Question of the Week: September 30, 2021

“What is this wildflower I’m seeing along some of our highways?”

Maximilian sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani. It grows to 4 to 6 ft. tall in vertical shoots of rich yellow. In moist ditches it can grow even taller.

Maximilian sunflower heads line the vertical stems.

Many of our wildflower sunflowers are annuals, meaning they grow, bloom and die all in one season. This one, however, is perennial. Once you get it started it will be with you for years. Because of its size you’ll want to use it along a fence line or in the back of the flower garden where it won’t overpower its near neighbors.

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It’s easy to fall in love with Maximilian sunflowers, just as the bees and butterflies do. Click image for larger view.

Oh, and you won’t be the only one enjoying this plant. Bees and butterflies flock to it, and birds will be waiting for its seeds to mature.

Seeds are available from many wildflower sources. Google “seeds Helianthus maximiliani” and you’ll find plenty of matches. Plant the seeds next spring.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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