Sawtooth Sunflower

How to Grow Sawtooth Sunflower

Photo of Sawtooth sunflower
This is a closeup of some sawtooth sunflowers along the bike path north of the Miami Woods Prairie in the Cook County, Illinois forest preserve. Maximilian and sawtooth sunflowers are so close to identical I can't tell them apart but sawtooth sunflowers bloom a little sooner and the well-bred Maximilians have more flowers.

Sawtooth sunflower is a prairie plant that is pretty common in the Chicago area in the forest preserves and along the roadsides in undeveloped spots. It has large numbers of 3-4 inch sunflowers and blooms in late August to September. When found in groups it makes a very impressive display. In the wild it gets to 3 to 7 feet high but when in captivity and over-watered it gets to 12 feet or more, meaning it needs some sort of support. Bees love the flowers and goldfinches love the seeds. It is a perennial and comes back every year forming many sprouts from the central root. It will bloom the first year when started from seed and its pretty elegant in its first year but it gets sloppier looking after that particularly if it is over-watered. You can also dig up sprouts in the spring and transfer them to a new location. It is not quite as impressive as the well-bred Maximilian sunflower you can get from Park's but it does bloom a bit sooner so having both species around gives you flowers over a longer period.

If you have any questions or comments, write me.

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