Tithonia diversifolia is a species of flowering plant that is commonly known as the tree marigold, Mexican tournesol, Mexican sunflower, Japanese sunflower or Nitobe chrysanthemum. It is native to Mexico and Central America but has a nearly pantropical distribution as an introduced species.
It has shown potential in raising the soil fertility in soils depleted in nutrients. This plant is a "weed" that grows quickly and has become an option as an affordable alternative to expensive synthetic fertilizers.
It can be grown as shrub of hedge
Tithonia diversifolia is 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) in height with upright and sometimes ligneous stalks in the form of woody shrubs. The large, showy flowers are yellow to orange colored and 5–15 cm wide and 10–30 cm long.
It works as a fertilizer but it takes a lot of work
Harvesting and distributing this fertilizer over the land by hand is very labor-intensive. The best yields come when T. diversifolia is grown off the land as to not take up growing space. For this reason, when time spent on labor has been factored, this approach may not be beneficial to a farmer.
Tithonia diversifolia can be used as organic fertilizer biomass. For this use, the plant is first grown in hedges around the edges of harvest land. The green stems (not the woody stems), leaves, and flowers can be removed from the plant at a farmer selected time, though it is recommended that cutting every 5 months will give a plentiful amount of nutrients in the biomass. The biomass can also be used as a mulch and can be left on top of the soil to decompose into the ground.
How to propagate
Cuttings root very easily, just like cassava, in fact, you can grow them together.