13 Crazy-Colorful Sunflowers

Toss out everything you know about sunflowers: These vibrant beauties come in a rainbow of colors.
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Photo By: Image courtesy of National Garden Bureau

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

Photo By: Image courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

Photo By: Image courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Photo By: Image courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Photo By: Image courtesy of Burpee

Photo By: Image courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Photo By: Image courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Photo By: Image courtesy of National Garden Bureau

Sunflower 'Shock-O-Lat'

'Shock-O-Lat' is a sunflower with giant flowerheads and lots of branches. The blooms are the deep, dark brown color of a chocolate bar, and they're highlighted with golden tips. A gold halo circles each center disk, too. Although each flower is slightly different in coloration, all are pollen-free, so they're fine for vases. This variety tops out at about 6 feet high.

Sunflower 'Coconut Ice'

'Coconut Ice' is a relatively new sunflower variety with creamy vanilla-white petals that transition to white at the tips. One flower is produced per stem on plants that grow 4 to 5 feet high. The black centers make a bold contrast to the blossoms, measuring 4 to 8 inches across.

'Earthwalker' Sunflower

Sunflower 'Earthwalker' features solid and bicolor blooms of rusty earth tones, including orange, mahogany, brown and gold. Multiple side branches on 6 to 9-foot plants guarantee a magnificent display.

Sunflower 'Strawberry Blonde'

'Strawberry Blonde' is said to be the first rose-pink sunflower, with petals brushed with lemon-yellow and a dark "eye." The plants branch nicely, so they're good for cutting, and the flowers are pollen-free, so they won't stain your skin or furnishings. Space the plants every 12 inches apart and expect them to reach 6 feet tall.

Sunflower 'Solar Flare'

'Solar Flare' sunflowers practically beam and glow in the garden, with scarlet red petals that brighten to gold at the tips. Its center disk is a striking deep black. Give this variety lots of room, as it grows 5-6 feet tall, and use it as a cutting flower.

Sunflower 'Lemon Queen'

'Lemon Queen' has lovely lemon yellow petals and dark, chocolate-brown centers. The plants bear multiple branches and multiple blooms, and grow to 10 feet in height. Give them full sun and well-drained soil, and plant every few weeks for a longer flowering period.

Sunflower 'Ms. Mars'

'Ms. Mars' sunflowers are a new and unusual merlot color. The petals, leaves and even the stems are a dark red-purple. As the blooms open, they become lighter pink at the tips. The plants grow 20 to 30 inches tall and love full sun.

Sunflower 'Orange Sun'

'Orange Sun' are a lovely bright orange, and the nearly double flowers have an usual row of single outer petals. The big heads measure up to 6 inches across, and remind many gardeners of chrysanthemums. Give them full sun, well-drained soil, and room to reach their mature height of 6 to 8 feet tall.

Sunflower 'Irish Eyes'

Dwarf 'Irish Eyes' sunflowers have pointed, gold petals and bright green centers. This variety is a great choice for a cutting garden or pots and planters on a patio. The plants grow to 4 feet in about 60 days after the seeds are sown.

Sunflower 'Chianti'

Wine-red 'Chianti' sunflowers are flecked with gold. Use this variety, with its unusual purple stems, for drama in your garden. The plants grow 4 to 5 feet high and produce lots of branches. Since the flowers are pollen-free, they're nice for cutting for bouquets and vases.

Sunflower 'Ring of Fire'

Set your garden ablaze with 'Ring of Fire.' Its fiery petals transition from dark red to golden yellow at the tips as they flare out from dark centers. The plants branch heavily and produce long side stems, making them excellent for cutting. This variety matures at 5 to 6 feet tall about 60 days from sowing.

Sunflower 'Valentine'

Bred in Budapest, Hungary, 'Valentine' produces primose-yellow blooms with dark brown centers. Its long side branches make it a good choice for cut flowers; snip the stems just before the flowers open, and they'll last a long time in vases. The plants grow to 5 feet if given full sun and well-drained soil. Flowers appear about 70 days from sowing.

Sunflower 'Goldie'

'Goldie' sunflowers are plants with multiple branches and huge, cheerful, golden-yellow blooms. Save these 5-foot beauties for the back of garden beds and borders, or use them in a cutting garden. The double-petaled flowers measure 8 to 10 inches across.