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The Plant Guide

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Branching sunflower

Helianthus debilis

Helianthus debilis 'Key Lime Pie'

These branching plants with thick stems and glossy mid-green leaves grow 5 to 6 feet tall. Slightly nodding flowerheads 2.5 inches or more across appear in summer. Bright yellow ray florets are sometimes flushed with red or purple-red disk florets.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsCultivars include ‘Italian White’, a graceful plant with 4-inch ivory-white daisies shading to buttery cream near their striking black centers; ‘Lemon Queen’, a pale yellow cultivar accented by a large brown center; ‘Velvet Queen’, well branched from a strong stalk, with dark burgundy petals and a black central disk; ‘Sole d’Oro’, a double-flowering form with a fluffy butter-yellow head; and ‘Stella’, a branching plant with golden petals and a maroon center.

CareTall cultivars may require support. Needs long, hot summers to flower well. Grow in moist but well-drained, moderately fertile, humus-rich soil.

PropagationSow seed in situ in spring or in pots in late winter.

ProblemsDowny mildew, powdery mildew, canker, rust, and many fungal leaf spots are common. Also susceptible to damage from caterpillars, cutworms, beetles, and weevils.

  • Genus : Helianthus
  • Plant Width : 1 to 3 feet
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Plant Type : Annuals
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
  • Flower Color : White, Yellow
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