The American native sunflower or Helianthus plant comprises of 70 different species all of which are native to North America except for three species in South America.  There is quite a bit of variability among the perennial species that make up the bulk of the species.  Some have most or all of the large leaves in a rosette at the base of the plant and produce a flowering stem that has leaves that are reduced in size. Most of the perennials have disk flowers that are entirely yellow, but a few have disk flowers with reddish lobes. There are 14 different varieties of sunflowers native to Florida alone. Several imported varieties also grow well in the Florida region. Most varieties of sunflowers found in Florida have a soft fragrance and are easy to root. A member of the daisy family, these flowers like to grow in the full sun and can withstand hot and dry weather conditions.

Beach Sunflower/Dune Sunflower

IMG_0623If you live near the ocean the Flora Sun beach sunflower, is a hardy perennial that can withstand the salty sea spray.  This variety of the plant has small flowers and grows to about 3 feet high. Native to coastal dunes, the flowers are bright yellow and look like daisies. The plant makes decorative ground cover and requires little care. These flowers, grow best from cuttings and bloom year-round in Southern Florida.      

Mexican Sunflower

Sunflower-MexicanThe Mexican sunflower can grow up to 6 feet tall and gives off the scent of honey. This plant grows best in well-drained soil.  The sunflower attracts several different species of butterflies, along with hummingbirds and bees. Flower petals are bright orange or yellow in color. When planting as a garden flower, allow room for the flower to spread out as it grows. In the southern U.S., these plants flower in June, go to seed, and then produce a second generation of flowering plants before October.  Although the Mexican sunflower is a perennial plant native to Central America, the flower grows easily in sunny, sandy locations like Florida.  Its important to know the plant spreads quickly unless you keep it contained.

Rayless Sunflower

Rayless Sunfl9Native to Florida, the Rayless sunflower is different from the other 20 varieties of sunflowers that grow in the state because it doesn’t have any flower petals.  The plant grows to be about 3 feet tall and is distinguished from other sunflowers by a slender stem with what looks like a purplish-brown-colored cone on top. This species of sunflower grows throughout the state in wet flatwoods where it towers above the native grasses.  Found growing only in the southeasterly states of the U.S. in open pine forests where the soil is well drained, the Rayless sunflower blooms in the summer.  

Russian Mammoth

sunflower_mammothrussianTaller than the Mexican sunflower, the Russian Mammoth grows to about 12 feet high with a flower that can get as big as 16 inches in diameter.  This species of sunflower is drought-tolerant and grows easily in warm-temperate climates. The plant is an imported variety of sunflower that grows well in the sandy soils of Florida. However, if conditions remain dry for too long or a region has less than average rainfall, the roots need a good soaking with water. Otherwise, the plant requires very little care. While the vibrant, strong sunflower is a recognized worldwide for its beauty, it is also an important source of food. Sunflower oil is a valued and healthy vegetable oil and sunflower seeds are enjoyed as a healthy, tasty snack and nutritious ingredient to many foods. Sunflowers are the happiest of flowers, and their meanings include loyalty and longevity. They are unique in their ability to provide energy in the form of nourishment and vibrance, an attribute which mirrors the sun and the energy provided by its heat and light.  Bright and cheery, bold yet comfortable, the sunflower is a warm and caring gift.
Call J&J Lawn Service to install your sunflowers today!  954-732-5008