Mexican Sunflower cuttings for sale

Mexican Sunflower is one of the first couple of biomass producing plants that we introduced in our farm when we started farming. The other being Glyiricidia – more about that in a later post. Adding biomass to the soil quickly is the best way to kickstart soil health regeneration. The reason for this that once soil is covered and moist, a lot of beneficial fungi, bacteria, termites, earthworms amongst other species like to thrive. While introducing native species is the best way to get this started, using a foreign tropical species is also a good idea if it isn’t invasive, if there are many more pros than cons. Propagating a fast growing species like Mexican Sunflower might be one of the many ways to accelerate carbon sequestration and battle climate change.

Why choose Mexican Sunflower for your farm / garden?

Mexican Sunflower is grown in the roadsides, outside homes and temples as a ornamental plant. We found a few cuttings near the farm by the roadside and we have propagated across the farm over the last few years. They are now found everywhere : coconut grove, banana and papaya circles, vegetable beds, near trees etc. The leaves breakdown very quickly in the soil. But the cuttings are vigorous and if left chopped on the groune near good irrigation, it will take root. That is why it has a tendency to be a little invasive. Because it is easy to uproot, the invasiveness is easy to control.

Mexican Sunflower grows fast with moderate irrigation like drip and sprinkler even in the poorest of soils. It can also be planted on the edges of vegetable beds which are flood irrigated. It is very similar to Mexican Tree Spinach in its looks and behaviour. While mexican sunflower leaves are known to be edible, we haven’t tried it out yet because it is supposedly bitter and has an acquired taste.

The biggest advantage of Mexican Sunflower vis-a-vis its other Central American counterparts of Glyricidia, Subabul, Mexican Tree Spinach is that it flowers very quickly after establishing. The flowers are yellow and bright. So, it is great for inviting pollinators such as bees and other insects: domesticated ones as well as wild ones. We have seen the domesticated Indian Honeybee and wild Carpenter bee foraging for nectar and maybe even water around the flowers quite often.

When not to choose Mexican Sunflower?

Most of the biomass producing plants are from the Fabaceae family : belonging to the legume / pulses family. Both Mexican Sunflower ane Mexican Tree Spinach are not leguminous. So, they don’t fix nitrogen in the soil. The botanical name of Mexican Sunflower is Tithonia Diversifolia.

How to Chop and Drop

Those who choose this species for chop & drop, please wear full shirts and pants while working with the plant. It may cause itchy reaction in some people. You can use a machete / அரிவாள் to chop. If we get along well with the species i.e. you don’t feel itching sensation, you can chop by hands and drop by using knees to break the tall stems.

Mulching a mango tree with mexican sunflower. Adding to diversity of mulch : Vettiver shavings and palmyra leaves

Unlike the Common Sunflower from which we get oilseed and oil, the Mexican Sunflower doesn’t trace the sun in the sky. The Mexican version only resembles the sun. Hence, the name, i guess.

Organic Farmers / Natural Farmers / Homesteaders / Home-gardeners / Urban Gardeners / Permaculturists : For those of you who want to introduce this fast growing species in your farm, the link to our store is below.

How to plant

One foot long cuttings need to be planted in the soil. The planting direction will be indicated on the outside of the carton. In totally there be typically 4-6 nodes on the cuttings we ship. The cutting needs to be planted in such a way that half of the nodes are inside the soil and the other half are above the soil. If the number of nodes are odd, place for nodes below the soil. The cutting needs to be planted in 45 degree angle for best results. One of the nodes above the soil need to be facing upwards for the first leaves to shoot up. Please reach out to us in case you want to talk to us about propagating this species.

We first encountered Mexican Sunflower when Noushadya and I were volunteering at Solitude Farm and Organic Kitchen as well aa AuroOrchard in Auroville. It was used for mulching and composting. There has been no looking back ever since.



M : 7718871501

2 rows of Mexican sunflower planted 4 months back

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