15 Standout Sunflower Varieties

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    Everyone Loves a Sunflower

    Sunflower Varieities
    Photo: Blanchi Costela/Getty Images

    As one of the most iconic flowers in the world, sunflowers are to the garden what a glass of ice cold lemonade is to a picnic. Sunflowers are instantly recognizable, but look closer: a range of colors, heights, and flower forms make this plant as versatile as it is easy to grow. 

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    Early Black Heart Sunflower

    Early Black Heart Sunflower
    Photo: National Garden Bureau

    Waiting is the hardest part, when it comes to sunflower growing. 'Early Black Heart,' a 2017 release, shortens the wait with its quick maturity time of 55 days. The bright gold petals with black faces stand out in the vase, and its pollen-free blooms mean no mess on the table. Plants are a manageable five to six feet in height. 

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    Golden Bear Sunflower

    Golden Bear Sunflower
    Photo: National Garden Bureau

    Looking more like a zinnia on steroids than your typical sunflower, ten-foot tall 'Golden Bear' plants produce one large bloom with thousands of petals, and several smaller flowers on branching stems. Schedule your vacation before the end of summer so you don't miss this late-maturing beauty. 

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    Helios Flame Sunflower

    Helios Flame Sunflower
    Photo: National Garden Bureau

    'Helios Flame' is a designer's delight, both in the early fall garden and the vase. The russet and gold bi-colored blooms deliver the brightest autumn hues on a single pollen-free plant. The four to six foot height is impressive, but not so tall that you can't add them to the back of your front yard flower bed

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    ProCut Peach Sunflower

    Pro Cut Peach Sunflower
    Photo: Michael Davis/Getty Images

    With sturdy single stems and pollen-free blooms, sunflowers in the ProCut series are destined for the vase. The peachy petals and dark discs of 'ProCut Peach' look dazzling when paired with flowers at the opposite side of the color wheel, like bachelor buttons or ageratum

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    Elf Sunflower

    Elf Sunflower
    Photo: David Q. Cavagnaro/Getty Images

    Every garden should have a space dedicated to children, and the dwarf form of 'Elf' sunflowers gives kids what they want. Plant a few of the 14-inch 'Elf' sunflowers in containers on your sunny patio or deck. Flower picking was never so fun. 

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    Italian White Sunflower

    Italian White Sunflower
    Photo: Juliette Wade/Getty Images

    'Italian White' sunflowers give you large flowers on branching five-foot tall plants, yielding some of the most pollinator-pleasing blooms you'll ever grow. The creamy petals look divine in arrangements coupled with red sunflower varieties. 

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  • 08 of 16

    Moulin Rouge Sunflower

    Moulin Rouge Sunflower
    Photo: Richard Gould/Getty Images

    As new red sunflower varieties come to market, 'Moulin Rouge' remains a gardener's favorite. The deep red petals don't fade in strong sunlight, and the branching habit and pollen-free flowers are harvest-friendly. 

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  • 09 of 16

    Ring of Fire Sunflower

    Ring of Fire Sunflower
    Photo: Clive Nichols/Getty Images

     Looking more like an oversized gazania than a sunflower, the attractive bicolor pattern of 'Ring of Fire' stands out in the garden. As an All-America Selection winner, 'Ring of FIre' demonstrates the kind of disease resistance, vigor, and novel appearance that gardeners want in their landscapes.

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    Strawberry Blonde Sunflower

    Strawberry Blonde Sunflower
    Photo: John Burke/Getty Images

    'Strawberry Blonde' gives gardeners an unusual hue for sunflowers, not quite pink and not quite red. A halo of cream replaces the typical yellow color on these five-foot tall flowers. Space the plants at least 12 inches apart in the garden to allow for branching and increased blooming. 

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    Choco Sun Sunflower

    Choco Sun Sunflower
    Photo: Chris Burrows/Getty Images

    The container garden can benefit from the joie de vivre of sunflowers, and 12-inch 'Choco Sun' delivers. The fast maturing plants are ready to bloom after only eleven weeks. 

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    Starburst Aura Sunflower

    Starburst Aura Sunflower
    Photo: David Q. Cavagnaro/Getty Images

    A fantastic form for someone who has experimented with all the different sunflower colors and still craves something unique, 'Starburst Aura' features shaggy petals and fully double blooms. 

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    Velvet Queen Sunflower

    Velvet Queen Sunflower
    Photo: Juliette Wade/Getty Images

    The rich, burnt orange blossoms of 'Velvet Queen' are highly desirable in fall flower arrangements. With a moderate mature height of four feet, the flowers can fit in to your borders without appearing gangly. 

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    Evening Sun Sunflower

    Evening Sun Sunflower
    Photo: jd_09/Flickr/CCBY2.0

    If you aren't sure which sunflower cultivar to choose, try the varied blooms of 'Evening Sun,' which may yield flowers of crimson, gold, and blends. The seven-foot tall plants are very attractive to goldfinches in late summer. 

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    Sunbright Sunflower

    Sunbright Sunflowers
    Photo: Harvey Schwartz/Getty Images

    'Sunbright' sunflowers do particularly well in Northern gardens, where shorter summer days and cool temperatures can cause many sunflower varieties to fail. As a single-stemmed variety, 'Sunbright' looks best when planted as a backdrop behind a shorter row of sun-loving flowers like daisies, or coreopsis

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    Sunrich Lime Sunflower

    Sunrich Lime Sunflower
    Photo: Kristin Lee/Getty Images

    The gold and green discs of 'Sunrich Lime' set it apart from the many brown-centered sunflowers on the market. As an F1 hybrid, 'Sunrich' has consistent features that gardeners can count on with every season, including six-inch blooms, a five-foot mature height, and a quick maturity of 60 days.