Growing the Giant Helianthus grosseserratus – Sawtooth Sunflower

Helianthus grosseserratus, commonly known as the Sawtooth Sunflower, is an exciting and fun addition to any garden. This native North American perennial boasts striking features, including tall, upright stems adorned with bright yellow, daisy-like flowers.

What sets it apart is its distinctive sawtooth-edged leaves, which add an intriguing texture to the garden. This sunflower species is a resilient and adaptable plant, thriving in a wide range of soil types and moisture levels.

Two yellow flowers with a bee on them. Helianthus grosseserratus
Helianthus grosseserratus – sawtooth sunflower by Dan Mullen.

Native to North America, it grows naturally in prairies, meadows, and along stream banks. Growing Sawtooth Sunflowers in your garden not only adds vibrant color and unique foliage but also attracts pollinators like butterflies and bees. Additionally, and most notably – this sunflower variety is known for its potential to reach impressive heights, making it a focal point in gardens and a source of fascination for both young and experienced gardeners.

In my own garden – It came as an extra to a plant I bought from my local garden club. Thankfully I had planted it at the back of the bed. It was huge and such an unexpected delight that I have purposely grown ever since.

Yellow flowers on the side of the road. Helianthus grosseserratus sawtooth sunflower
A field image of Helianthus grosseserratus (Sawtooth Sunflower) at the James Woodworth Prairie Preserve image by Frank Mayfield

These beauties are not for the small garden.  They can reach heights of 8′ and can be aggressive but are perfectly planted in large swathes in a country garden.  Provide them with the full sun and moist, fertile, loamy soil, and you will easily have quite a garden focal point.

Good Plant Options for Pairing with Helianthus grosseserratus – Sawtooth Sunflower:

  1. Aster spp. (Asters) – Asters, with their daisy-like flowers in various colors, pair well with the yellow blooms of Sawtooth Sunflowers, creating a vibrant late-summer display.
  2. Solidago spp. (Goldenrod) – Goldenrods provide a stunning contrast with their golden-yellow plumes, creating a harmonious color palette alongside Sawtooth Sunflowers.
  3. Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) – The purple-pink flowers of Purple Coneflower add a pop of color to the garden and attract pollinators, complementing the sunflower’s yellow blooms.
  4. Monarda didyma (Bee Balm) – Bee Balm’s red, pink, or lavender blooms create a visually striking combination when planted alongside Sawtooth Sunflowers. They also attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
  5. Rudbeckia spp. (Black-Eyed Susan) – The cheerful yellow flowers of Black-Eyed Susans pair perfectly with Sawtooth Sunflowers, offering a burst of color and attracting pollinators.

These plant combinations not only enhance the visual appeal of the garden but also provide a welcoming habitat for pollinators, making it a vibrant and ecologically friendly landscape.

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