Paleleaf woodland sunflower

Helianthus strumosus L.

Family: Asteraceae (aster)

  • Bloom Period:
    • Late,
    • Mid-Season,
  • Growth Cycle:
    • Perennial,
  • Growth Habit:
    • Forbs/Herbs,
  • Insect Type Attracted:
    • Natural Enemy,
    • Pollinator,
  • Light:
    • Full,
    • Partial,
  • Region:
    • Northern Lower Peninsula,
    • Southern Lower Peninsula,
    • Upper Peninsula
  • Soil Moisture:
    • Medium,
  • Height:
    • 2-6ft

Natural enemies attracted

Highly attractive: Chalcidoidea.

Moderately attractive: Cantharidae, Orius insidiosus, and Thomisidae.

Mildly attractive: Bombyliidae, Plagiognathus politus, Coccinellidae and Braconidae.

Pollinators attracted

Moderately attractive: bees including Andrenid bees, sweat bees, digger bees, and bumble bees.

Pests attracted

Moderately attractive: leaf beetles.

Mildly attractive: lygus bugs, thrips and leafhoppers.

Plant notes

Bright yellow sunflowers about 4 inches wide bloom on plants that grow 3-6 ft tall. Plants filled in readily in the second year of growth, and bloomed throughout August into early September. This species was the ninth most attractive to natural enemies in the late season, with three times more natural enemies than the grass control.


This sunflower will grow in full to partial sun and mid-range soil moisture, neither very wet nor very dry. It occurs naturally in a diverse range of habitats, including dry sandy ground such as oak woods and along river banks, in fields, roadsides, clearings and prairies.

Cultivation and management

This plant can be grown from seed (It flowers in the third year.) or plug material (flowers in second year). This species suckers year by year to fill in large areas, and may become weedy in perennial cropping systems. Seeds attract birds.