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Helianthus debilis

Pronunciation: Hee-lee-an-thus deb-il-iss
Family: Asteraceae/compositae (aster/daisy family)
Common Name: Beach sunflower, cucumber-leafed sunflower
Plant Type:
  • annual
Height to: 3-4'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • repeat bloomer
Bloom Description: The flowerhead is about 2. 5-3 in (6. 4-7. 6 cm) across, slightly nodding, and quite attractive. The rays are bright yellow, numbering 11-21, and about 1 in (2. 5 cm) long. The disk is usually red-purple and about 1 in (2. 5 cm) in diameter.
Soil Type: Beach sunflower does well on calcareous soils and acid soils alike.
Plant Perks:
  • Salt Tolerant
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Attracts Butterflies
Propagation: By seed.
Native to: Most authorities recognize two subspecies of beach sunflower occurring naturally on beaches and dunes from southeast texas to the east coast of florida. Helianthus debilis subsp. Debilis is prostrate and occurs along both coasts of the florida peninsula. It has been introduced northward along the atlantic coast to north carolina. H. Debilis subsp. Cucumerifolius (cucumber-leaf sunflower) is erect and occurs along the northern gulf coast of florida, west to texas, and inland, especially in disturbed sites. The cultivar, h. Debilis subsp. Cucumerifolius 'italian white', is up to 5 ft (1. 5 m) tall with flowerheads 4 in (10 cm) across and pale yellow or creamy white rays and a black disk.
Notes for Identification: The prostrate form of beach sunflower is often used as a ground cover or in mass plantings. It is used for dune stabilization, and is especially useful on banks and slopes in beach-front situations. Beach sunflower is well suited for borders along beach walkways. But you don't have to live on the beach to enjoy this rugged beauty. Plant it in full sun where you won't be able to water it and watch the butterflies visit to pay their respects.
Located in: Annual
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