Different Types & Varieties of Sunflowers (Rare & Multiple Headed)

different types varieties sunflowers

Sunflowers are one of the most beautiful and popular flowers in the world. There are many different types and varieties of sunflowers, each with their own unique appearance and characteristics. 

Some of the most popular types of sunflowers include the common sunflower, the giant sunflower, and the dwarf sunflower.  The most common type of sunflower is Helianthus annuus, which is an annual species that is typically grown for its seeds. 

However, there are many other species of sunflower that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as oil production, ornamental purposes, or even as livestock feed.

There are 70 different species of sunflower and something like 100 commonly grown varieties of the species Helianthus annuus. The majority of commonly grown sunflower varieties belong to this species, which is also known as the common sunflower.

In this article, we explore many popular varieties of sunflowers in the world. In addition to that, we look especially for rare types and multiple headed varieties.

Sunflowers Orignis and Etymology

Sunflowers have been around for a long time. Sunflowers are native to North America, and they were first cultivated by the Native Americans. 

The earliest cultivation of the sunflower goes back to about 8,000 years ago in southern Mexico. The sunflower was brought over to Europe in the early 16th century, and it was planted for ornamental purposes. 

The first recorded use of the word “sunflower” was in 1530. The word is derived from the Old English word sungefeower, which means “sun flower.” 

The scientific name for the sunflower is Helianthus annuus. The word “helianthus” comes from the Greek words “helios” (sun) and “anthos” (flower). 

Among the other species of the sunflower genus Helianthus that are frequently cultivated are Helianthus maximiliani and Helianthus tuberosus (the Jerusalem Artichoke).

How Many Different Types of Sunflowers Are There?

Sunflowers are commonly divided into three types: tall sunflowers, dwarf sunflowers, and colorful sunflowers. The names are pretty self explanatory as tall sunflowers grow over 10′ tall, dwarf sunflowers around 12″ tall, and colorful sunflowers grow into pink, maroon, violet, yellow, orange sunflowers that can be tall or dwarf.

Sunflower varieties can also be differentiated into single stem and branching types. Single stems have one flower head, and branching types have multiple flower heads.

There are also pollenless varieties of sunflowers available. Sunflowers are commonly grown commercially for their oil, so some varieties are selected based on their oil producing capabilities.

The following are popular varieties in each category.

Tall Sunflowers

Tall sunflowers are a type of sunflower that can grow to be 20 inches tall or taller. These flowers are beloved by many for their bright colors and cheerful appearance, and they make a great addition to any garden. If you’re looking to add some tall sunflowers to your garden, be sure to give them plenty of space to grow—they’ll need at least 18 inches of space between each plant.

Mammoth-Grey Stripe – A classic tall sunflower this mammoth variety will grow 9-12′ tall and produce sunflowers with flower heads 12″ wide. Mammoth sunflowers are an heirloom strain and there are multiple varieties available.

American Giant – These sunflower plants can get 15′ tall. They’re sturdier than other giant sunflowers and have smaller flower heads. Good for making a wind break or wall of sunflowers!

SkyScraper – This is another classic tall sunflower that can grow 12′ or taller with sunflower heads that can reach 14″ across. There are also Skyscraper branching sunflowers available that grow extremely tall and produce many smaller flower heads.

Giant Sungold – These branching sunflowers have multiple heads that can be 10″ in diameter. They produce sunflower heads with a shaggy carpet look. These sunflowers are appropriately referred to as “giant,” as they can grow up to 14 feet tall and have bright yellow faces that can be up to a foot wide.

Colorful Sunflowers

If you love eye-catching flowers, then you’ll adore the below colored sunflower varieties! These vibrant blooms come in a variety of colors, including yellow, red, and orange. 

Strawberry Blonde – 5-6′ tall sunflower plants with a pretty pink and burgundy flower heads that hold their petals. Sunflowers of the Strawberry Blonde variety have blooms with dark brown centers and petals that gradually transition from a reddish-pink shade to cream tips.

Red Sun – These sunflowers grow to around 6′ tall and produce flower heads 6-8″ wide. As the name states, these flowers are a dark red color.

Italian White – 4′-5′ tall sunflower plants that is branching and produce lots of 4″ wide flowers.

Shock–o–Lat – This sunflower grows about 6′ tall and is a branching type sunflower that grows multiple 6″ heads that have a burgundy center and petals with yellow colored edges.

Dwarf Sunflowers

Dwarf sunflowers are a type of sunflower that is smaller in size than other types of sunflowers. They can range in height from six inches to two feet tall. Dwarf sunflowers are typically used as ornamental plants, but they can also be used for food or oil production. There are many different varieties of dwarf sunflower, each with its own unique appearance and easy to grow habit.

Teddy Bear – Named for their fluffy looking flower Teddy Bear produces 8-12″ tall flowers with around 4″ sunflower heads that look like the fur on a teddy bear or a shag carpet.

Little Becka – This is a colorful dwarf sunflower that is a branching type sunflower that will grow to 3′ tall and produce multiple 6″ flower heads that have a yellow halo around the center part of the flowers and then red petals that are red or burgundy and tipped with yellow again.

Sunflower Series

ProCut Series – This series, created by sunflower growers, is a favorite amongst cut flower sunflower producers. This series has a range of colors including yellow, red, and lemon and produces single stalk sunflowers that are pollenless. Being pollenless, they are neat and clean after being cut and brought inside.

Sunrich Series – Yellow headed blooms that are 6″ wide. This series has yellow and orange sunflowers that grow to be 4′-6′ tall and are pollenless.

How Many Different Varieties of Sunflowers Are There?

There are something like 100 commonly cultivated sunflower varieties. As of the writing of this article, JohnnySeeds offers 55 varieties of sunflower, edenbrothers 47 varieties, harrisseeds 58, Burpee 54, and urbanfarmer 28.

Combining these domestic seed suppliers with what international ones offer, we could get to 100 different sunflower varieties without much trouble.

Are There Different Size Sunflowers?

Sunflowers do come in different sizes, with dwarf sunflowers growing from 1-3 feet tall and tall sunflower varieties reaching up to 15 feet tall. Many sunflower varieties fall into the 5-6′ range.

Best Sunflower Plants for Edible Seeds

Most sunflowers that are grown for their seeds to eat fall under the tall category. Mammoth Grey Stripe mentioned earlier and many other giant varieties.

Royal Hybrid 1121 – These sunflowers stand about 7′ tall and are known to be good producers of sunflower seeds.

Titan Sunflower – This large sunflower grows around 12′ tall and produces sunflowers that are 12-18″ in diameter and full of edible seeds.

Rare Types & Multiple Headed Sunflower Varieties

Any branching type of sunflower has multiple heads. Here are two interesting types of sunflowers and a third that’s a very pretty multi headed sunflower.

Maximilian – This sunflower is indigenous to North America. It’s a branching type sunflower and produces lots of flower heads that are around 3″ wide. It grows to 5′-8′ tall and displays lots of flower heads with a button sized center and yellow petals around.

Sun-Fill Purple – This variety is recommended for cutting. The flowers grow 5-6′ tall and produce flowers with petals that are green and purple rimmed. The petals of the flowers are stacked one on top of the other to create an intriguing shape.

Chocolate – This branching variety sunflower has multiple 6″ heads that have a uniform chocolate brown color across the head of the flower and the petals.

Which Sunflower Should You Buy?

Looking for the perfect sunflower to brighten up your home? There are many different types of sunflowers to choose from when you are looking to buy some. 

The two most common and popular types are the dwarf sunflower and the giant sunflower. Both of these types have their own unique benefits that you should take into consideration before making your purchase. 

The dwarf sunflower is a great choice for those who want a smaller plant that is still able to produce plenty of beautiful flowers. These plants are also relatively easy to care for and can be grown in a wide range of conditions. However, they do not typically grow as tall as the giant sunflower, so if you are looking for something that will make a big impact, this may not be the best option. 

The giant sunflower is the perfect choice for those who want a plant that will really stand out. These massive flowers can reach heights of up to 12 feet, making them impossible to miss! They are also very easy to care for and can be grown in most climates. However, because they are so large, they may require staking in order to prevent them from toppling over.

The colour of the sunflower is also important to consider. The most popular shades are yellow and orange, but there are also red, white and bi-colour varieties available.

When it comes to choosing a sunflower, the most important thing is to find one that makes you smile. So take your time, do your research, and enjoy picking out the perfect addition to your garden. 


In conclusion,there are many different types and varieties of sunflowers, each with their own unique appearance and purpose.

Sunflower varieties are not limited to the common yellow kind. In fact, there are many different species of sunflower that come in a variety of colors. 

Sunflowers come in all different varieties, and they are all among the plants that are typically easy to take care of. They come in a wide range of varieties, including giant, dwarf, and even colored sunflowers.

Whether you are looking for a beautiful flower to plant in your garden or a hardy plant that will provide food for your family, there is a sunflower variety that is perfect for you. So get out there and start planting! 

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