Maximilian Sunflower

Scientific Name: Helianthus maximiliani

Light: Full sun

Zone: 4 to 9

Height:  3 to 10 feet

Width: 2 to 4 feet

Flowers:  August to September; Yellow rays with darker yellow center disk

Fruit/Seed: nutlet, fall

Fall Color:

Butterflies:  attracts

Birds: Maximilian sunflower provides cover that pheasants seek out for nesting.  It also provides winter cover and its seeds are an important winter food for many birds.


Deer Resistant:  No

Insects/Pollinators:  Attracts bees and beneficial insects such as lacewings, lady beetles, syrphid flies and parasitic wasps.

Native: No.  Native to the Great Plains.

Idea Garden:

Propagation:  Germination instructions vary greatly depending on the source.  We will update this information after we have done some tests.  Listed below are three different germination methods:

  1. Sow about April 1st in Carroll County.  Transplant into cell packs or individual containers when the first true leaves appear.  Harden off and transplant out after the last frost.  You may also direct seed after Mother’s Day in Carroll County.
  2. Sow at Max. 41ºF, germination irregular, often several months;
  3. Stratify seed for 30 days (start March 1st) before starting indoors about April 1st.



Maximilian Sunflower is a perennial sunflower that is very showy and towers over surrounding plants when in bloom.

Cultivars / Varieties



Helianthus maxiliani – Missouri Botanical Garden

Helianthus maxiliani – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Specialty Cut Flowers by Armitage & Laushman

Helianthus maximiliani by NC State extension

Recommended for Wildlife by

Photo Credits

Matt Lavin, CC BY-SA – 4.0

chipmunk_1, CC BY-SA – 4.0

Matt Lavin, CC BY-SA – 4.0



Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8




Clay, Dry, Loam, Moist

Flower Color


Flower Season

Fall, Summer

Fruit Season

Fall, Winter

Wildlife Value

Beneficial Insects, Food for Birds, Nectar, Nest Sites, Summer Cover, Winter Cover

Notable Features

Cut Flowers, Erosion Control, Hedge

Local Availability



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