Nodding Onion Gardens

Native Plant Nursery

Where Wildflowers Grow

Columbia Station, Ohio, USA


Helianthus mollis - Downy Sunflower

Ohio Native Plant - Natural Range

Helianthus mollis

Visit the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website to view the natural range of Downy Sunflower.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources list this plant as Threatened in the State of Ohio
Helianthus mollis, Downy Sunflower
Downy Sunflower - © Roger Dahlin

Wildlife Significance - Perennial Sunflower

Helianthus mollis

Nectar Source - Bees: bumblebees, Miner bees, large Leaf-cutting bees, Cuckoo bees, Green Metallic bees, and other Halictid bees. Occasionally other insects visit this plant including bee flies and butterflies.

Host Plant - For the caterpillars of the butterfly - Silvery Checkerspot and Gorgone Checkerspot

Seed - For birds - Finally after three years I have enough Early Sunflower plants in my yard that there is plenty for me to harvest and share with the birds.

For more details visit the Illionis Wildflower website
Downy sunflower seeds
Cleaning Helianthus mollis Seed

Seed Provenance - 

Nodding Onion Gardens - 2011- present - Prairie Moon Nursery, Winona, MN - 2010

Bees visiting Helianthus mollis
Bees visiting Helianthus mollis

Cultivation Information

Downy Sunflower

Height - 3 to 4 ft
Flower Color - Yellow
Blooms - August - September
Sun - Sun to part sun
Hardy Zone - 4 to 9
Soil - Moist to dry

Family -
 Downy Sunflower - Helianthus mollis
Downy Sunflower Nodding Onion Gardens

Propagation Notes -

Collecting Seed - Songbirds gobble these seeds in a blink of an eye. Use empty onion bags to protect seed. To ensure adequate pollination wait until later in the fall to cover see.

Outside -
Collect seed in fall, plant in a protected flat. If the winter is warm and dry check periodically to be sure seed remains moist.

Refrigerator Cold Storage -
30 days - Small Zip lock plastic bag with a few table spoons of  moistened vermiculite

Seeds Planted
- 2-12-2012

- 2-25-2012 -

Night Temperature
- 61 - 63°F (in house)

Day Temperature
- 64 - 65°F -Under florescent lights

Natural Sunlight -
3-6-12 - Exposed a few hours each day to natural sunlight

Downy Sunflowers
Downy Sunflowers