Helianthus divaricatus - WOODLAND SUNFLOWER

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Showy native perennial sunflower, with spreading growth, high ecological value. Ideal for half shade garden, woodland edge and for naturalization.

This sunflower will reach usually 4-5' of height (in ideal conditions 6') and up to 3' width, slowly spreading by rhizomes.

2-3" yellow flower atop the stems, blooms for about 2 months from about mid July to mid September.

Half sun, half shade, dappled shade. Adaptable to many soil types with medium, medium-dry to medium-moist soils. Tolerates sunny spots and droughts too.

Hardy in zones 5 to 9. Deer resistant, rabbits may nibble on young shoots. Black walnut tolerant plant.

Native to eastern half of USA and Canada, see the USDA distribution map, where it can be found on prairies, thickets,woodland borders, savannas, sand savannas, etc.


Attracts butterflies and skippers, 6 sunflower specialist native bees feed on the nectar and pollen. Other visitors include long-tongued bees (honeybees, bumblebees, digger bees, leaf-cutting bees, cuckoo bees), short-tongued bees (Halictid bees and Andrenid bees), several species of wasps and flies (Syrphid flies, bee flies, thick-headed flies, etc. and Goldenrod Soldier Beetle.

It is also host plant for caterpillars of Silvery Checkerspot), Gorgon Checkerspot, Painted Lady butterflies, then the caterpillars of Banded Sunflower Moth, Sunflower Borer Moth, Sunflower Seed Copper, and other moths.

Native sunflowers generally, including the woodland sunflower, are great source of food for many small insects like aphids, leafhoppers, treehoppers, leaf beetles, scarab beetles, plant bugs, grasshoppers, larvae of weevils, midges and other small flies, and many other insects.

Seeds will feed smaller birds like Hungarian Partridge, Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, Eastern Goldfinch, Tufted Titmouse, Harris Sparrow, and many other birds and small mammals too.

Best in naturalistic plantings, wildlife gardens, pollinator or butterfly garden, preferably in areas with some shade, or in woodland edges or places where it can spread some. Best to leave some room to spread and make small colony.

Pot size : square 3.5" x 5" deep pot

Picture copyright : Joshua Mayer, Flickr