15 flowers that look like sunflowers

If you love sunflowers but need some other plants in your garden, I have the perfect list for you. Use this list to find flowers that attract pollinators, are easy to grow, and look similar to sunflowers. They won’t grow as tall and have different qualities, but their presence in the garden will be somewhat the same! Keep reading to learn about bright yellow flowers that look like sunflowers.

Rudbeckia hirta

1. Black-Eyed Susans

The Black-Eyed Susan, botanically named Rudbeckia hirta, is a native North American plant just like the sunflower. The dark green foliage on this amazing plant looks lovely in any garden. They are also known as the gloriosa daisy with their spoon-shaped leaves.

They grow up to 3 meters tall and 2 feet wide. Black-eyed Susans bloom from spring into fall. They don’t have a brown center like many sunflower varieties, but they are just as striking.

Heliopsis helianthoides

2. False Sunflowers

False Sunflowers, also called Oxeye Sunflowers, are perennial plants that grow to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Botanically called Heliopsis helianthoides, they have a brown center, just like sunflowers (but they have the added benefit of returning from their roots every year!).

Their leaves are slightly different because they are serrated and not triangular like a sunflower. False sunflowers love partial sun or full sun and prefer well-drained soil.

Echinacea paradoxa

3. Yellow Coneflower

Also known as the Echinacea paradoxa, the Yellow Coneflower grows up to 3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide. they resemble a Black-Eyed Susan and have a dark brown center. The yellow petals radiate out from the middle in a nice sunflower pattern. The seeds attract pollinators like birds and butterflies.

Calendula 'orange king'

4. Calendula ‘Orange King’

This cultivar of Calendula officinalis is very popular. Gardeners love this sunflower-like plant. It attracts beneficial insects and helps trap pests. These flowers grow up to 2 feet tall and about a foot wide (larger than many other cultivars). They are a great addition to any garden and will brighten it up just like a sunflower would.

Gerbera jamesonii

5. Transvaal Daisy

This is the ultra-popular Gerber daisy! This plant, Gerbera jamesonii, comes with cheery petals that enchant any garden. They are extremely low-maintenance and can live in full sun or partial shade. When fully grown, they are about 4 feet tall. These annuals bloom mostly from summer into fall.

Tithonia diversifolia

6. Japanese Sunflower

Japanese Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia) is a shrubby plant that is considered a weed in many areas. These plants look like wild sunflowers but are smaller in comparison. They often resemble bush daisies.

They are self-seeding perennials that help improve soil quality. They prefer full sun and well-draining soil. They bloom year-round and will brighten any garden space.

Tagetes erecta

7. African Marigold

Tagetes erecta, or the African Marigold, is a busy flower with fragrant blooms. They have compound fluffy flowers that look like certain compound sunflower varieties, such as Teddy Bear Sunflower. They look amazing when clumped together in a vase or growing outside.

They love full sun and well-drained soil. They attract butterflies and hummingbirds and are great pollinating plants. You will see them in various colors, but the yellow and orange ones resemble sunflowers nicely.

Coreopsis tinctoria

8. Golden Tickseed

Golden Tickseed, or Coreopsis tinctoria, comes from North America. It is usually seen in yellow with red and orange accents. They attract helpful pollinators like bees, butterflies, and others.

This elegant, graceful flower was used historically to treat ailments like nausea and diuretic conditions. It blooms year-round when conditions permit, but mainly in the spring and fall. It loves well-draining soil.

Chrysanthemum x morifolium 'bronze decorative'

9. Florist’s Daisy

Also known as Chrysanthemum x morifolium, the florist’s daisy is a lovely flower shaped like a sunflower. Varieties like ‘Bronze Decorative’ make particularly good sunflower substitutions.

This flower from the daisy family ranges in color from white to yellow, to purple, and to green. It has compound flowers just like sunflowers and yellow centers. Some are extremely busy, so much so that you can barely see the center.

Orange zinnias

10. Zinnia

Zinnia is a genus of flowers that look like sunflowers and are often yellow or orange. They have some stark differences but many of the same qualities as sunflowers. Their petals are both thin, and their colors shine brightly. These flowers prefer plenty of sun and well-drained soil. They thrive in hardiness zones 3 to 10.

Anthemis tinctoria

11. Golden Marguerite

Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria), sometimes called Yellow Chamomile, is a perennial with daisy-shaped yellow flowers. These flowers resemble sunflowers but have a much rounder shape. They are also much smaller in size.

They are golden in color and very bright. They are extremely fragrant and have abundant blooms during the summertime. They even bloom in colder areas like Canada and the Northern States.

Tagetes lemmonii

12. Mexican Marigold

Mexican Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii) is a flowering evergreen shrub. These pretty flowers that look like sunflowers grow in shurbs.

They have less petals than a sunflower but they petals are wider. The petals are often lighter in color than the central disk. They even bloom in wintertime in warm climates.

They are deer resistant and have lovely green foliage in the background. These are special because they can grow in the colder temperatures.

Tithonia rotundifolia

13. Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) is a warm-season annual flowering plant. This flower loves hotter climates and grows quite tall. Butterflies and hummingbirds will seek these out.

They come in yellow and orange colorings and are loved by many pollinators. They also have dwarf varieties you can grow in your gardens. The bright yellow petals of these flowers look lovely in garden beds, along fence borders, or growing wild in fields.

Baileya multiradiata

14. Desert Marigold

The Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) is a fluffy-looking flower that resembles sunflowers. They are bright yellow or orange flowers with a saffron-colored central disk. The petals merge to form an almost perfect circle.

These flowers are lovely too, because they blossom all year long. They grow fine in gravel, rock, desert, and Mediterranean gardens. They are perfect for any landscape and are flowers that look like sunflowers.

Helianthus angustifolius

15. Swamp Sunflower

The Swamp Sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) is fantastic because it can be grown in wetlands. They are perfect to plant near lakes, ponds, and rivers. These are part of the helianthus family (or sunflower family) but not the classical kind. They have many sunflower-identifying features. They grow in clumps, not off of one single stem. Plant them in full sun or partial shade for best results.

I hope you enjoy growing flowers that look like sunflowers in your garden. From orange flowers to yellow flowers, they will brighten your space just as much as sunflowers would.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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