June 12, 2011
•Scientific name: Helianthus debilis
•Growth habit: A spreading perennial ground cover having variable growth habits but usually grows to a foot tall and more than 3 feet wide. The leaves are medium to dark green, triangular in shape and grow to 2 inches long and an inch wide.
•Light: Plant in full sun.
•Water needs: Drought tolerant. Once established can exist with seasonal rains.
•Feedings: Minimal feedings are needed. Apply a light application of a general landscape fertilizer in March and June if needed for growth.
•Propagation: Start new plants from seeds or cuttings.
•Hardiness: Medium; can be damaged by severe freezes but grows back from buds along lower stems or seeds.
•Major problems: Almost carefree. A few chewing pests may affect the foliage but can usually be ignored. Avoid over-watering and plant in well-drained soils.
•Pruning: This is a vigorous spreading plant that needs room to grow. Pruning is needed to keep it inbounds when added to landscapes. Groom to remove damaged portions after severe winters.
•Uses: Plant as a ground cover in hot dry sites and enjoy the almost year-round 2-inch sunflower-type blossoms that bring in the butterflies. Beach sunflower is popular in coastal areas where it is salt tolerant and often called dune sunflower.
•Florida native: Yes.