Thursday, November 6, 2014

Flower Friday: Catch narrowleaf sunflower before it sets for the season

Photo by Stefan Bloodworth, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Photo by Shari King
Narrowleaf sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius)

Narrowleaf sunflower, (also known as swamp sunflower), is one of Florida's most common sunflowers. Blooms are medium to large, with bright yellow, strap-shaped ray flowers and reddish brown disk flowers. Flowerheads are cupped in green bracts. Stems are branched. Leaves are long but very narrow and have a rough, sandpaper-like surface.

Narrowleaf sunflower occurs naturally in marshes, wet flatwoods, and roadside ditches. It is attractive to bees, butterflies and birds.

Family: Asteraceae
Hardiness: North and Central Florida (Zones 7-9)
Soil: Moist to wet, acidic soils
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade
Growth habit: 4–6+ feet tall
Garden tips: Narrowleaf sunflower is readily available commercially and is easy to maintain in home landscapes. It is most suitable as a buffer along wetlands or in other open wet sites. Because of its height, as well as its propensity to form large clusters, it is not recommended for small gardens or formal landscapes.

Narrowleaf sunflower seeds are available through the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants.Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery on your area.

To see where narrowleaf sunflower occurs naturally, visit http://florida.plantatlas.usf.edu/Plant.aspx?id=3497.

--Stacey Matrazzo

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