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Annual Biennial

Helianthus annuus
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

common sunflower

H. annuus is a tall, fast-growing annual with broad, oval to heart-shaped, roughly hairy leaves 10-40cm long. In summer it bears huge flowers up to 30cm across with bright yellow petals and dark brownish or purplish centres. The flowers attract bees and the seeds that follow provide food for finches

Other common names
comb flower
golden
see moregolden flower of Peru
St Bartholomew's star

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Size
Ultimate height
2.5–4 metres
Time to ultimate height
1 year
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Brown Yellow Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

West–facing or South–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H4
Botanical details
Family
Asteraceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Columnar upright
Genus

Helianthus can be tall, erect annuals, tuberous or rhizomatous perennials, with coarse simple leaves and large daisy-like flower-heads

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun. Will flower best in a long, hot summer. May need support

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in-situ or in a pots or modules in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Wildlife gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Cut flowers
  • Wall side borders
Pruning

No pruning needed

Pests

Can get slugs and snails

Diseases

May be affected by powdery mildews and sclerotinia diseases

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