A single plant can pump out hundreds of blooms between spring and fall.
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It's the year of the sunflower, the National Garden Bureau has declared. And what better bloom to symbolize hope for brighter days ahead? While there are all kinds of beautiful varieties of sunflowers (Helianthus), both annual and perennial, one of the most prolific when it comes to blooming is a newer annual variety called SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl from Monrovia. Rather than growing tall with a few huge blooms at the top the way many types of annual sunflowers do, this floriferous phenomenon stays more compact with multiple stems and hundreds of bright yellow blooms. Each flower has a dark brown center with a mahogany ring around it.

close up of sunflowers blooming
Credit: Courtesy of Doreen Wynja/Monrovia

It's easy to see where the name Sunbelievable comes from. According to Monrovia's new plant manager Georgia Clay, this sunflower produces a truly jaw-dropping amount of blooms in comparison to the "one and done" behavior of traditional sunflowers. "It's over 1,000 flowers on a single plant and that kind of sounds too good to be true, but it's honestly not an over-exaggeration," Clay says. "It just flowers like a machine."

Another quality that sets SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl apart from other sunflower varieties is that it blooms continually from spring until fall when a frost finally brings the show to an end. This variety gets all its flower power from the fact that it doesn't make seeds, which means the plant has more energy to use on blooming.

sunflowers in a pot next to a wooden adirondack chair
Credit: Courtesy of Doreen Wynja/Monrovia

This compact sunflower variety stays under three feet tall, making it a good choice for containers or the front of a flower bed. Clay also recommends it for pollinator gardens, because the ample blooms provide a nectar source for bees and other insects. In her own garden, she pairs SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl with other brightly colored plants for an eye-catching display, but Clay says they would also work to liven up a monochromatic backdrop of evergreen shrubs.

"People are looking for things they can add to their garden that make a big impact, and they don't have to spend a lot of time on it," Clay says. And SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl delivers by offering excellent heat and drought tolerance; it thrives even in warmer climates. The biggest problem Clay sees with the plant is overwatering, so use a light hand with the hose or watering can. If the first couple inches of soil feel damp, wait another day or two before adding more moisture.

Overall, Clay says that Sunbelievable Brown Eyed Girl is forgiving and "super tough," providing three-season value with its plentiful blooms. She thinks it is easy to love because "everybody knows what a sunflower is. It appeals to the masses and gives you all of the benefits of modern breeding, which is this new form with lots of flowers."

Monrovia is also releasing a second variety in the SunBelievable line this spring called Golden Girl. It is similar to Brown-Eyed Girl except that the blooms are all yellow, without the reddish brown ring around the center. Both of the varieties are available through Monrovia's website or you can use its search tool to find garden centers in your area that carry the company's plants.

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