15 Most Beautiful Types of Sunflowers

Types of Sunflowers

Summer is finally here and nothing says summer quite like the sunflower! With petals to match the sun’s glowing rays, it is no wonder these flowers are one of the most popular. Sunflowers make up the genus Helianthus which contains almost 70 different species. The meaning of sunflower is rooted in it’s genus Helianthus- helios meaning sun and anthos meaning flower.

Grown year-round, sunflowers have large flower faces and bright petals. Relatively easy to cultivate, sunflowers love direct sunlight and flourish best in hot summer months. Because of their large roots and long stems, sunflowers are heavy feeders and grow best in nutrient-rich soil. The most common sunflower is that of the species Annuus and is known for its ordinary height and yellow color.

However, despite popular belief, not all sunflowers grow to be the same size and color. Because of the several different species that occupy the Helianthus genus, we are going to break it down into three groups for you:

  • Tall Sunflowers

  • Dwarf Sunflowers

  • Colored Sunflowers

With the diversity of sunflower types and many different colors, we have also included a visual guide at the bottom featuring the eight most popular types of colored sunflowers for home decor!


Tall Sunflowers

Because of their tall and rough stems, sunflowers can grow to be several feet high. Soaring to as high as 16 feet tall, these giant beauties are always trying to get their vibrant petals closer to the sun. The sunflowers that grow the tallest usually have big single stalks with large brown centers that connect to golden yellow petals.

Birds love tall sunflowers, because of their height and ability to produce a plethora of seeds in their centers. However, the bigger the sunflower, the bigger the responsibility, so be prepared to spend a lot of time and care on your flower if you want it to reach its maximum height.

Here is a list of the most popular sunflowers of the tall variety:


  • True to its name, the Skyscraper sunflower rises high above the ground and can reach heights of up to 12 feet.

  • These plants are held up by durable stalks and can produce 14-inch flower petals.

Sunforest Mix

  • This sunflower’s height can get anywhere from 10-15 feet high and 40 inches across.

  • When planting these it is important to leave three to four feet between them so they have room to grow.

American Giant

  • We recommend sectioning off a corner of your garden for this one because this sunflower can grow up to 15 feet!

  • With the long length off the stem and a face that grows to be about one foot in width, it is no wonder they call this sunflower the American Giant.

Russian Mammoth

  • This sunflower’s height ranges from 9 to 12 feet high and is used in a lot of county fairs and flower shows because of its size and effortless ability to grow.

  • The Russian Mammoth lives best in a Mediterranean climate and can propagate as early as April.

Schweinitz’s Sunflower

  • This sunflower is one of the rarest species in America and is named after Lewis David von Schweintz a botanist who discovered the species in the early 1800s.

  • Its average height is about 6.5 feet, but has been seen to grow up to 16 feet tall!

Dwarf Sunflowers

Most people like to think of sunflowers as tall beams not really suited for gardens. However, because of the increased hybridizing of these plant types, there are now a number of sunflowers that grow to heights of only three feet or smaller! Scientifically known as dwarf sunflowers, these plants love to grow in bunches and occupy small spaces such as gardens and planters.

Dwarf sunflowers have the same low maintenance care requirements as their taller family members and grow best when in full sunlight. Because of their smaller stalks, seeds only need to be placed three to six inches away.

Here is a list of the most popular sunflowers of the dwarf variety:

Sundance Kid

  • One of the very first dwarf sunflowers to ever be domesticated, this flower grows anywhere between one to two feet tall.

  • Reaching about knee high with bicolor red and yellow petals, this dwarf sunflower is truly one of a kind.

Little Becka

  • The average height of this pollenless sunflower is around one to two feet tall and can also be classified as a bi-colored sunflower because of its bright orange and red petals.

  • The Little Becka looks great in gardens when wanting to add a little splash of color.


  • The Pacino sunflower, also known as the “dwarf pacino gold,” usually grows to be about 12 to 16 inches with a maximum height of two feet.

  • These sunflowers produce multiple heads on each plant and look great in large pots or planters.

Suntastic Yellow

  • Only getting to be about 20 inches tall, what these sunflowers don’t have in height they make up for in bold golden petals.

  • The Suntastic Yellow likes to grow in packs of about five or eight and is perfect for gardens or bouquets.

Sunny Smile

  • Ranging from 12 to 15 inches tall, these miniature sunflowers bloom best in early to late summer.

  • The Sunny Smile’s small size makes them extremely easy to grow, and their sturdy stalks are perfect when gardening with children or pets.

Colored Sunflowers

Just when you thought sunflowers couldn’t get any more beautiful, they now come in an assortment of colors thanks to hybridizing. You can now mix and match your favorite types and add splashes of color to your garden, patio or dining room table.

From creamy custard to deep red wine, here is a list of the most popular sunflowers of the colored variety:


  • The Terracotta is different from other colored sunflowers because instead of orange and red hues, it produces a more brown color on its petals.

  • The brown clay color it possesses makes it ideal for fall displays.


  • This flower is known for its dark earthy hues that can range between browns, reds and golds.

  • The Earthwalker can grow anywhere between six to nine feet tall and is perfect for making a statement in the garden.

Ms. Mars

  • This striking flower has gorgeous red-to-purple hues that transform to a subtle yellow on the tips.

  • They grow to be about two feet tall and look great in flower beds and borders.


  • Without knowing this type of sunflower beforehand, one might not even recognize it.

  • Arguably one of the darkest sunflowers in the species Helianthus, the deep red wine petals of the Chianti make it perfect for a dramatic contrast in any garden.

Moulin Rouge

  • No other sunflower quite matches the consistent, unique color the Moulin Rouge.

  • Like its exotic name, this sunflower develops an extravagance of burgundy red petals that look fantastic in bouquets.


8 Most Popular Colored Sunflowers

Because there are so many different types of colored sunflowers, they are easy to work into home decor. To help you choose which sunflowers work best for your home decor, here is a visual guide to the eight most popular colored sunflowers.



sunflowerselections.com  |  northcreeknurseries.com  |  almanac.com  |  homeguides.sfgate.com  |  theflowerexpert.com