Botanical Name: Tithonia rotundifolia
Plant Family: Aster (Asteraceae)
Description: Mexican sunflower is hard to beat for attracting monarchs during fall migration. Mexican sunflower grows a bushy 5-6 ft, leaves are coarse, hairy, and 3 lobed. Most varieties commonly produce brilliant orange flowers with yellow centers, however var. 'Goldfinger' and 'Yellow Torch', amongst others, produce yellow flowers instead.
Because of it's large growth habit, it may be difficult to fit into the home garden, however a dwarf cultivar 'Fiesta del sol' is compact enough to grow in a container, and stays a manageable 3 ft tall.
Growing Conditions: Prefers full sun, but can take filtered light and partial shade. Heat and drought tolerant in well draining soil.
Bloom Time: Late, Aug - Sep
Bloom Color: Bright orange, or yellow depending on var.
Benefit to pollinators/wildlife: The bright orange flowers attract monarch butterflies and many other pollinators as a late season nectar source.
Native Status: Native to Mexico and Central America
Location in habitat: Pollinator Demonstration Garden