Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Cheerful Sunflower, Morning Sun Sunflower

Cheerful Sunflower, Morning Sun Sunflower

Helianthus x laetiflorus (H. scaberrimus)

Full sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; adapts to a wide range of soils including loamy, sandy loam and clay but does best on a soil that is not too rich; neutral to alkaline pH. 4-8 feet height (usually 6-8 feet); blooms in late summer; yellow flowers; spreads rapidly by rhizomes and can become weedy.

Germination Code:  C(30)

Native Region:  Limited to 14 counties scattered across the state

One of the largest and showiest of all the native sunflowers. Tall, spreading, bushy plant with deep yellow blooms that can be 4-5 inches across. May require some support, especially if given fertilizer and extra moisture. Easy to grow. It is a naturally occurring hybrid of two other native species of sunflower – H. pauciflorus and H. tuberosus.  Attracts many bees and butterflies.

Most plants available commercially are the cultivar ‘Lemon Queen’. It has soft, clear, lemon yellow flowers, is extra floriferous, has a slightly smaller stature, and is slightly less aggressive. It still retains the high wildlife benefits of the species.

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2 responses to “Cheerful Sunflower, Morning Sun Sunflower

  1. joystewart March 2, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I was curious to know the origin of ‘Lemon Queen’ and asked my horticulturist friend to see if he could trace it down. He found that the origin is a bit unclear but it probably originated as a natural hybrid somewhere in the midwest portion of the U.S. From what I read, this is an excellent cultivar, being able to tolerate very dry conditions once established and stands firm in windy conditions provided you haven’t given it fertilizer and extra water. It blooms for several months and attracts lots of bees and butterflies. There is also an annual sunflower named ‘Lemon Queen’ so be sure you are buying the perennial version.

    • joystewart August 5, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      This is a follow-up comment. I bought an entire flat of the ‘Lemon Queen’ and am very disappointed. This is a hard plant to grow, especially considering the fact that it is a sunflower! Most of mine are dead in spite of a good growing season. I have only 2 left alive, and they are small and spindly although they are blooming. I can only guess that they need more than 6 hours of sun a day and they need lots of babying to get started. People who took plants that I gave away have had a similar experience. Be sure to post a comment if you try them and want to report how they did.

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