Tithonia rotundifolia
Common Name: Mexican sunflower 
Type: Annual
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Mexico and Central America
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Orange-red with yellow center disk
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil


Warm weather annual that is easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants thrive in summer heat. Plants tolerate poor soils. Avoid rich soils which tend to produce weak-stemmed plants with excess foliage. Purchase new plants in six packs in spring. Plants may also be grown from seed sown directly in the garden at last frost date or, for earlier bloom, started indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Thin plants to at least 2’ apart. Plants appreciate staking or other support. Deadheading spent flowers will prolong bloom period.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tithonia rotundifolia, commonly called Mexican sunflower, is native to Mexico and Central America. It is a vigorous annual that typically grows in a single season to 4-6’ tall. Showy sunflowers (to 3” across) with orange to orange-red rays and orange-yellow disks bloom from mid-summer to fall. Entire or lobed dark green leaves (3-12” long) with hairy undersides are generally ovate to triangular in shape with serrate to crenate margins. Good cut flower. The blooms are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Seeds in spent flower heads are attractive to birds.

Genus named for Tithonus, a young man much loved by Aurora, the dawn-goddess.

Specific epithet means with round leaves.


No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for slugs and snails.


Border backgrounds. Screens.