Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wildflower Wednesday: Helianthus porteri

September is our transition from summer into fall here in Northeast Georgia, and with the cooler morning temperatures and cheery afternoons, gardening is most pleasant, making it my favorite garden season. Some summer flowers are still hanging on but as they fade fall flowers step in with gorgeous color.

Bright yellow blooms are definitely a trend in our autumn garden and this beauty, Stone Mountain Daisy (Helianthus porteri) is a stunner.


Also known as Confederate Daisy, this wildflower grows in granite outcrops within a 60 mile radius of our most infamous granite outcrop, Stone Mountain. This glorious flower is in bloom this month and is celebrated at the Yellow Daisy Festival, held every September at Stone Mountain, an arts & crafts event that just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

typical granite outcrop habitat (Thompson Mill Arboretum) where Helianthus porteri grows

Discovered in 1846, this reseeding annual will grow anywhere on Piedmont granite outcrops, where there is sufficient soil (not much!) and water. Peaking out from rock crevices and small cracks, providing an explosion of color, this daisy dances in delight. 


Bees and small butterflies are often found visiting, drinking nectar from the blooms. The flower heads are 1-2" wide and have 7-8 yellow ray flowers and a central disk of tiny, yellow flowers. After pollination, seeds will set later in the fall and germinate as early as February.


In our garden we planted it at the edge of our driveway, welcoming all those who drive by. Surrounded by a few boulders and in direct sunlight, it feels right at home.

street view toward our driveway
This annual even stood up spectacularly when Tropical Storm Irma hit our area. This photo was taken a few days after the storm, during our garden clean-up.


Helianthus porteri, is only found growing in four southeastern states (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina) but this spectacular Georgia wildflower is worth sharing. I'm joining Clay and Limestone, for Wildflower Wednesday, a once a month celebration of our native flora.

14 comments:

  1. Growing on granite; that street view from your drive is gorgeous. Very glad you shared this beauty and that it's a WW post. xo

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    1. Thanks Gail! I'm glad I got my post together in time to participate! I love this meme.

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  2. Just gorgeous! Do you let it self-seed or do you start new plants each year?

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    1. I typically let the flowers in my garden self-seed because I leave seeds for birds to eat and whatever is left over or falls out while they are feasting grows where it will. I have been known to dig up seedlings and relocate them to other areas of the garden. I think I will collect some seeds from this daisy this year because I would like to get it established in a dry sunny area of our garden and it will probably establish better from seed than a transplant.

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  3. Replies
    1. It really is. And thank goodness for those tough plants because by the time fall gets around in my neck of the woods the garden is usually dry and tired.

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  4. Beautiful!
    Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

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  5. That's a beauty! Definitely worth sharing, and I'm glad you did! I hope you didn't have too much damage from the hurricane. But it looks like Helianthus porteri held up just fine. I love the photo of the skipper butterfly nectaring on the flower. :)

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    1. Capturing insects on flowers just 'makes' the photo, don't you think? We only had two fallen trees (far from the house) and lots of limbs and sticks. On the bright side, it was a good way to get all those dead limbs that were hanging too high to reach in the trees cleaned out.

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  6. How unique! I loved it but of course I am partial to anything Southern.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Jeannie and introduce me to your blog! I'm a fan!

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  7. Wow Karin this is one I have never seen....really beautiful how it mounds with all those flowers....quite different in appearance from my native helianthus. And what a hardy bloomer growing from granite outcroppings.

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    1. It grows more prolifically in my garden than on the granite outcrops simply because it has space to roam and probably more water. But I've seen this plant cover areas on the outcrops making it a sea of yellow. Its definitely a survivor!

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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