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Maximilian Sunflower

Helianthus maximilianii

Great wildlife plant with large, nutritious seeds



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Helianthus maximiliani, commonly called Maximilian sunflower, is native to the Great Plains and former tall grass prairie regions of central North America. It is a perennial forb (wildflower).

Wildlife notes

The flowerheads of this species probably attract many of the same insects as other sunflowers, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, butterflies and skippers, and beetles. These insects seek nectar or pollen.  Other insects feed destructively on the foliage and other parts of sunflowers. Among vertebrate animals, the seeds of sunflowers are an attractive source of food for various upland gamebirds and songbirds. The Franklin Ground Squirrel and Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel also eat the seeds of these plants, while the Plains Pocket Gopher feeds on their roots. The foliage of young plants may be eaten by rabbits and groundhogs.

Forage notes

This plant has a fair to good palatability rating for livestock.

Landscaping notes

Best grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including poor sandy soils, humusy loams and clays. Tolerates dry soils and drought. Easily grown from seed and may self-seed in the garden. This plant appears to have few problems with pests or foliar disease. It can grow tall and spread aggressively and may flop over while in bloom if it is grown in moist rich soil.

Sunny borders, wild or native plant gardens, cottage gardens, naturalized areas, meadows or prairies.

Restoration notes

Habitats include rocky upland prairies, loess hill prairies, ledges of rocky cliffs, areas along railroads and roadsides, and waste ground. This plant is more common in states that lie west of the Mississippi River.

This plant is commonly used in the following mixes: Butterfly & Hummingbird Mix,

Additional information

Weight N/A

Packet, Ounce, Pound


Full Sun

Seeding Rate

4 bulk lbs/acre

Height Range

49 – 72", > 72"



Bloom Month

Aug, Sep



Cattle Palatability

Good, Fair

# seeds/pkt


Packet coverage area

5 sq. ft

Life Cycle


What is PLS?

Pure Live Seed (PLS) is the portion of good viable seed per pound. It is a measure of the seed that is alive and able to sprout into plants. This product is sold by PLS ounce/pound. To provide one ounce/pound of viable seed, you will receive more than one ounce/pound of product. Read more about PLS here.