How to Grow and Care for Tithonia - Mexican Sunflowers

Tree Branch

About Growing Tithonia Plants in Your Home Flower Garden

Tithonia plants, also called Mexican Sunflower, is an annual plant that is native to Mexico and Central America. This drought-tolerant plant likes warm weather. You will enjoy growing Tithonia for their fragrant, daisy-like flowers in orange and yellow colors. Tithonia flowers 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. Some people grow them in containers on their patio or deck. If you choose to do so, put them in large floor pots.

Mexican Sunflowers attract bees and butterflies.

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

Popular Varieties:

  • Torch – grows 4-6 feet tall.

  • Goldfinger – grows just 2-3 feet tall.

Flowers Bloom: Summer to Fall

Flower Colors: Shades of orange and yellow.

Plant height: 2 to 10 feet tall, depending upon variety.

Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 – 11

Other Names: Mexican Sunflower, Tree Marigold.

Annual, Tithonia Rotundifolia

Annual Tithonia Plant Propagation

Tithonia is 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. The final spacing should be two feet apart.

Final Plant Spacing: Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart.

Days to Germination: Seeds sprout in just 8 8 days.

About Seed Germination

How to Grow Tithonia 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 before 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. More on Deadheading Flowers.

Ideal Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.8.

Also, see:

Plant Problems – Identify the causes and find the cures.

Insects and Plant Disease

Tithonia experiences few insect and disease problems.  

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

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