Dune Sunflower (Helianthus debilis)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Dune Sunflower
Give a thumbs up Beach Sunflower
Give a thumbs up Cucumberleaf Sunflower
Give a thumbs up Cucumber-Leaf Sunflower

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 8b -9.4 °C (15 °F) to -6.7 °C (20 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant Height: 24 - 30 inches
Plant Spread: 4 - 6'
Leaves: Evergreen
Other: the leaves & stems have a punjent piney type scent when disturbed
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Size: 2"-3"
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Spring
Late spring or early summer
Summer
Late summer or early fall
Fall
Late fall or early winter
Winter
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Beach Front
Xeriscapic
Uses: Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Groundcover
Will Naturalize
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Butterflies
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Other info: will freely self sow
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Layering
Other: it roots wher it touches the ground -- can be invasive
Containers: Not suitable for containers

Plant growing in natural habitat of the beach dunes

This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
Posted by plantladylin (Sebastian, Florida - Zone 10a) on Aug 27, 2014 12:07 PM

Helianthus debilis, the Beach Sunflower or Dune Sunflower (the name I've always known it by), is a wonderful perennial groundcover here in my area. We see this sunflower growing alongside coastal highway A1A, as well as trailing along the sand dunes on the beach and growing in residential gardens. It acts as a stabilizer of sand dunes and helps prevent beach erosion. The Dune Sunflower is native to the United States and can be found along both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, where it tolerates a fair amount of salt spray. The name debilis in latin means weak, lame, or debilitated, which describes this plant's tendency to crawl along the ground. It's an extremely drought-tolerant plant, and the blooms attract butterflies.

I planted a couple of small ones in my garden in early April this year and they have since spread and multiplied tremendously, growing out over the edge of the bed and trying to trail through the lawn. This suits me fine, but unfortunately, my husband uses the string trimmer and whacks them back to the edge of the bed. I've read that Dune Sunflower may last only one season in climates where freezes occur, but even though we get occasional short freezes here, it always seems to survive and it's one of my favorite groundcovers because it blooms nearly year round.

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