Helianthus is the scientific name for different species of sunflowers, of which the Common sunflower is the most well-known.
But did you know there are so many types of sunflowers that you may not have seen them all? In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at 10 of the most beautiful types of Helianthus that you may have never seen before.
The Skyscraper is named for how high it grows into the sky. This sunflower knows how to make all the other sunflowers look even smaller. Growing up to 12 feet tall, they can reach 14.
While they might look like the Common Sunflower, the Skyscraper is taller, with massive 2 feet leaves growing from the stalk.
We have to add the Skyscraper to the list as it is significantly larger than other types of Helianthus. While they don’t naturally appear in the wild, they are a sight when you grow them in your garden.
They grow best in the warm summer months, so you should start planting them once the winter frost has passed.
2. Moulin Rouge
Do you know what sets the Moulin Rouge apart from other sunflowers? Unlike the bright yellow blooms of the Common Sunflower, we’re looking at a dark red bloom from Moulin Rouge.
They have a dramatic color, with a dark brown, almost black center. The Moulin Rouge is able to attract so many types of pollinators, from bees and butterflies to so much more. Best of all, plenty of seeds from the Moulin Rouge attract birds to your garden.
While they don’t grow nearly as tall as the Skyscraper, the Moulin Rouge easily grows up to 5 or 6 feet. They usually appear best in a garden full of yellow sunflowers, standing out for their dark and alluring color scheme.
3. Golden Bear
The Golden Bear is sometimes known as the Teddy Bear or Golden Honey Bear Sunflower. It can grow up to 10 feet tall but has dwarf varieties that can grow to only 3 feet.
What makes the Golden Bear Sunflower different from the rest is that it grows double flowers, meaning that it has many more petals than your average sunflower.
These sunflowers are perfect for attracting pollinators into your garden, and it is best grown in the spring (Are sunflowers weeds? Read more about it here). What makes this interesting is that you can keep the Golden Bear indoors.
However, we would recommend growing them outside to get the full effect of these sunflowers. Due to the number of flower heads, they appear like a huge powder puff, so if you cut them correctly, they can be a great addition to your vase.
4. Strawberry Blonde
Sunflowers don’t always have to be a single color, and this is proven by the Strawberry Blonde Sunflower. Named for the hair color, the Strawberry Blonde isn’t exactly red or yellow.
It has a mixture of both, giving it a distinct appearance. You’ll find that the outer petals are a lighter shade of yellow or pink and then deepen into a darker pink as you get closer to the disc.
These Strawberry Blondes usually grow to roughly 5 or 6 feet; surprisingly, they’re pollen-free. Suppose you’re looking for a Helianthus to grow without aggravating your allergies.
In that case, this is a perfect addition to your garden. It usually blooms to six inches in diameter, and because of how easily they grow, you can put them in a vase and put them on display in your home.
5. Schweinitz’s Sunflower
One of the rarest Helianthus of them all is the Helianthus Schweinitzii or Schweinitz’s Sunflower. You can only find these sunflowers in North and South Carolina, where you’ll find them as you travel.
Unlike other sunflowers, they have fewer petals and can grow from 3 to 13 feet, but they have been said to reach 16. As a perennial, you can expect to find them flowering in early October, but only in the Piedmont region.
Schweinitz’s Sunflower is so rare because they were classified as endangered in the ‘90s. One factor that impacts its endangered status is where they occur.
You’ll find them in rapidly-developing areas, which means that the greatest threat it faces is human impact. Due to the urbanization of these areas, the Schqeinitz’s Sunflower is losing the area it can grow, so North and South Carolina have protections in place to preserve them.
6. Suntastic Yellow
The Suntastic Yellow Sunflower is a variation of the Common Sunflower, but it is a dwarf version that is renowned for its bright yellow coloring and black center.
Usually, the blossoms grow up to 6 inches and usually boast 20 flowers per plant. They only take 65 days to grow, and while they don’t grow as tall as other sunflowers, they are a great addition to your home.
Usually, they grow up to 20 inches tall, and many birds, butterflies, and bees enjoy them for pollen and seeds. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance sunflower, then you should consider the Suntastic Yellow.
Along with its bright colors, it can be cut for a display of beautiful flowers, making it an excellent addition to your vase if you want an indoor display.
The Earthwalker is a unique sunflower that has a mixture of dark red petals that are yellow towards the end of them. They bloom in double layers and have a dark center.
You can expect Earthwalkers to grow between 5 and 7 inches, making them a unique addition to your gardens. They grow multiple heads that aren’t always red and yellow.
Sometimes the colors vary, so they appear to be orange, bronze, and even chocolate colored. If you want an alternative version of the Common Sunflower, then this is an amazing choice.
We find that they flower best from July and into September. Once they bloom, you’ll find various insects and birds showing interest in your Earthwalker.
If you want a Helianthus that leans more towards the late summer and fall months, I recommend you plant this one.
8. Italian White
Otherwise known as Helianthus Debilis, the Italian White is an unusual sunflower that offers a creamy white color.
It is not as bright as other plants and is closer to shades of primrose than your average Helianthus. Usually, they grow between 5 and 7 feet tall, and their blooms are often 4 inches across.
With a chocolate-colored center, the Italian White is an interesting sunflower that is also perfect for placing in a vase due to its delicate color scheme.
The Italian White Sunflower is also a popular choice for gardens, especially if you want to attract more butterflies and birds to your garden.
They are easy to grow but should always be placed a little bit further away from other plants so they can show off their foliage as they continue to grow.
9. Ring Of Fire
There’s no surprise where the Ring of Fire got its name. The Ring of Fire looks exactly as it sounds, with darker red petals towards the center.
As the petals grow out, they become a brighter yellow, but you can also find shades of orange. There is a dark center, so it looks like this sunflower is truly warmed by the sun.
The Ring of Fire is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to attract birds and pollinators to their gardens. They usually grow between 4 and 5 feet but sometimes require some support to grow properly.
When they bloom, you’ll find the flower grows 5 inches across, so you can appreciate its flame-like disposition.
10. Starburst Aura
The Starburst Aura is another great option for anyone who loves gardening but may struggle with pollen allergies.
Compared to other sunflowers, they have a shaggier appearance, with fully double blooms that appear all around, even in the center of the flower.
Due to their double bloom, they have a distinct appearance, making them popular among many Helianthus enthusiasts.
With a fuzzy appearance and a unique shape, the Sunburst Aura can grow between 18 and 24 inches, making them a smaller choice. However, despite their short height, they’re an amazing addition to your sunflower collection.
We hope you enjoyed learning about other types of Helianthus. Over the years, more gardeners have been working to make more versions of sunflowers.
While many of these are based on the Common Sunflower, there are other breeds you should consider discovering more about.
Frequently Asked Questions
Helios is the Ancient Greek sun god, while anthos is for flowers. This is because the sunflower is associated with the myth of Clytie and Helios.
Clytie was a water nymph in love with Helios, who would watch him cross the sky for days without food and water. Eventually, she was turned into a sunflower, so they always face the sun.
Usually, they grow between 5 and 10 feet tall, but they can grow taller depending on the type of sunflower they are.
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