#TeachingTuesday: Swamp Sunflower

#TeachingTuesday: Swamp Sunflower

By Myatt Landscaping, Posted in
August 04, 2020

#TeachingTuesday: Swamp Sunflower

This week, our plant is Swamp Sunflower, or Helianthus angustifolius. It’s a large, native, herbaceous perennial that grows to about 6 feet tall every year from the ground up. It blooms in the late fall, making it one of the last perennials to bloom before frost. The large plants covered with clusters of bright yellow flowers are striking in a perennial border or naturalistic meadow garden.

Swamp sunflower can live in a variety of soil moisture conditions. It tolerates both wet soils and the salt in coastal areas. It prefers sunny locations, and can often be found growing in roadside ditches in the south. It will gradually spread, but stays in a clump, so you don’t have to worry about it taking over your garden.

Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly

The leaves of swamp sunflower can serve as a host for the Silvery Checkerspot butterfly and others. By attracting butterflies and caterpillars, it offers a food source for many species of birds, including waxwings, orioles, thrushes, and cardinals. It also provides nectar for native bees and other pollinators.

Maintenance is simple for swamp sunflower. The plants can be cut back in the fall once the stems turn brown, or left through the winter in a more naturalistic setting. In the spring when the new leaves emerge, the old stalks and leaves can be pruned and removed.

ID Tips

  • The leaves are dark green, long and narrow like needles, and leathery in texture.
  • The flowers are daisy-like and bright yellow, with brownish button-like centers.