North American natives, sunflowers thrive as long as they get full sun, about six to eight hours a day. To plant sunflowers, start from seed and be sure to mix some organic fertilizer into the soil to satisfy the sunflower's nutrient-needy growth. Looking for some variety? Check out these showstoppers.
'Strawberry Blonde Hybrid'
Bred by Burpee for its rose-pink shade, 'Strawberry Blonde' grows tall and forms six-inch blooms that are ideal for cuttings.
'Mammoth Grey Stripe'
Great not only for its giant, cheerful face, but also for its large seeds, 'Mammoth Grey' will ensure you have birdseed for the winter season.
Guaranteed to bring a little passion to your garden, these pastel blooms take about 55 days to mature. An added bonus? A pollenless variety means no-mess bouquets!
Boasting pastel yellow petals, ‘Lemon Queen’ is poly-headed, offering multiple flowers along the stalk, and much coveted by pollinators.
These NBA-size stalks go from seed to 16 feet in one summer. Try planting a row of ‘Sunzilla’ for a living hedge.
A flurry of thin petals makes for pompom-like blossoms on this self-sowing dwarf that grows no more than three feet tall.
Double the cheer with this double-petaled variety that can be pinched back early for more flowers. Although it’s not the best for seed production, its lengthy vase life makes up for it.
This hybrid quickly produces its bicolor flowers early in the summer. Each blossom's chocolate brown center contrasts pleasingly with its gold-tipped petals.
At only two feet tall, dwarf ‘Elf’ makes for a great container filler, or add its sweet yellow face to a border and expect some butterflies to visit.
A Note About Harvesting
Once autumn hits and the petals have fallen, many sunflower varieties offer up a second harvest with their nutritious seeds. To avoid losing the seeds to the ground, reap them by covering the flower heads with a brown paper bag until fully dried. Harvest once the bloom’s head turns brown. Alternatively, cut the flower and dry indoors.
If you are interested in more about gardening, consider:
Turning Up the Heat: 10 Summer Sun Loving Plants
10 DIY Stepping Stones to Brighten Any Garden Walk
10 Plants for Where the Sun Don't Shine
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