7+ sunflower varieties

There are an endless number of different varieties of sunflowers available for planting. There are giant sunflowers that tower over the garden, sunflowers that branch and grow multiple flowers, standard 6′-tall florist sunflowers, and tiny little dwarf sunflower varieties. Here are 7+ of the best sunflower varieties to consider when you’re shopping for sunflower seeds.

Planting mammoth

1. Mammoth sunflower

The Mammoth sunflower is the classic giant sunflower variety. This heirloom was developed in Eastern Europe and is known for its large sunflower heads and high-quality sunflower seeds. These are a favorite sunflower cultivar for their all-around appeal!

Lemon queen sunflower
Lemon queen sunflower

2. Lemon Queen sunflower

The Lemon Queen sunflower is the most popular sunflower for attracting beneficial pollinators to your garden. Due to their high-quality nectar, these lemon-yellow blossoms are well-known favorites of bees and other beneficial insects. They’re also very, very easy to grow.

Black oil sunflowers
Black oil sunflowers

3. Black Oil sunflower

The Black Oil sunflower is the traditional variety planted to attract birds to your yard due to the oil-rich seeds they produce. These seeds are packaged in large sunflower seed bags for filling bird feeders and can be purchased at garden centers and big-box stores. While you can certainly plant the seeds that are sold as bird food, most gardeners grow more uniform plants from seeds selected specifically for planting.

Yellow teddy bear sunflower in a garden

4. Teddy Bear sunflower

The Teddy Bear sunflower is a short heirloom sunflower with masses of very thin petals giving the blooms a fluffy appearance. These bright gold puffball-type sunflowers grow to reach only 3′ high, making them a favorite in children’s gardens.

Procut white lite
Procut’s ‘white lite’

5. ProCut sunflowers

The ProCut Sunflower Brand is a line of specialty florist sunflower varieties grown mainly in cutting gardens to make floral bouquets. These pollen-free varieties produce a single flower head per plant and are perfect for cutting gardens and flower farmers. ProCut Sunflowers are available in a wide range of different shades, including:

  • ProCut White Lite Sunflower Seeds
  • ProCut Plum Sunflower Seeds
  • ProCut Red Lemon Bicolor Sunflower Seeds
  • ProCut Peach Sunflower Seeds
Planting sunflower seeds

6. Autumn Beauty sunflower

The ‘Autumn Beauty’ sunflower cultivar is a branching variety that showcases a mesmerizing mix of red, orange, yellow, and burgundy petals. With a moderate height that typically ranges between 5 to 6 feet, ‘Autumn Beauty’ is perfect for creating eye-catching borders or as a focal point in garden beds.

These sunflowers are not just visually appealing; they also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, adding vibrancy and life to the garden. Easy to grow and maintain, ‘Autumn Beauty’ sunflowers are ideal for gardeners looking to add a splash of late-summer and fall color to their landscapes.

Velvet queen

7. Velvet Queen sunflower

The ‘Velvet Queen’ sunflower is known for its deep, rich shades ranging from burnt orange to velvety maroon. This variety stands out with its strikingly dark petals that surround a chocolate-brown center.

Typically reaching heights of 5 to 6 feet, ‘Velvet Queen’ sunflowers create a stunning visual impact, whether grown as a backdrop in garden beds or as a standalone feature. Their unique color palette offers a delightful contrast to the traditional bright yellows of common sunflowers, making them a favorite for cutting gardens and floral arrangements.

Chocolate cherry

8. Chocolate Cherry sunflower

The ‘Chocolate Cherry’ sunflower cultivar is a visually striking variety renowned for its rich, deep burgundy petals that fade to a chocolate brown near the center. Typically growing to a height of about 5 to 6 feet, the ‘Chocolate Cherry’ sunflower is ideal for creating an eye-catching display in garden beds, borders, or as a dramatic centerpiece in a bouquet.

Sunflowers - best varieties to grow
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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