Swamp Sunflower



Botanical Name:  Helianthus angustifolius

Common Name:  Swamp Sunflower, Narrow Leaf Sunflower, Narrow-Leaved Coreopsis, Sunflower

Description:  Swamp sunflower is a Florida native perennial. It’s a member of the aster family. This large perennial can grow up to 5-8′ tall x 2-4′ wide with showy yellow daisy-like flowers that bloom primarily in October and November, although some flowering can occur in September and December. The flowers have a profusion of 2-3 inch flowers with 10-20 yellow narrow pointed rays surrounds a purplish-brown disk. It prefers moist to occasionally wet, acidic, sandy to loamy soils. It will also grow in soils that are sandy or loamy mixed with some clay. Needs supplemental water during very dry times. It likes sun to part sun. It will tolerate part shade but it will flower less. This plant is a favorite of pollinators, songbirds, and native bees.

Use this plant in the back border of a native/pollinator garden, naturalized area, rain gardens, along streams and ponds, or in mass plantings. Give it room to grow and spread and you will have a profusion of late-season flowers when little else is blooming. The clumps fill large spaces well. Sunflowers look stunning installed along a fence line, with the fence providing support and a backdrop for the blooms. Branches near the edge of a clump lean over, draping low walls and hillsides.

Flowers provide nectar to pollinators from late summer until the first frost. This is a larval host plant that supports Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis). Songbirds, ruffed grouse, quail, mourning doves, and small mammals are attracted to seeds so leave standing dead flowers into the winter as natural bird feeders. Members of the genus Helianthus support the following specialized bees: Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) accepta, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) aliciae, Andrena (Callandrena s.l.) helianthi, Melissodes (Eumelissodes) agilis, Dieunomia (Dieunomia) heteropoda, Megachile (Sayapis) pugnata, and Paranthidium (Paranthidium) jugatorium.

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.

This plant in 1-gallon containers is 8-15″ tall.

Plant Lore:  The Narrow Leaf Sunflower was selected as the 2007 North Carolina Wildflower of the Year.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 10

Additional information

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