Helianthus 'Limelight'



Common name/s ?

Sunflower 'Lemon Queen' and sunflower 'Limelight'

Skill rating



North and South America.

Type of plant ?

Deciduous, herbaceous perennial.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

To 2m height and 1.2m spread.

Growth rate ?

Fast, will reach full height in 1 to 2 years.

Shape it grows into

Tall, leaf bearing stems in a clump.

Season/s of interest

Flowers late summer (August to September).

Where to grow it

Happiest in full sun.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Prefers neutral to alkaline soil of any type so long as it isn’t too wet. Can be planted in exposed as well as sheltered spots, but will require more support if exposed.

Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'


Tall stems are covered in mid to dark green, deciduous, leaves and topped with multiple, free flowering flower heads. The flowers have small, dark yellow centres surrounded by lighter yellow ray petals.

What to use it for

Great for late summer colour in beds and borders and wildflower gardens. It’s also useful for flower arranging.

How to look after it

Once growth starts support the plant (eg with stakes) to protect the tall stems from snapping in the breeze.

Benefits from occasional division to keep it vigorous.

How to prune it

Cut back spent stems after flowering.

For a more compact plant, potentially with more flowers, it can be given the ‘Chelsea Chop’ in May.

How to propagate it

Divide in spring, the new plants should flower the same year. Alternatively, sow seeds in spring at 15°C, cultivars are unlikely to come true from collected seeds. The seeds should germinate within 10 days and you should have fully flowering plants in 2 to 3 years. Basal stem cuttings can also be taken in late spring and rooted at 15°C, they may flower the same year or the subsequent year.

Common problems

Helianthus plants can be prone to attack by slugs and snails. They are susceptible to grey mould, helianthus rust and sclerotinia disease.

Other useful information?

Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’ has been given the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS.