Friday, August 27, 2010

Little Rays of Sunshine


Maximilian's Sunflower

I planted a one gallon container of this sunflower last Spring and the way this plant grows is amazing. By the end of the season it was a tenfold on the size. In the late fall I dug it up and cut it in half and gave half to my neighbor. I took the piece I kept and planted it in a different spot. Originally it was located in the front garden by the street, I had no idea it was going to get 8' tall. I moved it into the side garden and closer to the fence line. Now it is in a much better location.........It still reached 8' this year and again grew into a huge clump. The bees absolutely love this plant, all day long the flowers are buzzing with all types of bees and other insects. The nice thing about this variety is that you have so many small flowers at the same time. Once this plant starts blooming it continues into late fall. If you grow this plant you will need to do some kind of staking early. I purchased a 60" tomato cage and put it over it when it first started emerging out of the ground. The plants have gotten to wide that you do not even see the cage. A perfect solution with little work. Also keep in mind that this variety of sunflower is a perennial, most sunflowers are annuals.

An uncommon plant that occurs in NE Illinois, west central Illinois, and SW Illinois. It is adventive from the west in most, if not all, of these areas. It is possible, however, that Maximilian's Sunflower is native to a few of the western counties where it occurs in high quality natural habitats. Habitats include rocky upland prairies, hill prairies, ledges of rocky cliffs, areas along railroads and roadsides, and waste ground. This plant is more common in states that lie west of the Mississippi River. The preference is full sun and mesic to dry conditions. The soil can contain clay-loam or rocky material. This plant appears to have few problems with pests or foliar disease.

USDA hardiness zone 3 to zone 8

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