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Helianthus mollis (Ashy Sunflower)

Ashy Sunflower, Downy Sunflower

Helianthus mollis, Ashy Sunflower, Downy Sunflower, Yellow Flowers, Yellow Perennials

Helianthus mollis (Ashy Sunflower) is an upright perennial with pubescent leaves and stems (covered with hair) giving them an ash-like gray color, hence the common name. The stems are clad with sharply toothed, broad oval leaves, 6 in. long (15 cm), and are branched in their upper part. From early summer to early fall, they are topped with a profusion of yellow flowers, 4 in. across (10 cm), each adorn with up to 15-30 yellow rays and a yellow center disk. The blossoms are particularly attractive to birds as they love to eat the seeds directly from the seedheads. Ashy Sunflower spreads in the landscape by rhizomes and self-seeding to form colonies. It is perfect for adding long-lasting summer color in naturalized areas.

  • Typically grows up to 2-4 ft. tall (60-120 cm) and 1-3 ft. wide (30-90 cm).
  • Performs best in full sun in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils. However, this plant is not too fussy about soils and tolerates a wide range of conditions, excluding clay soils. Drought tolerant once established.
  • Low maintenance, this is an excellent choice for cottage gardens, bird or butterfly gardens, wildflower gardens, prairies and meadows.
  • Keep an eye out for rust, leaf fungal spots, powdery mildew, caterpillars and beetles.
  • Native to central and eastern North America.

Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Gorgeous Sunflowers


Cherished for their beauty, Sunflowers (Helianthus) are striking ornamental annuals or perennial plants grown for their colorful summer and fall blooms. Fast-growing, they can reward you with glamorous blooms between 55 and 100 days after planting. Here are some basic rules that need to be followed to enjoy their splendid flowers.

Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Helianthus
Common names Sunflower
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Midwest, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Southeast, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Southwest, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Bees
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Helianthus annuus ProCut® White Nite (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ProCut® Red (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Sunrich Summer Provence’ (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Sunrich Gold’ (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Sunny Smile’ (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Velvet Queen’ (Common Sunflower)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

How to Choose the Perfect Sunflower for Your garden and Pots
10 Reasons Why You Should Grow Sunflowers in Your Garden
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Best Annual Flowers For Your Vegetable Garden
Best Annual Flowers and Plants for Full Sun
Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Gorgeous Sunflowers
39 Most Beautiful Sunflower Types for Your Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 4 - 9
Plant Type Perennials
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Helianthus
Common names Sunflower
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Height 2' - 4'
(60cm - 120cm)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 36" (90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Northeast, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Midwest, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Southeast, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Southwest, Texas, Oklahoma
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil, Rocky Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies, Bees
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Helianthus (Sunflower)
Not sure which Helianthus (Sunflower) to pick?
Compare Now

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