Monday, July 23, 2012

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia fotundiflora)

Last winter I planted some seed of Mexican Sunflower in my garden near some Jerusalem Artichoke and some Yacon to see if it might do anything. All three of these plants are tall and flowering. I utilize them on the west side of my garden in order to provide afternoon shade for plants such as tomatoes and peppers (both of which have already surrendered to disease). When the Mexican Sunflower first came up I thought it was Yacon because the leaves looked very similar.

The Mexican Sunflower plant does very well in my climate and grows quickly – the plant enjoys the heat much more than the Yacon does. However, this year it has really taken a beating from the spider mites.

The Mexican Sunflower plant can grow quite tall

Spider mites are a plant-eating mite that can attack many plants in the garden. With their webbing and small size, spider mites are often difficult to completely get rid of. I also have some beneficial insects that live in the same area, so I am wary to do too much to try to kill everything off.

Spider Mites can cause problems on the Mexican Sunflower

This is the first non-vegetable plant that I have grown in the last few years. It is nice to pick some Mexican Sunflower and Jerusalem Artichoke flowers for my wife. She enjoys the colors in our kitchen.

Though Flowers do not feed the body, they definitely liven one's spirits


6 comments:

  1. These are beautiful and remind me of a cross between a marigold and a sunflower or zinnia...

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the reply, Donna. I am a fan of both marigold and sunflower. These seem to take the heat better than most sunflowers.

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  2. I love Mexican Sunflowers and grow them every year from seed. They're good bee attractors. Mine are doing pretty good, although they need some deadheading. lol Some of my marigolds have spider mites; thankfully the Tithonia plants don't.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, Charlie B. I was suprised to see the spider mites go so far up on the Mexican Sunflower plant. I suppose that is the risk you take when you leave your garden for several weeks in the summer time. (=

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  3. I would recommend Cinnamon Essential Oil from doTERRA or Peppermint...Basil is also good and bugs don't like it.
    This will not affect the plants but it will get rid of the spider mites.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the suggestion. I'll see what I can do.

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