Unconventional Sunflower Colors
Think of sunflowers, and big, bright yellow blooms usually come to mind. But these cheerful plants are available in many other colors, too, including shades of gold, cream, rose, pink, and even chocolate brown. Look for flower petals that are tipped in gold, or for dark, center disks surrounded by pale halos, and you’ll become more aware of the many beautiful variations in this old-fashioned garden flower.
Ready to add some bright color to your summer beds and borders? Browse through the gallery below to find our favorite colorful sunflower varieties.
'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.
‘Prado Red Shades’ Sunflower (Helianthus ‘Prado Red Shades’)
‘Prado Red Shades’ isn’t your typical sunflower. Unusual chocolate-tinted centers sport a collar of red petals. Plants top out at 4 feet. Pinch stems when five sets of leaves have formed, and you’ll be rewarded with seven to 10 full size flowers for bouquets.
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 '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 '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.
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.