Maximilian sunflower is another good 'back row' garden candidate. It's a tall plant, and each stem has multiple yellow flowerheads that bloom late in the season. It produces a decent amount of seeds that birds like chickadees and goldfinches are pretty keen on, and can withstand heavy browse once established. Maximilian sunflower tolerates pretty much any soil type as long as it gets regular irrigation, and it does best in full sun.

 

Word of warning: this sunflower spreads via rhizomes, and does a solid job filling in empty spaces with a dense patch of vegetation. It can definitely overrun smaller plants. So give it some space, and maybe let it compete with Canada goldenrod, pearly everlasting, and fireweed. If you have an irrigation ditch, this is a terrific alternative to tansy.

Maximilian sunflower

  • Helianthus maximiliani