Also known as Mexican sunflower, this hot weather annual in the sunflower family is a great addition to any sunny bed.
It thrives in our Central Texas heat, but does need a little supplemental irrigation at the hottest, driest summer months. Of course, keep new seeds watered lightly daily until they germinate and do keep the new seedlings moist but not too wet.
Be sure not to overwater, especially if you have clay soil. And don’t be fooled by its small stature when purchased: Tithonia can get up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, although dwarf varieties are available. There are many varieties that vary slightly by color and size.
The leaves are rather coarse-textured and fuzzy. The brilliant flowers keep on coming all summer into the first frost. Sometimes, it takes a break in August, provide a little water, and shear lightly on a regular basis to remove spent blooms, it will flower even more prolifically.
Tithonia is an annual, and can be planted in spring from either seeds or transplants. Since it does get so tall, be sure to put this plant in the back of garden bed, to highlight smaller perennials or groundcovers. Tithonia is irresistible to butterflies, so this plant should be a must-have in any wildlife garden.