The Best Sunflower Varieties to grow from seed
Sunflowers are one of the best and possibly underrated of garden plants, being easy to grow from seed, and producing a tremendous displays of
bright colourful flowers in a range of shades, shapes and sizes. Plant the seeds in April to May for flowers during the Summer and Autumn months – but be sure to protect the young seedlings and establishing plants from attack from birds, bunnies and other hungry fiends!
The Best Tall Sunflowers to Grow from seed
Many people grow Sunflowers for the selected types which are especially tall – these usually possess a recessive gene which causes the plants to form one central flower-head on an especially tall and robust stem – these can become as thick as a small tree-trunk on truly massive specimens (at the time of writing the tallest sunflower was recorded at 9.17m) – so which varieties are best? Try these varieties for some mind-boggling giants:
Mammoth- An heirloom variety, possibly related to or a selection of ‘Russian Mammoth’.
American Giant- A hybrid variety with good vigour and thick stems.
Titan– Another heirloom variety with wide dinnerplate sized seedheads.
The Best Short-growing Sunflowers
Sunny Smile– A nice quick flowering dwarf on super-short stems.
Choco Sun – Neat Dwarf sunflower with dark centres.
Double Dandy – Outstanding flower with a variable red coloring and semi-double flowers.
Irish Eyes – A nice dwarf sunflower with green centres to the yellow flowers.
Music Box – Good colour range with various shades of yellows, pinks, browns and reds
Little Becka – Semi-dwarf with rusty red flowers
Pachino Gold– Good dwarf yellow type
Sunray – This is a dwarf branching type with numerous smaller flowers. Not to be confused with a Jerusalem Aritchoke with the same name.
The best Sunflowers for outstanding colours and flowers
Italian White – A form of Helianthus debilis with pale almost which petals and dark centres.
Jade – A greenish-white shade which matures to cream, but with greenish centres.
Ruby Eclipse– A seriously awesome strain, with flowers ranging from pinkish blushed cream to deep reds on branching stems.
Teddy Bear – A double-flowered form with large bright yellow flowers. This is also a Dwarf variety.
Joker – A stunning semi-double hybrid with deep burgundy centres and yellow petal-tips.
The Best Dark Red Sunflowers
Claret– A wonderful dark maroon Sunflower with deep red covering the petals from the centres to the tips, set against a yellow base colour, giving the overall deep chocolate brown shade.
Black Beauty – this is another superb variety with one of the darkest
maroon petal colours and deep red stems too. Stunning.
Chianti – one of the better known varieties which has been improved over the years by the breeders to produce consistent deep red flowers.
Moulin Rouge – Slightly variable with deep brownish red petals and slightly lighter petal tips. Some plants have flowers that are slightly lighter, but overall a very consistent strain.
Red Sun – One of the best known heirloom strains, with orange-brown flowers in varying shades, some are very dark. Vigorous and easy.
Velvet Queen– This is one of the early darker red selections, still set against a yellow base color, so they tend toward brownish and are not always as dark as the pictures suggest.
Procut Red – This is a special florist type, with single tall stems and an intense black cherry red colour set against a light base petal colour, giving the red a real vibrancy.
Cherry Rose – This variety is really similar to Ruby Eclipse, with a similar range in flower colour from pinkish blushed flowers to intense deep reds. Quick to flower, and branching.
Ruby Eclipse – See Cherry Rose above, but flowering a little later but for a really long time on multi-branched stems.
Information on Sunflower seed production from NuFlowers LLC in the USA.
More information on exciting Sunflower varieties, from The Spruce.
A great source for buying many of the Sunflower Seeds mentioned above, from Sunflower Selections (USA).
JL Hudson, Seedsman has a great selection of unusual seeds, including some Sunflowers (Listed under H for Helianthus).
Sunflower seed available from Premium Sunflowers, run by fellow enthusiast and expert Theo Gauweiler (EU).
Select Sunflowers in the UK sell most of the varieties produced by cutting-edge American breeders NuFlowers LLC.
And you can try your luck with the Sunflower Seeds offered by Marshall’s Seeds (UK), who also supply consistently viable seed, but with a smaller selection.