Native from Mexico to Central America. Husky, rather coarse plant with velvety green leaves, spectacular gaudy flowers. Grows rapidly to 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide. Blooms from summer to frost, bearing 3- to 4 inches-wide blossoms with orange-scarlet rays and tufted yellow centers. Use taller selections for temporary screens or hedges. All have hollow stems, so cut carefully for bouquets to avoid bending stalks. Sow seed in place in spring, in well-drained soil that's not too rich. Tolerates intense heat and some drought; attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Will self-sow.
Available choices on the smaller side include 2- to 212 feet-tall Arcadian Blend, with gold, orange, and yellow flowers; 212 feet 'Fiesta del Sol', bearing 2- to 3 inches orange flowers earlier in the season than other selections. Taller selections (to 4 feet.) are 'Aztec Sun', bearing apricot-gold blooms; bushy 'Goldfinger', with deep orange flowers; and 'Torch', another bushy grower bearing orange-red to vivid red blooms. 'Yellow Torch' yellow flowers.