November.


Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) is just a gigantic plant that reaches heights of 3 to 10 feet at maturity, with a spread of 2 to 4 feet. The plant exhibits glowing yellow, daisylike blooms surrounding dark yellow centers, rising above long, thin leaves. Maximilian sunflower, which flowers mainly in late summer and early fall, is acceptable for growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9

Lemon Queen

Helianthus “Lemon Queen” is a big, fast-growing perennial sunflower that reaches heights of 6 to 8 ft and widths of 3 to 4 feet. The plant produces masses of 2-inch, pale lemon-yellow, semi-double blooms with dark brown centers. Blooms appear in midsummer and last six to eight weeks. Helianthus “Lemon Queen” is perennial in USDA zones 4 through 9.


Helanthus x multiflorus contains quite a few attractive perennial sunflower varieties, each displaying masses of colorful, early- to late-summer flowers on fuzzy stems measuring as tall as 4 to 5 feet. Varieties include the extreme gold, double-flowered “Lodden Gold”; “Capenoch Star,” with glowing yellow, single flowers; along with “Soleil d’Or,” with vibrant yellow, semi-double blooms. Multiflorus sunflowers have been drought-tolerant plants acceptable for growing in USDA zones zones 4 through 10.


Willowleaf sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius) is distinguished by smart yellow-orange, 2-inch blooms with purplish-brown centers that grow atop sturdy, pale green, 6- to 8-foot stems. The plant’s graceful, drooping leaves step 8 or more inches in length. This sunflower variety expands by underground rhizomes, eventually creating a thick colony of blossoms. Willowleaf sunflower, which flowers in fall, is perennial in USDA zones 4 through 9.

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