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HELIANTHUS debilis

Image of Helianthus debilis

Grandiflora

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

HELIANTHUS debilis

Plant Common Name

Cucumberleaf Sunflower

General Description

Tolerant of the high winds, aerosol salt, and sharply drained soils of beach and dune landscapes, beach sunflower is a lovely, resilient perennial for sunny landscapes. It naturally occurs along coastal regions from Maine to Texas. There are also populations along the beaches of the Great Lakes. Northern seedstock is hardier than southern. There plants may be low-growing and spreading or upright in habit, depending on the subspecies. There are eight in total including the upright Helianthus debilis ssp. cucumerifolius and the low-growing, spreading H. debilis ssp. debilis, which is endemic to Florida.

It is commonly called cucumberleaf sunflower due to its rough-textured, wavy, semi-evergreen leaves that resemble those of a cucumber. Bloom time varies depending on geographic location and subspecies. Most are summer blooming, though in the south flowering can extend into fall and early winter. The sunny daisies have golden yellow ray petals that surround a reddish brown center of disc flowers. Lots of small sunflower seeds fill the dry, mature heads and are beloved by birds.

Full sun and sharply drained, sandy soil is essential for the beach sunflower. Established plants are very drought tolerant and resilient to the stresses of beach life. This is an ideal species for coastal landscapes, butterfly gardens and wildflower beds. The flowers are great for cutting and have a long vase life.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    11 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    1'-4' / 0.3m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, South-Central United States, Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Gold, Brown

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edging, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes