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Big, beautiful, and old-fashioned, sunflowers fit into every garden. Plant breeders have been hard at work producing a wide variety of plants, from those that grow 12 feet tall to compact selections that stand only 3 feet. The color range is wide, too, with almost every shade of yellow, orange, and red.
how to grow Sunflower, annual
top varieties for Sunflower, annual
A big, bodacious, beautiful plant, perennial sunflower is imposingly tall and floppy with large (up to 4-inch), bright yellow flowers that form in loose clusters. Most of these natives thrive in full sun and are not fussy about soil. The taller ones may need support. Excellent for cut flowers.
This North American native is a relative of the sunflower, and as you watch it grow, you'll see how. From mid- to late summer, the plant produces yellow daisy flowers on tall stalks, but the edible part is the sweet, nutty, knobby tubers produced underground. If you haven't grown Jerusalem artichoke before, it's a fun and fascinating plant to try.Slice raw tubers to add crunch to salads. Or cook them and use similar to potatoes. The plant spreads from tubers left in the soil and can become weedy.
more varieties for Sunflower, annual
'Autumn Beauty' sunflower
Helianthus 'Autumn Beauty' bears large reddish-orange flowers on 5-foot-tall plants.
'Evening Sun' sunflower
Helianthus 'Evening Sun' bears reddish-mahogany flowers on large, 6-foot-tall plants.
Helianthus 'Gloriosa' bears large reddish-orange flowers on 8-foot-tall plants with multiple branches.
'Italian White' sunflower
Helianthus 'Italian White' bears creamy-white flowers on 5-foot-tall plants.
'Music Box' dwarf sunflower
Helianthus 'Music Box' bears red and yellow flowers on dwarf 3-foot-tall plants.
Helianthus 'Sunbeam' bears pollenless yellow flowers with yellow centers on 6-foot-tall plants.
'Teddy Bear' double sunflower
Helianthus 'Teddy Bear' bears interesting double yellow flowers on dwarf 3-foot-tall plants.
'Velvet Queen' sunflower
Helianthus 'Velvet Queen' bears rich, rusty-red flowers shaded with bronze on plants that grow 5 feet tall.
plant Sunflower, annual with
Plant a castor bean and then stand back. This is one of the fastest-growing, giant annuals in the garden, rivaled only perhaps by giant sunflower. By midsummer, you'll have a huge (it can hit up to 20 feet) tropical plant sporting burgundy foliage. It's a great plant to grow with kids. Be careful, though. The seeds are extremely toxic.Wait to plant it outdoors after all danger of frost has passed; castor bean hates cool weather and won't grow well until temperatures heat up in summer.
Try this delightful flower to grow something different and striking in your garden. You don't see this old-fashioned plant as often as you used to, but when you do it is spectacular. Chains of delicate pink flowers hang down from tall stems that can reach 12 or more feet tall on this fast-growing annual. It's great for creating a quick privacy screen or make a bold statement in big containers. Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate can self-seed in the garden.
Want fast color for just pennies? Plant zinnias! A packet of seeds will fill an area with gorgeous flowers in an amazing array of shapes and colors -- even green! And it will happen in just weeks. There are dwarf types of zinnias, tall types, quill-leaf cactus types, spider types, multicolor, special seed blends for cutting, special blends for attracting butterflies, and more.Zinnias are so highly attractive to butterflies that you can count on having these fluttering guests dining in your garden every afternoon. But to attract the most, plant lots of tall, red or hot pink zinnias in a large patch. 'Big Red' is especially nice for this, and the flowers are outstanding, excellent for cutting. Zinnias grow quickly from seed sown right in the ground and do best in full sun with dry to well-drained soil.