Dark Sunflower Varieties That Add Drama To The Garden

(Image credit: Oleksandr Bushko)

It's time to think outside the box when it comes to sunflowers. The iconic yellow-petal varieties represent only a portion of the Helianthus species. With a multitude of different color sunflowers in vivid shades of orange, red, and burgundy, you're sure to find one that's just right for that special spot in the garden.

Orange Sunflowers

  • Orange Sun – The fuzzy, double-petal flowers of this cultivar are an intriguing change from traditional sunflowers. Expect 6 inch (15 cm.) flowers on 6 to 8 feet (2 m.) tall plants.
  • Soraya – An All American Selection winner, Soraya has golden orange petals and a chocolate brown center. This multi-branching variety reaches 4 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) tall.
  • Velvet Queen – This variety produces a multitude of 6 to 8 inch (15-20 cm.) wide, dark orange sunflowers. Plants reach 4 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m.) tall. 

Red Sunflowers

  • Candy Mountain – This giant hybrid produces an abundance of flowers on multi-branching stems. Petal color ranges from cherry red to burgundy with yellow tips. 
  • Chianti – Gold-flecked, dark red petals dominate the flowers on this multi-branching variety. Expect a mature height of 4 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m.).
  • The Joker – An unusual hybrid bicolor sunflower with concentric rings of yellow and red petals on 6 foot tall (2 m.) plants.
  • Moulin Rouge – An heirloom dark red sunflower variety with nearly black centers. The petals fade to cherry red at the tips. This branching variety of sunflower can reach 7 feet (2 m.) tall. 
  • Pastiche – A variety with mixed flowers that range from buff to lighter shades of red. These multi-branching plants reach 4 to 5 feet (1-1.5 m.) tall.
  • Ring of Fire – As the name implies, this beautiful 4 to 5 foot (1-1.5 m.) tall, bicolored sunflower has a brown center that is encircled by red petals with golden tips. 
  • Strawberry Blonde – The dark centers of these sunflowers contrast nicely with the cream-tipped rosy, pink petals. The 5 to 6 inch (13-15 cm.) flowers grow on multi-branching plants which can reach 6 feet (2 m.) tall.
  • Strawberry Lemonade – This multi-branching, 5 to 6 foot (1.5-2 m.) variety produces an abundance of multicolored flowers in shades of lemon, pink, and dark red. 

Burgundy and Dark Sunflowers

  • Bashful – This petite 36 inch (91 cm.) tall sunflower has pastel blooms in creamy yellow with a ring of light burgundy surrounding a dark center. The 4 inch (10 cm.) pollenless blooms are the perfect size for cut flowers.
  • Black Beauty – With deeply rich maroon petals, this is perhaps the darkest sunflower cultivar. Branching plants reach 4 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) tall.
  • Chocolate Cherry – Multi-branching 4 to 5 foot (1-1.5 m.) stems topped with burgundy-brown petals and a chocolatey brown center gives this sunflower cultivar a stately presence in the garden. 
  • Ruby Moon – This multi-branching burgundy sunflower variety grows 5 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) tall and produces an array of petal colors in various hues of ruby, maroon, and red. Petals can be solid or tipped in creamy white. 
Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.