Sunflower Colors – Unique Color Choices Beyond Yellow

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I remember the first time I planted sunflowers in my garden. As their towering stems reached the sky, the explosion of colors took my breath away. There was no yellow in sight – the bright orange and red petals instantly hooked me on finding and trying as many sunflower colors as possible.

Our article aims to explore the various colors of sunflowers with various recommendations for each color.

Read on to find the perfect sunflower for your needs. It’s never been easier to find a color and a variety to try!

Six panels showing sunflowers of orange, white, bi-color, pink, purple and brown.
Table of Contents

    Unveiling the Spectrum of Sunflower Hues

    Overview of Sunflower Colors

    Sunflowers are a vibrant and diverse bunch. Sunflower blooms come in various hues, including shades of yellow, orange, red, burgundy, brown, purple, pink, and white. The secret behind this colorful display lies in the different pigments in sunflower petals. These pigments interact with light to create the stunning range of colors we see. Understanding the genetics behind sunflower coloration can help you choose the perfect variety for your garden.

    Stunning Sunflower Varieties for This Season

    If you want to make a statement with your garden this season, look no further than the latest sunflower varieties. Breeders have been working hard to develop new introductions that feature bold colors and unique petal patterns. From deep crimson-reds to bi-colored blooms with striking contrasts, these stunning varieties captivate any observer. Stay up-to-date with the hottest trends in sunflower breeding and find the perfect variety to add beauty to your outdoor space.

    Crazy-Colorful Sunflowers for Your Garden

    For those who want their garden to stand out from the crowd, crazy-colorful sunflowers are just what you need. These extraordinary varieties boast unconventional and vibrant color combinations that defy traditional norms. Imagine petals adorned in lime green or dazzling purple hues! Planting these eye-catching sunflowers will inject whimsy and excitement into your garden space while showcasing your unique style and personality.

    A vibrant purple sunflower head next to a yellow one.

    Sunflower Colors: From White To Purple

    Sunflowers are iconic with their bright yellow petals, but they come in various colors beyond the traditional yellow. Here’s a list of some of the different colors that sunflowers can have:

    1. Orange: Varieties like the ‘Terracotta’ sunflower have orange petals ranging from bright to burnt orange.
    2. Red: Some sunflowers, like the ‘Moulin Rouge,’ have deep red or burgundy petals, often with a dark center.
    3. Brown: There are sunflowers with rich brown petals, sometimes mixed with other colors like orange or yellow.
    4. Cream or White: Varieties like the ‘Italian White’ sunflower have creamy white petals with a dark center.
    5. Bi-Color: These sunflowers feature petals with two different colors, often a mix of traditional yellow with shades of red or brown, like in the ‘Autumn Beauty’ variety.
    6. Green: Some unique sunflowers exhibit green hues in their petals, offering a distinct appearance.
    7. Purple: While rare, some sunflowers have a purplish tinge to their petals.
    8. Pink: Pink is rare and is usually due to red or purple-type sunflowers with light hues or bicolor plants that tend to lean toward pink hues.

    It’s fascinating to see how selective breeding and natural variations have led to such a diverse palette of colors in sunflowers!

    Orange Sunflower Varieties

    I think orange sunflowers are the prettiest of all; they rage their colors in fall and demand to be the center of attention. We love them in bouquets and potted displays around the house, so we always add a few to our pots and cut flower gardens.

    1. Terracotta Sunflower: Known for its unique earthy orange color, the Terracotta sunflower has a rustic look with petals that blend shades of orange, bronze, and sometimes brown. The flowers are medium-sized and make excellent cut flowers for arrangements.
    2. Autumn Beauty Sunflower: While this variety includes a mix of colors, it’s known for its vibrant orange petals, often mixed with yellow or red shades. The flowers are large and make a stunning display, perfect for a fall-themed garden.
    3. Indian Blanket Sunflower: This variety features a striking pattern with deep orange petals tipped with yellow, resembling the pattern of a traditional American Indian blanket. They are an excellent choice for adding color to your garden.
    4. ProCut Orange Sunflower: The ProCut Orange is a type of sunflower widely used in the cut flower industry. Its bright orange petals and dark center make it a visually stunning flower. It is highly valued for its uniformity and long-lasting vase life, which makes it a popular choice for floral arrangements. Although the ProCut line is pollenless, which may not be ideal for bees, it is an excellent choice for those who are growing sunflowers for arrangements.
    5. Orange Mahogany Sunflower: This variety offers a dual-tone appearance, deep mahogany red near the center and bright orange tips. It’s a medium-sized flower and is often grown for ornamental purposes.

    Each variety showcases the wonderful range of orange hues in sunflowers, making them a fantastic choice for gardeners looking to add a splash of color to their outdoor spaces.

    A bi colored autumn beauty sunflower with bright orange petals tipped with streaks of red against a bright blue sky.

    Red Sunflower Varieties

    Red sunflowers offer a dramatic and stunning alternative to the classic yellow varieties. Here’s a list of red sunflower varieties, along with brief descriptions:

    1. Moulin Rouge Sunflower is a classic deep burgundy variety, almost velvet. The Moulin Rouge sunflower lacks the traditional central disk, making its all-red petals more prominent.
    2. Red Sun Sunflower: The Red Sun boasts deep red petals with a dark center. Its striking appearance is highlighted by the petals’ rich, almost crimson hue.
    3. Claret Sunflower: Known for its dark, wine-red petals, it is a tall variety that adds a touch of elegance to any garden. Its flowers are large and can make a bold statement in bouquets.
    4. Chianti Sunflower: The Chianti sunflower has a deep, rich burgundy color. It’s a pollenless variety, which makes it particularly suitable for cut flower arrangements as it won’t shed pollen indoors.
    5. Prado Red Sunflower: A popular choice for smaller gardens and borders, the Prado Red boasts bright red petals.
    6. Ms. Mars Sunflower: Unique for its dark, dusky red-to-purple petals, Ms. Mars is a dwarf sunflower. It also features multicolored leaves, adding to its ornamental appeal.
    7. Merlot Sunflower: Named after the wine, the Merlot sunflower has deep burgundy petals and a dark center. It’s known for its strong stems and long-lasting blooms.

    Each of these red sunflower varieties can add a unique and dramatic touch to gardens and floral arrangements, showcasing the diverse beauty of sunflowers.

    A bright red moulin rouge sunflower in full bloom against a bright blue summer sky.

    Brown Sunflower Varieties

    Brown sunflowers, with their unique and earthy tones, can add a distinct and elegant touch to gardens and floral arrangements. Here’s a list of some brown sunflower varieties:

    1. Chocolate Sunflower: Known for its deep, chocolate brown petals with a velvety texture. It’s a striking variety that stands out for its unusual color.
    2. Cocoa Sun™ Sunflower: This variety features rich, deep brown petals with a unique cocoa color bloom. It’s a stunning choice for gardeners looking for something different from the traditional yellow blooms of the common sunflower.
    3. Earthwalker Sunflower: The Earthwalker can range in color from deep, rich brown to burnt orange and red tones. It’s known for its large head and tall stature.

    These varieties showcase the unique beauty of brown sunflowers, offering a range of shades from deep chocolate to lighter, earthy tones. They can provide an elegant and unusual aesthetic to any garden or floral arrangement.

    Chocolate sunflower with colors of brown toward the center, with reds, pinks and soft oranges and yellows at the petal tips.

    Cream Or White Colored Sunflower Varieties

    White or cream-colored sunflowers offer a more subtle and elegant alternative to the traditional bright yellow varieties. Here is a list of some white or cream-colored sunflower varieties:

    1. Italian White Sunflower: This variety is known for its creamy white petals with a prominent dark brown center. The Italian White is a medium-sized sunflower with a delicate and elegant look. These plants also grow multiple branches and multiple blooms.
    2. Moonshine Sunflower: Moonshine sunflowers have pale yellow to almost white petals with a light lemon-yellow center. They are known for their large heads and tall, sturdy stalks.
    3. Coconut Ice Sunflower: Featuring stunning creamy-white petals that transition to a pale yellow base, the Coconut Ice Sunflower is a unique and eye-catching variety.
    4. White Lite Sunflower: This variety has creamy white petals with a soft, pale yellow center. Its shorter variety makes it suitable for smaller garden spaces or containers.
    5. Vanilla Ice Sunflower: The Vanilla Ice sunflower boasts soft, creamy petals with a dark chocolate center, creating a striking contrast. It’s a smaller variety that works well in mixed floral arrangements.
    6. Swiss Alps Sunflower: Known for its pure white petals and contrasting dark center, it is a striking variety. It’s a taller sunflower, making it an excellent choice for the back of a garden bed.

    These varieties provide a range of options for those seeking the softer, more subtle beauty of white and cream sunflowers, perfect for different garden styles and floral arrangements.

    A white colored sunflower with black center.
    Perennial sunflowers in full bloom.

    Perennial Sunflowers – Less Work With more Color.

    Some varieties, like Italian White Sunflowers, are perennial in warmer USDA zones. But there are many perennial sunflowers you can add to your garden areas. We have recommendations for zone 3-9!

    Bi-Colored Sunflower Varieties

    Bi-colored sunflowers are especially striking, featuring petals with two distinct colors, often blending or contrasting in beautiful ways. Here’s a list of some bi-colored sunflower varieties:

    1. Autumn Beauty Sunflower: Known for its mixed petals in shades of yellow, orange, red, and burgundy, often with each petal featuring multiple hues.
    2. Ring of Fire Sunflower: This variety has a unique pattern with dark red centers that transition to golden-yellow tips, giving a “ring of fire” effect.
    3. Gypsy Charmer Sunflower: The Gypsy Charmer sunflower is known for its unique and striking coloration. It features petals that are a warm, honey-orange hue, often with a darker, rusty red ring circling the dark brown center disc. This bi-colored pattern gives the Gypsy Charmer a distinctive and attractive appearance, making it stand out among other sunflower varieties.
    4. Tiger Eye Sunflower: The Tiger Eye features golden-yellow petals with a reddish-brown ring near the center, creating a striking contrast.
    5. Strawberry Blonde Sunflower: These sunflowers have light yellow petals with a rose-pink blush, starting at the base and blending toward the edges.
    6. Evening Sun Sunflower: Evening Sun sunflowers boast a warm blend of colors, usually red, orange, and yellow, often with each petal featuring multiple colors.

    These bi-colored varieties add a unique and visually exciting element to gardens and floral arrangements, with their contrasting and blended hues creating a vibrant display.

    Chocolate sunflower showcasing it's bi-colored petals changing from burgundy near the centre to yellow at the tips.

    Green Sunflower Varieties

    Green sunflowers are unique and add an unusual, eye-catching element to gardens and floral arrangements. Here’s a list of some green sunflower varieties:

    1. Jade Sunflower: This sunflower has pale green petals toward the center. It’s a taller variety, making a striking statement in any garden. The flowers look ivory to cream with a distinct green hew to them.
    2. Prado Green Sunflower: This pollenless variety with soft green petals is ideal for cut flower arrangements. The Prado Green is known for its uniform blooms and long vase life.
    3. Green Wizard Sunflower: The Green Wizard is a sunflower variety notable for its lack of traditional petals. It features a dark, almost black center surrounded by green sepals, giving it a distinct, practically cone-like appearance.

    These green sunflower varieties offer a unique and refreshing take on the traditional sunflower, perfect for adding a touch of novelty and elegance to gardens and floral designs.

    Green sunflower with soft pestals and green center.

    Purple Sunflower Varieties

    Purple sunflowers are pretty rare and offer a stunning and unique look. While traditional sunflowers have bright yellow and orange hues, some varieties exhibit purple tones. Here’s a list of sunflower varieties that have purple or purplish characteristics:

    1. Chianti Sunflower: While primarily known for its deep burgundy-red petals, the Chianti sunflower can sometimes have a purple hue, especially under certain light conditions. We love this one for our cutting garden.
    2. Ms. Mars Sunflower: This variety is notable for its dusky purple-to-plum colored petals. It’s a dwarf sunflower suitable for smaller spaces or container gardening.
    3. Black Magic Sunflower: This is another variety where the deep, dark red petals can sometimes appear almost purple, depending on the lighting and growing conditions.

    It’s important to note that true purple sunflowers are rare, with deep reds or burgundies sometimes appearing purple. Gardeners and flower enthusiasts highly prize these varieties for their unique and striking appearance.

    Purple chianti sunflower with full  petals.

    Pink Sunflower Varieties

    Pink sunflowers are unique and less common than the traditional yellow varieties. However, a few sunflower varieties exhibit pink hues or overtones. Here is a list of sunflower varieties that have pinkish characteristics:

    1. Strawberry Blonde Sunflower: This type of flower is recognized for its breathtaking pastel pink petals with bright lemon-yellow borders. The pink is more prominent at the base of each petal, creating a beautiful contrast.
    2. Ms. Mars Sunflower: While primarily a purplish variety, Ms. Mars can sometimes exhibit pinkish tones, especially in the lighter parts of its petals.
    3. Rosy-Finch Sunflower: This variety can display a subtle pink blush, particularly towards the center of the petals, blending into more traditional sunflower yellow.
    4. Cherry Rose Sunflower: The Cherry Rose sunflower has a rich, deep pink to rosy-red color, making it one of the more distinctly pink varieties.
    5. Prado Red Sunflower: While primarily red, the Prado Red can sometimes exhibit pink overtones, especially in lighter shades.
    6. Suntastic Pink: Plants with early blooming and abundant flowers produce bicolor 5-6 inch blooms with golden pink petals surrounding a black center.

    It’s worth noting that authentic pink sunflowers are rare. Often, what’s labeled as “pink” is a blend of light red, purple, or orange hues that create a pinkish appearance. With their exceptional coloring, these sunflower varieties are highly desirable for their extraordinary beauty in gardens and floral displays.

    Colorful Pink sunflower against a green background

    Sunflower Colors: An Overview

    We’re all familiar with the golden yellow petals of standard sunflower, and we may even have planted several varieties of yellow sunflower seeds over the years. Still, maybe this year it’s time to try something different. Planting a sunflower color beyond the anticipated yellow will make your garden stand out and add a focal point. Plus, kids LOVE wild-colored sunflowers, so grab a few bags of fun-colored seeds, get planting, and see what you think.

    Finding SPecialty Sunflower Seeds

    When using sunflower seeds, it’s essential to consider the variety characteristics and seed quality and the supplier’s reputation. A supplier with a good reputation will have positive reviews and a history of delivering quality products. Read customer reviews or ask experienced gardeners for recommendations on trustworthy suppliers that offer high-quality seeds. 

    1. National Sunflower Association: Find sunflower suppliers, producers, and manufacturers across the U.S. with this national listing, including hybrid seed suppliers. National Sunflower Association​​.
    2. Park Seed: Since 1863, Park Seed has been supplying vegetable and flower seeds across the U.S. They offer a variety of seeds, including organic vegetables, heirloom varieties, and garden-ready plants. Park Seed​​.
    3. Johnny’s Selected Seeds: Johnny’s selection includes open-pollinated, hybrid, and pollenless sunflowers with diverse colors, heights, and flowering and branching habits, allowing for extended harvest and various bloom days. Johhny’s Selected Seeds​​.

    Learn More About Growing Sunflowers

    We have a wealth of information to help you grow the best sunflowers possible. Over the years, we have tested numerous varieties and grown sunflowers for fun, and as a result, we have gathered a lot of information that we can share with you. The information can guide you in planting wonderful sunflowers in your summer and fall gardens. Below are some of our most popular posts that will help you get started:

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