Helianthus annuus | Common Sunflower ‘Evening Sun’
The Common Sunflower is an annual native to the central and southern portions of the US and Mexico. It was a common crop among American Indian tribes. It’s an open land species, generally growing in moist soils on prairies and other grasslands, old fields, roadsides, railroad tracks, savannas, and forest edges.
The sunflower is a fast growing annual that a tall plant with a thick, stiff, coarsely hairy stem, alternating leaves that are wider at the base than at the top, and typically one large flower head borne at the end of the main stalk, but can have multiple flower heads on a single plant as well. Easy and fast growing, flowering occurs July through September, depending on the region and time of planting. Tolerate drought and poor soil, but perform much better with soil amendments and regular watering. Sunflowers have one of the most aggressive root systems known, capable of drilling down through hard-pan or clay. They work great to pulverize a hard spot in the raised beds or flower bed, making it perfect for next season. Additionally, their roots have an aggressive allelopathic effect on seed germination. This effect inhibits other seeds from germinating in the same soil (just the germination of seeds, not the active growth of other plants).
Sunflowers may be used as a trap crop, attracting sucking insects like the stink bug and leaf-footed bug away from other edible garden crops, like tomatoes and peppers. They are also great for shading or as a wind break. Be sure to cut the heads down before the birds get to them first!
All kinds of bees, beetles, butterflies, and a myriad of pollinators are attracted to sunflowers. Once the seeds mature, they bring in tiny finches and other birds who enjoy feeding on them one by one.
The ‘Evening Sun’ sunflower produces gorgeous 4″-6″ autumn-colored flower heads with dark centers. Rich tones of vivid gold, autumn orange, warm mahogany, and blazing bronze are all on one plant! They are listed as reaching 6-9′ tall, but they’ve reached taller than 10′ for us! Being a multi-branched variety this sunflower makes for an excellent living barrier.
Yields approximately 150-300 small black seeds per flower head, and there are multiple! This is most definitely one of our favorite sunflower varieties.
Sun exposure: Full sun
Mature height: 7-10 ft
Mature width: 3 ft
Hardiness zones: All (annual)