Make butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and your neighbors happy when you grow tithonia in your garden. This stunning sunflower towers over everything in my late summer garden ~ it’s at least 8 feet tall.
Tithonia is also called Mexican sunflower. This year, I planted a variety called ‘Torch’ from Botanical Interests in three places: next to the zinnias by the raised garden beds, in my front garden bed surrounded by ginger lilies and beautyberry, and lastly, by my mailbox garden with black and blue salvia, mandevillas and cardinal climbing vine.
It’s the last location that gets the attention of the neighbors. “What is that plant?” I hear when I step outside to check the mail. I sowed tithonia seeds in late June and by late August the plants grew to about 6 feet with multiple branches bearing searingly orange-red blooms. (Color experts and word nerds call the color vermillion.)
I didn’t get great germination with the blooms, maybe 50 percent. I think that’s due to the seed being packed for 2022 sale. I somehow forgot to plant half the packet last year and returned the packet to my seed box. I discovered the remaining seeds early in summer and planted them in sunshiney pockets that could use a towering pollinator beacon in late summer.
Things to Know About Tithonia
- Plant in full sun and well-draining soil.
- Once established, tithonia tolerates infertile soil, drought and neglect (per Botanical Interests)
- The buds and blooms are edible.
Give tithonia a chance in your next summer garden. I plan to find many more pockets of full sun goodness around my yard for this stunner.
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