Over sixty species of Helianthus
are native to North and South America. The
best known is the big annual sunflower that gives us commercial sunflower seeds
and sunflower oil. Jerusalem artichoke is another relative with some commercial
value. Several Florida
native species are gaining popularity as garden plants. The dune sunflower is
native to the beaches of Florida
and the southeastern U.S.
It is a creeping perennial of well-drained soils. It is tolerant of salt spray.
Light: full sun
Water: very drought tolerant
Soil: well-drained soil is essential, no other special requirements
In mild winters, beach sunflower is evergreen and has yellow
flowers all year. In the low 20’s F, it may die to the ground and resprout the
following year. If temperatures drop into the teens F, it must regenerate from
the previous year’s seeds.