Helianthus, the famous sunflower

Close-up on a helianthus flower in a field

Helianthus is the scientific name of what is commonly called sunflower. It is a plant that grows either as a perennial or an annual and it blooms very beautifully.

Helianthus facts listed out

Name – Helianthus
Family – Asteraceae
Type – perennial or annual

Height – 1½ to 10 feet (0.5 to 3 meters) depending on the species
Exposure – full sun
Soil – rich enough

Flowering – July to October

Planting Helianthus

Helianthus in a potThe planting rules are different depending on whether the Helianthus is a perennial or an annual.

Perennial Helianthus

  • Plant in spring and propagate through crown division in fall.
  • Keep a distance of 16 to 20 inches (30 to 40 cm) between plants.

Biennial Helianthus

  • If sowing from seed, do it in spring by simply sowing in place in seed holes.
  • A “seed hole” is simply a shallow hole in which several seeds are planted.
  • If you’ve purchased your sunflower plants already formed as young seedlings, transplant them from their nursery pot to the ground from April to June.

Growing Helianthus in a pot

Helianthus counts numerous varieties, some of which are “dwarf” varieties. These can easily be grown in pots indoors. They will flower within a year and seeds can be sown again for more potted wonders!

  • Water when the soil is dry in the surface (just brush your fingers across it and if it feels dry, add water).
  • Feed with fertilizer every fortnight in summer, but stop feeding in winter.
  • Give it proper light, but don’t set it near sources of heat that would dry the air around it too much.

Pruning Helianthus

Remove wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).

Diseases and insects that infect Helianthus

Learn more about Helianthus

Helianthus make great cut flowersNative to the Americas, the sunflower is a perennial often grown as an annual. It is definitely the most famous member of the Helianthus genus.

It also is among the tallest, since it can reach heights of up to 10 feet (3 meters).

Whatever the species, almost all have in common the yellow color that reflects the sun’s light.

Sunflowers are particularly melliferous, and they help bees with their pollen and thus support the ecosystem.

Growing them is very easy and their blooming is an easy source of peaceful pride.

Smart tip about the Helianthus

Since these plants grow quite fast, they’re perfect for flower beds, to hide a wall that’s in a sunny spot, and can even be grown potted for smaller species.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Helianthus in a field by Ria Algra under Pixabay license
Potted Helianthus by Pam Patterson under Pixabay license
Vase of cut Helianthus flowers by Gerhard Gellinger under Pixabay license