The genus Tithonia in the daisy family (Asteraceae) includes 10-15 species of bushy annuals, perennials and shrubs native to Mexico and Central America that have large, brightly colored daisy-like flowers on thick stems. Mexican sunflower, T. diversifolia, is a vigorous, drought tolerant warm season annual that is easy to grow in the ornamental garden with other common names of red sunflower of just tithonia.
Tithonia plants grow 6-12+ feet tall, with a large central stalk. If you prune them they grow into denser “bushes” In Hawaiʻi these plants grow excellent as attractive privacy barriers. They are also excellent for permaculture applications where chop and drop is preferred.
Sissoo spinach (also called Brazilian spinach, and whose scientific name is Alternanthera sissoo) is a low growing 10-20 inch herb. Culinarily, people use sissoo leaves as a decent spinach substitute. Sissoo also thrives in the tropics in poor or rich soil and can easily be grown from cuttings. This type of spinach can be eaten raw but is usually cooked.
Landscaping with Sissoo Spinach Cuttings
Sissoo spinach really shines as a ground cover and a edge plant. It fills in fast and can also be dug out as a whole plant, replanted and kept moist. It practically just reanimates if weather is not too hot and it fills in understory of shrubs and taller herbs very nicely. This works great for planting on the edge of lawns and trails because you can mow right up to it and it maintains a nice aesthetic and provides a sense of food security as a bonus.
I love to use it in combination with African blue basil, and or comfrey. All of these plants fill in space quickly shade the ground bellow and create a very beautiful look. Getting your edges planted first with plants like sissoo and comfrey means less encroaching weeds will bother your garden, lawns, or paths and less weedwhacking and weeding has to be done when mower can mow close to your edges. Once well established they are almost . free.