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Beach Sunflower

Q: What can you tell me about the beach sunflower.?

A:  Beach Sunflower, Helianthus debilis, is a spreading perennial producing attractive, small sunflower-like flower heads which bloom throughout the year. This is a terrific plant for attracting a variety of birds and butterflies.  It reaches up to 18 inches tall but spreads up to four feet wide. It should be grown in full sun and has good salt tolerance.  Beach Sunflower has been used in dune areas to reduce wind erosion but also works well in the homeowner landscape.  It is not picky about soil type which works well for new subdivisions where fill dirt may have been used.  It is a good choice for those small strips of land between the sidewalk and road which are difficult to irrigate and fertilize properly.  Beach Sunflower is very drought tolerant and will succumb to root rot if watered too heavily.  Err on the side of too little water rather than too much.  There are many color variations on the flower which range from purple to pink to yellow.  Beach Sunflower has no major insect or disease issues.  It will die back during cold winters but reseeds and will return when temperatures rise in the spring. http://hort.ufl.edu/shrubs/HELDEBA.PDF