Grow a Garden of Winning Sunflowers!
The Sunflower is one of the most popular flowers grown in today’s gardens. From first-time to experienced gardeners, many gravitate to these bold, easy-to-grow flowers.
Sunflowers originated in the Americas and domestic seeds dating back to 2100 BC have been found in Mexico. Native Americans grew sunflowers as a crop, and explorers eventually brought the flowers to Europe in the 1500s. Over the next few centuries, sunflowers became increasingly popular on the European and Asian continent, with Russian farmers growing over 2 million acres in the early 19th century (most of which were used to manufacture sunflower oil).
So dive into these golden beauties and pick a few of your favorites, whether grown in-ground or in containers, they are sure to bring a few smiles.
Ring of Fire is a five-inch sunflower having golden petal edges and a ring of red surrounding the chocolate brown center. Decidedly different from other sunflowers, Ring of Fire stands out in a crowd of plain gold or yellow flowers. Later to bloom, Ring of Fire may require 120 days to show bicolor blooms, but this late-season display is often what the garden needs for a fresh new look. Needing a full-sun garden, Ring of Fire plants may reach 4 to 5 feet tall, spreading 2 to 3 feet. The long flower stems are perfect for cut flowers. If not cut, flowers may produce seeds for wildlife, another benefit to growing Ring of Fire.
Soraya was the first sunflower in AAS history to earn an AAS Award. One of the distinct qualities is orange petals whereas most sunflowers have golden petals. Soraya sunflowers are eye-catching because of the orange petals with a chocolate brown center. Soraya plants are branching and vigorous producing 4- to 6-inch blooms on long stems, perfect for cut flowers. Soraya will flower in about 80-90 days from sowing seed. Plants are self-supporting and may attain a height of five to six feet in the full-sun garden. Soraya flowers can produce seeds for birds if left on the plants to mature.
Suntastic is a dwarf sunflower (20″ tall) perfect as a cheerful, long-blooming potted plant or window box accent or maybe to add a burst of color to a sunny garden bed. Gardeners will love the number of flowers each plant produces up to twenty 5-6 inch flowers per plant in three successive blooming periods. Suntastic will bloom in less than 65 days after sowing so by starting indoors, sunflower lovers can get their favorite bloom fix early in the summer.
Concert Bell puts on quite a performance with a unique flower presentation of multiple clusters of 10 to 12 flowers on an erect columnar stem. Beautiful golden yellow blooms appear earlier than the comparisons. Each plant grows to a very uniform height of 5 to 6 feet and if used as a cut flower, makes an instant, ready-made bouquet from just one cut. Excellent seed germination makes this beauty very easy to grow and is perfect for continuous sowing to keep blooms going through the end of summer. Concert Bell was trialed in a year of adverse weather conditions and multiple judges commented on its durability and sturdiness even through strong storms and winds.