Grow Mexican Sunflowers and Attract Monarchs

| January 21, 2015 | 4 Replies

Grow Mexican Sunflowers and attract Monarchs to your garden. Monarch Butterflies are so friendly once they know your garden is a welcome waystation for them.  This male landed on the flower I was holding while taking a picture. I let it go just before I snapped this.

Grow Mexican Sunflower and Attract Monarchs - Male Monarch Butterlfy

Male Monarch Butterfly on Mexican Sunflower

Watch the Late Bloomer episode “Growing Mexican Sunflower” (click through to YouTube for HD resolution) and learn why Mexican Sunflower is such a great flower to grow in your garden. This episode specifically deals with Tithonia rotundifolia, or T. rotundifolia, commonly known as “Torch.” Order seeds here.

Monarchs won’t be the only pollinators who will appear. It’s a favorite of hummingbirds. I also spotted the beneficial insect Syrphid Fly. What makes a Syrphid Fly (also known as Hoverfly) a beneficial insect? Its larval form devours aphids!

Grow Mexican Sunflower and Attract Monarchs - Syrphid Fly

Syrphid Fly on Mexican Sunflower

Low maintenance

Deer resistent

With deadheading, blooming lasts for months

Generally disease-free

Drought-tolerant once established

Widely cultivated, will grow in most hardiness zones

Saving seeds is fun!

Though Monarchs are especially attracted to Mexican Sunflower (did you know they can see the color red?), you will also be visited by other butterflies, and bees love the pollen-packed flower centers.

Grow Mexican Sunflower and Attract Monarchs - Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Mexican Sunflower

You can get the Monarch butterfly’s attention with Mexican Sunflower, but Monarchs require milkweed for females to lay eggs on, so you need to be growing milkweed nearby to keep them around (grow milkweed native to your area). In the episode you can see the distinguishing feature of males. Males will visit and sup on milkweed blooms but females are the ones contorting their abdomens to lay eggs on the back of milkweed leaves. Learn more about Mexican Sunflower and Monarchs here. And learn more about planting here.

I hope you enjoy the episode and please subscribe and leave a comment, and most importantly, share “Late Bloomer” with friends.

Mexican Sunflower "Torch" Seeds

Click photo to order Mexican Sunflower “Torch” Seeds

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Category: Beneficials, Curbside Gardening, Flowers, Insects, Late Bloomer Episodes, Monarch Butterfly

Comments (4)

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  1. Angela McEwan says:

    Hi Kaye
    Do you think I could get Mexican sunflower plants@ Home Depot? I would prefer plants so
    I know they will grow.

  2. Hi Kaye , I grew these a few years ago and you have inspired me not only to grow them again but also milkweed and a lot of herbs and flowers . It is almost time to start seeds here in Delaware .I liked how you explained the seed saving .

    • Thank you Sharon! I was just thinking of you 20 minutes ago, because I have to write my next episode, the last of Season 3 and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be about the Creams. I just need to figure out how to introduce the subject because there are no plants now to stand in front of. I want #60 to be a good episode! Thanks so much for writing. Are you going to start your flower seeds in trays?

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