If You Plant Just One Annual for Pollinators …
Pollinators love Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia).
I like to squeeze a few of these annuals into my perennial beds every year. I do it for the brilliant orange flowers, in part.
But I also do it because the Monarch butterflies love it.
Swallowtails and all kinds of other butterflies also love it.
And bees love it.
Even Hummingbirds love it.
It’s a big, sprawling plant that grows 6-7 feet tall in our garden. It likes sun and hot weather.
In our garden at least, it’s not a plant that creates dense bursts of color. Rather, it provides a scattering of bright orange polka dots in the border. This year we planted four Mexican Sunflowers: three in the Driveway Border, and one in the Herb Bed.
One drawback to Mexican Sunflowers is that the branches have a tendency to break off of the main stem. For this reason I like to plant it with sturdy neighbors capable of providing support, like the Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) above. Either that or I stake it, securing the main stems with twine.
I first planted Mexican Sunflower almost by accident, when I bought some young plants out of curiosity at Anton’s, our neighborhood plant nursery. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
If you already grow Mexican Sunflower, you know what a great plant it is. If you don’t and you have a sunny spot, give yourself and the pollinators a favor and try it.
That’s all for now.