HEIRLOOM Easy to grow and thrumming with hummingbirds, monarch butterflies and countless beneficial pollinators, tithonia is native to North America and often quite massive. Dozens upon dozens of 3″ vivid tangerine blooms are borne on long stalks, though they’re not a favored cut flower since they bend so quite easily.
Friends, if your resident rodentia nibble all your sunflower sprouts relentlessly, grow Tithonia, whose seeds and sprouts are much less delectable to mammals of all sizes!
Classic sunflowers have one huge, main blossom on top with a dozen or so smaller secondaries that generally dissipate before frost; Mexican sunflowers bear dozens upon dozens of equal size flowers with increasing abundance all the way to frost. The 5 to 6 foot plants grow several feet wide and their silver-green velvet leaves are deeply serrate and ornamental, as well. Our seed originally came from Siskiyou Seeds in Williams, Oregon where I spent one spectacular season apprenticing with our friend and mentor Don Tipping.
When to sow (Direct Seed recommended): After final frost, sow every 8″ and thin to one every ~2′. Any (even poor) soil is suitable. To Transplant, sow indoors 2-3 weeks before last frost. Harden off 5 days and transplant after frost.
Seed Depth: barely cover (light required to germinate)
Full Sun Days to Germination: 7-14 days
Plant spacing after thinning: 2 feet
Days to Flower: 76-84 Height: 5-7 feet
Harvest: Tithonia’s hollow stems are sadly not ideal for cutting, but if you must, harvest flowers when 90% open for bouquets.
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