11 Must-Grow Sunflower Varieties for Cut Flowers in 2021

Sunflowers make great cutting flowers, but standard large-seeded varieties for eating tend to be too awkward for bouquets. Thankfully, there are hundreds of different sunflower varieties of varying colors and sizes to grow.

Below is just a short list of some of the must-grow varieties of sunflowers for cut flowers, whether you want to make arrangements, give them as gifts, or simply brighten up your home with freshly picked sunflowers. Some are single-stemmed varieties and others are multibranched types, but most of these are pollenless varieties, which is great for those with allergies.

Sunflower VarietyMain Color(s)Pollen?
Autumn BeautyOrange, bronze, burgundy, and goldYes
Sunrich Summer ProvenceGoldPollen-Free
Teddy BearGolden yellowLow
Red Torch Mexican SunflowerRed-orange; gold centerYes
ChiantiBurgundyPollen-Free
ProCut Red/LemonReddish brown, pale yellowPollen-Free
ButtercreamCreamy pale yellowPollen-Free
JadeCreamy pale yellow; lime green centerPollen-Free
SunFill PurplePurple and green (calyx)Pollen-Free
FirecrackerMahogany and goldPollen-Free
The JokerRed-orange and goldPollen-Free

Recommended Varieties of Sunflowers for Cut Flowers

Autumn Beauty Sunflower

Highly branched variety with an array of fall colors

Color(s): Dark center with mixture of flowers of orange, bronze, burgundy, and gold
Height: 3 to 7 feet
Flower Size: 5 to 6 inches
Bloom Duration: 4+ weeks
Pollen: Yes
Get seeds: Baker Creek (US), Victory Seeds (US), Burpee (US), Seed Savers Exchange (US), Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), West Coast Seeds (Canada), McKenzie Seeds (Canada)

For those wanting something a little different from a traditional yellow sunflower, the Autumn Beauty provides a mix of colors ranging from golden to orange, bronze, and burgundy, making for a striking hedge or garden border.

But what sets the Autumn Beauty apart from other varieties is how many blooms it produces, with some plants putting out up to 20 flowers per plant from its branching side growth. This makes it excellent as a cutting flower as well as an incredible pollinator attractor. It does normal amounts of pollen, but if pollen is not an issue for you, the Autumn Beauty is highly recommended.

Pro-Tip: If you want to maximize the size of your sunflowers, prune away excess buds (they are edible!) so your plants can focus on one or a few flowers.

Sunrich Summer Provence

An early blooming, pollen-free, traditional sunflower

Color(s): Dark center with golden petals
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Flower Size: 4 to 6 inches
Bloom Duration: 3+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), Harris Seeds (US), Vesey’s (Canada)

One of the best traditional cutting sunflowers, the Sunrich Summer Provence is an early bloomer which produces beautiful, uniform sunflowers with traditional golden yellow-orange petals. However, these are male-sterile meaning they are pollen-free, making them perfect for people who have allergies.

Sunrich Summer Provence plants do not branch out much, so they grow more like single-stem sunflowers.

Since you can expect around one bloom per plant, planting seeds every 2-3 weeks in spring will stagger your blooms so you can take cuttings well into the fall.

Teddy Bear Sunflower

Fluffy, dwarf sunflower that makes a unique addition to any summer bouquet

Color(s): Golden yellow
Height: 1.5 to 3 feet
Flower Size: 3 to 6 inches
Bloom Duration: 5+ weeks
Pollen: Low
Get seeds: Baker Creek (US), Burpee (US), Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), West Coast Seeds (Canada)

The Teddy Bear sunflower is a dwarf double-flowered variety, meaning it has extra petals on the same flower – in this case, many extra petals which cover the entire sunflower. The result is a fluffy, shaggy-looking flower in a uniform golden yellow color.

This sunflower branches out with multiple blooms per plant throughout the season, and since it’s a dwarf reaching up to 3 feet tall, it is suitable for containers.

Teddy Bears make excellent cutting flowers, and although they do have pollen, the pollen count is much lower than regular sunflowers.

Red Torch Mexican Sunflower

A long-blooming, resilient cousin of the sunflower that adds fire to the garden

Color(s): Golden center with red/orange petals
Height: 3 to 6 feet
Flower Size: 2 to 3.5 inches
Bloom Duration: 5+ weeks
Pollen: Yes
Get seeds: Baker Creek (US), Southern Exposure (US), Select Seeds (US), West Coast Seeds (Canada)

The Red Torch Mexican sunflower not only brightens up the garden with its brilliant orange-red petals but can brighten up any bouquet. It also has a very long blooming season, lasting up to the first autumn frost.

Expect plenty of branching (with multiple blooms per plant) and towering sunflower-esque foliage if planted in-ground, and a bushy, shorter shrub if planted in containers.

It is not a true sunflower, so it’s not edible, but still makes a great cutting flower. Attract all the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your garden with the Red Torch.

Chianti Sunflower

An aptly-named, deep burgundy sunflower with multiple blooms per plant

Color(s): Dark center with burgundy petals; occasionally golden flecks around the center
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Flower Size: 3 to 4 inches
Bloom Duration: 4+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Burpee (US), Sunflower Selections (US), Honeyman Farms (US),

The Chianti sunflower adds a deep wine-red character to any bouquet and will attract all sorts of butterflies to your garden. This highly branched variety was developed over 20 years ago specifically for cutting, giving multiple pollenless blooms throughout the late summer and into fall. It also has somewhat purple stems, adding to its striking appearance.

In the garden, plant Chianti sunflowers as a border or mixed with other sunflowers in the same bed to add variety. One of the most vigorous red-colored sunflowers.

ProCut Red/Lemon Bicolor Sunflower

A stunning bicolor sunflower with bright lemon petal tips and uniform size

Color(s): Dark brown center, bicolor petals of reddish brown and pale yellow
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Flower Size: 3 to 4 inches
Bloom Duration: 4+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), Sunflower Selections (US), Hoss Tools (US), Harris Seeds (US)

Sunflower bicolor variability 

A bicolor version of the ProCut Lemon (another great sunflower variety), the ProCut Red/Lemon Bicolor sunflower keeps the bright, pale yellow petals but with a ring of reddish brown orbiting the dark center. Another benefit of this variety is that it was a very thick, sturdy stem.

ProCut sunflowers are preferred by market growers but are also fantastic for home gardeners looking to plant cut flowers.

This is a single stem sunflower, making it ideal for dense planting. Plant seeds every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure continued harvests into the fall.

 

Buttercream Sunflower

Stunning, multi-stemmed cream yellow sunflower that blooms earlier than usual

Color(s): Dark center surrounded by pale, cream yellow petals
Height: 4 to 5 feet
Flower Size: 3.5 to 4.5 inches
Bloom Duration: 5+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), Harris Seeds (US), STEMS Flower Farm (Canada), Dobies (UK), Chiltern Seeds (UK)

Buttercream 

If you prefer branching sunflowers, the Buttercream sunflower is a highly branched variety that produces multiple blooms over several weeks, 4 to 8 flowers on average per plant. This means you can enjoy it well into autumn but it also means you get multiple cuts per plant.

This lighter-colored variety is pale yellow with a dark brown center, giving it its buttercream name. Its stems are thinner than other varieties, so if you live in an area with high winds, they may need some support. Nevertheless, Buttercreams will sway in gentle breezes.

This is a pollen-free variety, but still produces lots of nectar for bees and butterflies.

 

Jade Sunflower

A bright sunflower with a green center and cream petals that nearly turn white when mature

Color(s): Lime green center surrounded by cream yellow petals
Height: 4 to 5 feet
Flower Size: 3 to 4 inches
Bloom Duration: 5+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), Sunflower Selections (US), Pinetree Garden Seeds (US), STEMS Flower Farm (Canada), Suttons (UK)

Jade Green Sunflower 

Similar to the Buttercream sunflower, the Jade sunflower has light creamy yellow petals. However, the center stays green, making the entire flower a bright addition to your bouquet. When fully opened, the lime green flower (hence the name Jade) almost looks white with its cream petals.

This is another branching, multiflowered, pollenless variety can brighten up bouquets with other flowers or stand on its own as a uniform white bouquet.

 

SunFill Purple Sunflower

A one-of-a-kind sunflower with almost unnoticeable petals but a striking purple calyx around a dark center

Color(s): Dark center surrounded by a green-purple calyx (petals are small and not really visible)
Height: 5 to 6 feet
Flower Size: 3 to 4 inches
Bloom Duration: 4+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), Burpee (US), Sunflower Selections (US), Harris Seeds (US), STEM Flower Farms (Canada)

Sunflower Sunfill Purple getting ready to open 

One of the most unusual sunflowers, the SunFill Purple sunflower is one with almost non-existent petals. Instead, the this variety is grown for the spiky leafy part around the flower (called the calyx), which turns purple.The purple calyx surrounds a dark, almost pitch black center, making it a striking addition to any bouquet. Cut before it fully opens for the best results.

Despite the uniqueness of this type of sunflower, it is just as easy to grow as any other. It’s a single stem variety, so plant these closer together to maximize yield. You can also spread out your blooms by planting every 2 to 3 weeks.

Highly recommended if you want to grow a truly unique cutting flower.

 

Firecracker Sunflower

A vibrant early sunflower with rich red and gold petals and vigorous bushy growth habit

Color(s): Dark center with bicolor mahogany and gold petals
Height: 2 to 4 feet
Flower Size: 4 to 6 inches
Bloom Duration: 5+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Johnny’s Selected Seeds (US), Harris Seeds (US), Swallowtail Garden Seeds (US), Sunflower Selections (US), Veseys (Canada)

The Firecracker sunflower is named for its almost starburst pattern of mahogany and gold petals around a dark brown center. If you skipped the Autumn Beauty because of its pollen, the Firecracker is a good substitute. It’s highly branched, taking on a shrub-like growth habit and hosting multiple blooms per plant.

It’s not a true dwarf sunflower, but because it’s a bit shorter than most varieties, it also does well in containers. In fact, some growers have noted that in small pots, it can grow very fast into a small plant with a single flower. It’s one of the earliest sunflowers to bloom on this list.

Overall, this is a great sunflower to grow if you want to try a nice bicolor variety that goes with traditional yellow sunflowers.

 

The Joker Sunflower

Semi-double-petaled flower that mimics the sunrise with its bicolor flowers

Color(s): Dark center with gold-tipped red-orange petals
Height: 4 to 8 feet
Flower Size: 4 to 7 inches
Bloom Duration: 5+ weeks
Pollen: Pollen-Free
Get seeds: Sunflower Selections (US), Hoss Tools (US), Pinetree Garden Seeds (US), Territorial Seed Company (US), Park Seed (US)

sunflower 'The Joker' 5 

Another double-flowered variety, the Joker sunflower has two clear sets of petals around a dark center. This unique variety’s colors are just as striking with its gold-tipped petals and a ring of red-orange which sometimes reminds you of the sunrise.

This variety is multibranched and has a long flowering period, so expect blooms well into the fall. And each flower appears slightly different in the degree of its double-petaledness.

A fantastic addition to any bouquet, and a wonderful attractor of beneficial insects to the garden.

 

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