Abnormally large tithonia

Q: I plant tithonia every year for the butterflies and pollinators. This year in one group of three Mexican sunflowers, the middle sunflower grew to twelve feet tall while the ones on either side grew their normal height of six feet. How can one seed pack from an online nursery produce such a tall sunflower?

A: My guess is the seed seller bought their seed from a wholesale seed grower. Growers are usually pretty good about keeping their seeds genetically pure but sometimes a bit of foreign pollen gets blown into their field. The result is that plant’s seed are different from all the rest. Enjoy your abnormal plant!

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