With its seemingly endless cheerful yellow flowers, abundant seeds beloved of Lesser Goldfinches, long blooming period and virtually no extra water required once it gets going, Helianthus annuus is an L.A. native powerhouse.
Technically an annual, Sunflower will sometimes survive the summer and keep blooming like crazy through the fall and winter. This wildflower can grow up to 12-feet tall under the right conditions, but most often it forms an open-form, midsize bush, taller than it is wide.
Even once it’s spent, the dry stalks provide perches for birds as they happily feast on its seeds throughout the summer. (It’s essentially a living bird-feeder.) Our original “mother seed” came from a vacant, hillside lot on Figueroa Avenue in Eagle Rock, so it’s a hyper-local strain, perfectly adapted to our climate.