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How to Grow Tithonia Mexican Sunflower Plants

Annual, Tithonia Rotundifolia

Tithonia, also called Mexican Sunflower, is an annual  plant that is native to Mexico and Central America. This drought tolerant plant likes warm weather. 

Tithonia blooms from summer to fall. The daisy-like flowers in orange and yellow, grow 2 1/2" to 3 inches across. Remove spent blooms to promote new flowers.

Grow Tithonia plants at the back of the border. You can also grow them in groups. They will grow 36" to 60" tall. Some people grow them in containers. If you choose to do so, put them in large floor pots.

Mexican Sunflowers attract butterflies.

Tithonia is also referred to as ""Golden Flower of the Incas".

Popular Varieties:

  • Torch - grows 4-6 feet tall.

  • Goldfinger - grows just 2-3 feet tall.

Plant Propagation:

Tithonia are grown from seed.  In colder, northern areas, you may want to start them indoors. In warmer climates, they can be started outdoors. Keep soil moist until seeds have sprouted.

Sow Tithonia seeds outdoors after the last frost in your area, and after the soil has warmed to 60 degrees.

Important note: The seeds will take 10-21 days to sprout. So, make sure the location of outdoor starts is well marked.

Cover lightly with soil, only 1/4". Space seeds 6-8 inches apart. Final spacing should be two feet apart.

How to Grow Mexican Sunflower Plants:

Mexican Sunflower plants like warm weather, and do not take a liking to the cold. Grow them in full sun. Soil conditions can vary, from average a to rich soil. But, it should be well drained. Mix in plenty of compost prior to planting to promote optimum plant growth.

Tithonia plants are drought tolerant. Allow the top three inches of soil to dry out between watering. Applying a general purpose fertilizer early in the season will promote healthy growth.

Staking plants will keep them from falling over, especially in heavy winds.

Flowers will begin to bloom in summer. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage the plant to produce more blooms all the way to cold weather in the fall.

Insect and Disease:

Tithonia experience few insect and disease problems.  

Perhaps best of all, the deer avoid them. Deer do not like the hairy leaves.

Garden Resources:

More on Sunflower Varieties


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