Tithonia, or Mexican Sunflower
Better known as the “Mexican Sunflower,” titonia is one of the most monumental flyers. Large, stately, spectacular, she is a full-fledged soloist and brings bright and catchy accents to the design of the garden. Outwardly, titonia seems more like a perennial relative of garden stars from among the basket beauties than a simple flyer. But it does not tolerate frost at all and in the middle lane it is grown exclusively as an annual. It is simple to grow this plant, and the minimum care is fully compensated by its talents. Tithonia is an airman who can become one of the most versatile seasonal design tools.
Fiery character of bright titonia
Heat-loving and impressive, titonia is rarely found in our gardens undeservedly. This flyer boasts a larger size, stunningly beautiful greenery and a majestic silhouette. And more than justify any efforts to grow seedlings. This is a versatile and hardy plant, which even beginner growers can grow.
To the genus Titonius (Tithonia) only a few species of plants are combined. Their name was received in honor of the Trojan king Titon, who was patronized by the goddess of the morning dawn. All of them are quite attractive, but the only look that has won the love of gardeners and designers around the world is Tithonia rotundifolia (Tithonia rotundifolia), for the amazingly spectacular flowering and greenery, it was not in vain that it received the name of the beautiful titonia.
Titonies, or Mexican sunflowers, are large annuals that form lush and sparse bushes about 1 meter or more high. At the same time, the crown in titonia is attractive even at the base of the bush. The shoots are reddish, but they are almost invisible under the greenery. Lush foliage, bright, saturated, always seeming fresh and attractive, creates an amazingly beautiful background for spectacular flowering. The leaves of the titonia are located next to each other, on beautiful petioles, depending on the variety, trilobate-cordate, more or less large. The underside of the greenery is covered with beautiful silk pubescence.
Mexican sunflower blooms really tirelessly. Before the onset of severe frosts, titonium constantly releases new large baskets of inflorescences. In titonia, they simultaneously bloom both at the tops of the peduncles and in the axils of the leaves. True, apart from the type of structure, titony does not unite anything with sunflowers. Her petals are completely different, the inflorescences seem more modern and daring. In diameter, baskets reach 8 cm, and even with the most modest varieties they are limited to “only” 5 cm.
Reed petals are arranged in one row, large, but tubular - small and sit very densely. The shape of the "petal" titonium slightly resembles a dahlia. The color of the tubular petals is only a few tones lighter than the reed ones, so the whole flower seems even brighter. The aroma of titonia can be caught only at close range, but it is very pleasant and gentle. Peduncles are massive and strong, very high.
The flowering of titonia begins only in July, while the Mexican most often blooms in the middle lane only at the end of the month. But her beauty and indefatigability fully compensate for such a delay. Tithonia blooms literally until the frost itself, one of the last leaves the garden scene.
The palette of tithonia colors is limited to a yellow-orange-red gamut. The brightest, acrylic shades with pure catchy tones perfectly emphasize the fresh color of greens and attract attention even from afar.
The best varieties of Mexican sunflower:
- выше Torch ’with bright orange, dark inflorescences only slightly above 1 meter;
- ‘Yellow Torch’ variety with a growth of about 1.2 m and fiery yellow inflorescences;
- dwarf variety ‘Fiesta del Sol’ with fiery orange inflorescences 40-50 cm high;
- one of the lowest titoniums of the ‘Goldfinger’ variety with a warmer orange color.
Titonia in garden design is used as:
- bright soloist on the background of lawns and groundcover;
- decorations of the front garden and flower beds at recreation areas;
- a soloist on flower beds and a high emphasis on flower beds from summer books;
- a masker and a lush plant to decorate the base of fences and walls, in flower beds, ribbons and high borders;
- plants for masking compost pits, household objects, hatches;
- a bright accent in the design of rabatok and mini-flower beds;
- major soloist in mixed groups;
- cultures for filling voids and correcting the pattern of flower beds;
- cutting crop;
- a magnet for butterflies;
- spectacular container and pot plants to decorate the terrace, balconies, recreation areas.
The best partners of titonia: lupine, verbena, perovskia, nyvyanik, rudbeckia, kohiya, marigolds, zinnia, sage
Conditions comfortable for mexican titonia
Like all Mexican plants, titonia is extremely photophilous. It can be planted only in bright sunny areas. This plant is not afraid of the southern locations, and the hottest environment. Moreover, it is in the midst of the heat, in the sun itself, titonium is usually the most attractive.
Perhaps the only drawback of titonia is its dislike of drafts. This beauty cannot be planted in unprotected areas and in windy places, she needs stable and “quiet” areas. But since titonium is most often used as decoration of walls and fences, in buildings, there is no need to worry about such moodiness.
The titonia has one more peculiarity: this summer book does not tolerate too cold and rainy summers. It grows poorly, develops slowly and hardly blooms. But you won’t be able to compensate for the vagaries of the weather in bad years, so be prepared for disappointment if the weather is not favorable for you.
Pay attention to the soil. If you want to achieve more abundant flowering, try to provide the highest quality soil with titonia - not only drained and loose, but also nutritious. Stagnant moisture for this plant is unacceptable, as well as a heavy soil texture. To achieve maximum fertility, the soil before planting is better to improve.
Features of landing titonia
Titonies are large and sparse plants. In order for lush bushes to develop better, they need to provide space and freedom. When planting seedlings, you should observe a distance to neighboring plants of about 60 cm or a little more.
Before planting in the soil at the site of growing titonium, compost and a standard portion of full mineral fertilizers are necessarily added. Dig the soil twice, fluff it. Seedlings are planted in simple individual pits, and if necessary, improve drainage - lay a drainage layer at the bottom. For titonia, it is very important that plants grow with the usual level of penetration.
Features of caring for a Mexican sunflower
Titony will need watering to support such powerful foliage and achieve maximum size. They should be restrained, only responsive to the weather, but not regular. If there is no rain, carry out procedures to maintain a stable level of humidity, but do not water the titonia too often. During periods of prolonged drought, watering is sufficient to carry out weekly, deeply soaking the soil.
Since titonia is planted in very fertile soil, it will not need top dressing. Only if you have incorrectly selected the soil, planted the titonium in sparse soil, then for the plant you need to plan three additional dressings - a month after planting the seedlings, at the stage of budding and at the beginning of flowering.
In order to stabilize moisture and reduce the need for irrigation during drought, take care of mulching the soil. For titonia, it is best to use humus or compost. The mulch layer should be 5-7 cm.
If the titoniums reach more than a meter high or you planted them on a windy platform, the shoots can lie down and bend. If there are signs of disturbance in the shape of the bush, the titonia should be tied up, providing support for the highest shoots of the plant or the entire bush in a circular manner.
Pruning of a titonia will not be necessary, pinching is not very effective: this flyer is naturally beautiful and magnificent in the form of a bush, and for the attractiveness of a titonia only the correct conditions are needed. But to remove the fading baskets of inflorescences to maintain abundance of flowering until the frosts you need to regularly.
Growing titonia from seeds
Mexican sunflower can be propagated in only one way - sowing seeds for seedlings. Due to the long growing season, titony cannot be sown directly in the soil in the middle band and to the north.
Titonia seeds for seedlings need to be planted in April, after soaking the seeds for a day. Germination should be carried out in a fertile and loose substrate, without deepening the seeds, but just pressing them into the ground and slightly covering with a sifted thin layer of the substrate. After sowing titonia, it is necessary to carry out abundant watering, set the containers to light and heat. Before releasing 3-4 leaves, watering should be regular, frequent, they must be carried out with warm water. After growing up, the plants are covered and grown as ordinary seedlings of any pilots. Young titonia can be transferred to the soil only in June, or in extreme cases, at the end of May.
In the middle zone, titonium is recommended to be sown not in containers, but in greenhouses with semi-warm conditions in April or even March, as well as greenhouses. Such seedlings will be much stronger. Diving seedlings is carried out in pots and containers, but the initial cultivation in the soil can achieve more amazing results.
Diseases and pests of titonia
Tithonia is a fairly stable summer. She is threatened only by slugs, which in wet weather especially love to regale themselves with its colorful leaves, aphids and rot. However, for the appearance of the last problem, it is still necessary to create conditions with really excess soil moisture. With constant prolonged rains on this plant, baskets of inflorescences can partially rot. If signs of rot on the flowers are noticed, then they must be cut off despite the beauty immediately, because the disease will quickly spread to the shoots, destroying the entire plant.