While the traditional yellow flower heads are common, many new varieties offer different flower colors, such as white, red, and lemon.
There’s no flower more varied and more loved for its bright cheeriness in the garden than the sunflower. You can grow compact plants, such as ‘Big Smile’, that stand 1 to 2 feet tall, or giants, such as ‘Russian Mammoth’, that grow more than 12 feet tall. While most sunflowers have the traditional head with petals surrounding it, there are now varieties, such as ‘Teddy Bear’, that look more like chrysanthemums or dahlia flowers.
All varieties grow best in full sun on moist, well-drained, fertile soil. Sunflowers may be started indoors and transplanted as seedlings, or purchased as transplants. However, it’s easy in most climates to simply pop the seeds in a prepared soil bed and let them grow. With the heat of summer, they will grow fast and start producing flowers in a few months.
While the traditional yellow flower heads are common, many new varieties offer different flower colors, such as white, red, and lemon. Also, if you are cutting sunflowers for indoor arranging, look for pollen-free varieties, such as ‘Junior’, that don’t drop yellow pollen on a table and stain it. Here are some different-colored varieties to try in this year’s garden.
‘Autumn Beauty’: This variety grow 6 to 7 feet tall and produces multiple heads of yellow, burgundy, and red flowers.
‘Italian White’: This unique variety features ivory-white, 4-inch-diameter flower heads. This heirloom is well branched, so you’ll enjoy many flower heads all summer.
‘Lemon Queen’: This 5- to 7-foot-tall variety has pale lemon flower heads. It’s sister variety, ‘Velvet Queen’, is a similar-sized plant with crimson flowers.
‘Chocolate Cherry’: This variety features rich chocolate-colored flower heads. The flowers are also pollen-free, so they’re a good selection for cutting and indoor use.
‘Cinnamon Red’: Another pollen-free variety, this one has cinnamon-colored petals and a chocolate-hued center. It’s very striking.
‘Strawberry Blonde’: The flowers of this unique variety have dark centers and burgundy-colored petals with white tips.