We highly recommend adding tithonia to any garden space or habitat. Here’s why:
- It’s a Swallowtail and Monarch butterfly magnet
- Hummingbirds love it
- Goldfinches love it (they eat the seeds)
- Bees love it
- Easy to grow and care for
It can grow HUGE. Best to plant it in an area where it can fully spread out and reach its potential. We have had a few plants over the years surpass 6 feet tall and were close to 9 feet.
Our first year growing them multiple stems cracked and fell over after a heavy thunderstorm. The plant didn’t care! It kept growing despite numerous injuries. It flowered continuously until a killing frost in late October. The only negative thing is that deer like to eat it so if you grow it make sure to put a protective cage around it or in a deer-proof area.
The flowers are a favorite of Swallowtails, Monarchs, and Cloudless Sulphurs. In 2016 our habitat set a county record when a Giant Swallowtail stopped by to forage on the tithonia. The flowers are popular with Monarchs in late September and early October as they begin to migrate to Mexico.
We’ve also noticed that the seeds of tithonia attract a lot of American Goldfinches. They are always welcome in the yard because they are strict vegetarians. Caterpillars are safe from being eaten by them.