Bright and cheerful Bolander’s sunflower looks so familiar due to its sunflower appearance, yet it is a very rare plant in southern Oregon with limited populations in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties. Just over the border, however, in northern California, Bolander’s sunflower has a secure and abundant population. It can be seen growing along roadsides on the Klamath River and in the Scott River Valley, as well as further south in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Bolander’s sunflower is also called serpentine sunflower due to its tendency to grow on serpentine soil, although it can be found on many different soil types. On harsh soils Bolander’s sunflower will stay short and squat, sometimes less than 3′ tall; however, in the irrigated garden setting with deep soil it can grow over 5′ tall and bloom for a couple months in mid summer to early fall. The plant takes on an upright, branching form. The flower cluster holds one or more flower heads and each plant may have many flower clusters. As with most sunflowers, Bolander’s sunflower prefers full sun and average water, but it is also very drought tolerant, it just won’t grow as tall on dry sites. In the wild it can be found growing in harsh locations with serpentine, clay or rocky soil in foothill woodlands, chaparral, pine forests, and near moist locations or riparian areas. The genus Helianthus is a Greek word: Helios means “sun” and anthos means “flower.” The flowers are highly attractive to native bumble bees. These seeds are grown in seed increase beds.
Helianthus bolanderi seed packets contain 1/4 teaspoon of seed.
Seed Germination Instructions
No pretreatment necessary. Sow seeds outside in fall to early spring, or start in a greenhouse in the spring. Germination may be improved with 30 days cold-moist stratification.