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Helianthus angustifolius

Family: Asteraceae

Common names: SUNFLOWER, SWAMP SUNFLOWER

Native to: Eastern United States To Texas

Sentiment: false riches

Plant

Types: biennial, perennial

Forms: clumping, erect

Max height: 6.6 feet

Max width: 4 feet

Flower

secondary color present, yellow

Leaf

green

Horticulture

Attracts wildlife: adult butterfly, bird, specific butterfly species

Plant part consumed by birds: seeds

Exposure: sun

Landscape uses: container, cut flower

Propagates by: seed

flowers in fall

Soil type: wide range

USDA Zones: zone 6 to -10 f, zone 7 to 0 f, zone 8 to +10 f, zone 9 to +20 f

Temp. range: -10 to +30 °F

Water: moist, regular

  • Helianthus angustifolius

Helianthus, or SUNFLOWER, a member of the Compositae (Aster) family with 85 species, is a wildlife favorite, as squirrels, birds, and butterflies all enjoy this plant. They grow in Zones 4-9 and prefer regular watering. There are at least six species in cultivation and numerous cultivars. Helianthus angustifolius, laevigatus, maximiliani, and occidentalis are cultivated perennials that grow from seed. Helianthus annus, as the name suggests, is an annual.

Helianthus angustifolius, SWAMP SUNFLOWER, grows to 6 1/2' tall and 4' wide in Zones 6-9, and is native to the Eastern United States to Texas. It is a biennial in some settings, and a perennial in others. It prefers regular watering or moist watering, but is not fussy as to soil types. Grow it in full sun, or in a very bright sunny spot that may get light shade part of the day. It produces large yellow flowers in fall. Try it in a container? Why not. A big one.

In addition to the butterflies that nectar on plants in the Compositae family, Helianthus attracts Lycaena editha, EDITH'S COPPER.

Lycaena phlaeas american copper
Container plants that attract adult butterflies - perennial

This plant is one of 186 perennials suitable to grow in a container that will attract adult butterflies. 38 of these plants attract birds and 67 attract specific butterfly species. They can be found in every height range – from tiny to large – from less than a foot high to over 10 feet tall. 19 of these plants are drought tolerant, more than 80 are available for dry or moderate watering conditions. 29 are deciduous, while 71 are evergreen. Some can grow in Zone 2, while the others grow in Zones 3-11. 178 perennial plants that attract butterflies and can be grown in containers in Zone 9. 77 can be used as cut flowers. They come in any one of the available flower colors.

We have found that, when given a choice, butterflies and bees frequent named species more often than cultivars. You may want to keep this in mind when you select plants for your garden if your goal is to attract and support these insects.

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