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Helianthus annuus (Common Sunflower)

Common Sunflower, Comb Flower, Golden Flower of Peru, St Bartholomew's Star

Helianthus annuus, Common Sunflower, Comb Flower, Golden Flower of Peru, St Bartholomew's Star, Yellow Flowers, Yellow Perennials

Helianthus annuus (Common Sunflower) is a tall, fast-growing annual with broad, oval to heart-shaped, roughly hairy leaves. It produces huge, brilliant flowers in summer, up to 12 in. across (30 cm), with yellow petals surrounding a dark chocolate central disk. Borne on stiff upright stalks, the flower heads follow the sun from morning to night. Attractive to bees, their central disk gives way to sunflower seeds that provide food for birds in fall and winter. These showstoppers make outstanding cut flowers and are valuable additions to beds and borders. Loved by the artist Van Gogh and generations of children, Sunflowers are fun, easy to grow, and require little care.

Extensive hybridizing has resulted in a great number of cultivars providing a wide range of colors (yellow, red, orange, creamy-white and bicolor), flower shapes (short or long rays, frilled or double), and sizes (dwarf to giant).

  • Typically grows up to 3-10 ft. tall (90-300 cm) and 18-36 in. wide (45-90 cm). May need support
  • Prefers full sun and enjoys moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist, neutral to alkaline, well-drained soils. However, this plant is not too fussy about soils and tolerates poor soils. Taller varieties should be sited in locations sheltered from strong winds.
  • Low maintenance, this is an excellent choice for the back of perennial borders, where dazzling flowers are welcomed in any color scheme. Perfectly suited to the cutting garden or cottage gardens.
  • Attractive to birds, butterflies, and bees, it is deer resistant.
  • Harvest seed for use the following year. However, be aware that some cultivar seeds may not produce plants with the same characteristic as the parental plant.
  • Native to the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico

Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Gorgeous Sunflowers


Cherished for their beauty, Sunflowers (Helianthus) are striking ornamental annuals or perennial plants grown for their colorful summer and fall blooms. Fast-growing, they can reward you with glamorous blooms between 55 and 100 days after planting. Here are some basic rules that need to be followed to enjoy their splendid flowers.

Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 11
Heat Zones 1 - 12
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Annuals
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Helianthus
Common names Common Sunflower, Sunflower
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Height 3' - 10'
(90cm - 3m)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 30" - 36"
(80cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral, Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Native Plants United States, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, California, Northeast, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Cutting Garden
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Helianthus (Sunflower)
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Helianthus annuus ProCut® White Nite (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ProCut® Red (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Sunrich Summer Provence’ (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Sunrich Gold’ (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Sunny Smile’ (Common Sunflower)
Helianthus annuus ‘Velvet Queen’ (Common Sunflower)

Recommended Companion Plants

Pennisetum orientale (Oriental Fountain Grass)
Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C. Buxton’ (Golden Marguerite)
Eryngium planum ‘Blue Glitter’ (Flat Sea Holly)
Allium sphaerocephalon (Drumstick Allium)
Zinnia elegans (Zinnia)
Cosmos Flowers

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

How to Choose the Perfect Sunflower for Your garden and Pots
10 Reasons Why You Should Grow Sunflowers in Your Garden
Companion Planting With Annuals
Edible Flowers: 16 Varieties to Beautify Your Garden and Plate
Best Annual Flowers For Your Vegetable Garden
Best Annual Flowers and Plants for Full Sun
Learn How To Plant, Care and Grow Gorgeous Sunflowers
39 Most Beautiful Sunflower Types for Your Garden
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 11
Heat Zones 1 - 12
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Annuals
Plant Family Compositae
Genus Helianthus
Common names Common Sunflower, Sunflower
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Summer (Mid, Late)
Height 3' - 10'
(90cm - 3m)
Spread 1' - 3'
(30cm - 90cm)
Spacing 30" - 36"
(80cm - 90cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Alkaline, Neutral, Acid
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Cut Flowers, Showy
Native Plants United States, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maryland, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rocky Mountains, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, California, Northeast, Ohio, Kansas, North Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Tennessee, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming
Tolerance Drought, Deer, Dry Soil
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Prairie and Meadow, Informal and Cottage, Cutting Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Helianthus (Sunflower)
Not sure which Helianthus (Sunflower) to pick?
Compare Now

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