Helianthus californicus (California Sunflower)

Scientific Name

Helianthus californicus DC.

Common Names

California Sunflower


Helianthus californicus var. californicus

Scientific Classification

Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Heliantheae
Genus: Helianthus


Color: Golden yellow
Bloom Time:  Summer to fall


Helianthus californicus is an erect perennial herb with a thin, up to 10 feet (3 cm) tall stem. Leaves are lance-shaped, smooth or slightly toothed along the edges, and up to 8 inches (20 cm) long. The inflorescence holds several flower heads. Each head is supported by a base covered in long, pointed phyllaries that bend back as the head ages and develops fruit. The flower head has a fringe of golden yellow ray florets, each up to 1.2 inch (3 cm) long and a center filled with curly yellow and brown disc florets.

Helianthus californicus (California Sunflower)
Photo via berkeley.edu


USDA hardiness zone 11a to 12a: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 55 °F (+12.8 °C).

How to Grow and Care

If you decide to add Sunflowers to your garden, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.

First of all, they are called sunflowers for a reason. They need sun. Make sure that the location you choose for your Sunflowers gets full sun.

Second, you do not need to worry about soil too much. They are not picky about the conditions of the soil, but they are plants. They will do better in better soil.

Third, Sunflower seed shells do contain a substance that is toxic to grass. So, you will need to either harvest the Sunflower heads before the seeds begin to fall out, or you will need to plant your Sunflowers in a location where you do not mind any nearby grass being killed.

Fourth, keep in mind the height of the Sunflower variety you have chosen. A giant, twelve-foot variety will end up acting very much like a small tree and may shade the surrounding flowers. See more at How to Grow and Care for Sunflowers.


It is native to California in the United States and Baja California in Mexico.


Photo Gallery

Subscribe now and be up to date with our latest news and updates.

We participate in the Amazon Services, LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliate sites.