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Growing Red Sunflowers – GIY Plants

Close up of two red sunflowers growing.

Enriching your garden with sunflowers adds a touch of beauty and a splash of color. If you want a unique spin on these traditional yellow blooms, consider learning how to plant and grow red sunflowers. These sunflowers are easy to grow, offering a vibrant, deep red hue that stands out beautifully in any garden.

Understanding Red Sunflowers

As a variety within the sunflower family, red sunflowers bear all the charm of their common sunflower counterparts but with petals ranging from a dusty red hue to dark red. They’re an annual plant, meaning they complete their lifecycle within one growing season. Sunflowers are native to North America, but red sunflowers are now widely available.

Red Sunflower Varieties

Close up of a red sunflower variety growing in field with blue sky background.

While the traditional golden-yellow sunflower is well-known and loved, various red sunflower varieties offer a captivating alternative that adds a bold splash of color to any garden.

‘Red Sun’

The ‘Red Sun’ sunflower variety is notable for its deep, almost crimson color. This variety can grow quite tall, reaching heights up to six feet. The ‘Red Sun’ blooms large, round flower heads with vibrant red petals strikingly contrasting with its dark center.

‘Moulin Rouge

The ‘Moulin Rouge’ variety is a classic choice among red sunflower varieties. Its dark red, almost burgundy petals surround a nearly black center, creating a stunning visual effect. This variety grows up to 4-6 feet tall and is perfect for adding a touch of elegance to your garden.

‘Velvet Queen

As its name suggests, the ‘Velvet Queen’ presents an exquisite mix of warm tones. The petals display a gradient of orange, rust, and maroon, resulting in a velvety texture and color. These sunflowers can grow up to 5 feet tall, with flower heads around 8 inches across.


The ‘Chianti’ is another popular red sunflower variety. It boasts a wine-red color with a hint of gold at the base of its petals, mimicking the color of the well-known Italian wine. The ‘Chianti’ grows to 5 feet tall, with flower heads up to 5 inches in diameter.

Each red sunflower variety offers unique characteristics that can enrich your garden. Their shared deep red tones create an engaging spectacle that distinguishes them from the standard yellow types. So, when you plan to grow sunflowers, consider these vibrant red varieties for a delightful color twist.

Best Time to Plant Red Sunflowers

The best time to plant sunflowers, including the red variety, is after the threat of frost has passed. For most regions, this means planting in late spring. Red sunflowers need an entire growing season, depending on the variety, and should be ready to bloom in the height of summer.

Planting Red Sunflowers from Seed

Red sunflower sprouting from seed in soil.

Select a garden spot with ample sunlight to grow red sunflowers from seeds. Sunflowers grow best in locations with full sun exposure, as they’re heliotropic, turning their flower heads to follow the sun’s path across the sky.

Prepare the soil by adding organic matter, ensuring it’s well-drained. Sow sunflower seeds directly into the garden, as sunflowers have long tap roots that need undisturbed ground to grow deep and robust.

When you’re ready to plant sunflower seeds, dig holes about 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. The seeds should sprout and grow into seedlings within a week or two.

Caring for Sunflowers

Sunflowers are relatively easy to care for once the plant is established. Regular watering helps the roots grow deep into the ground, but avoid overwatering, as sunflowers are generally drought-resistant.

Pest attacks on sunflowers aren’t uncommon. Common pests, such as birds and squirrels, might be attracted to the seed heads. A gentle net over the plants can help keep your sunflowers safe.

Growing Red Sunflowers in Containers

Growing red sunflowers in containers.

Red sunflowers can also grow in containers, but choosing varieties that don’t grow tall is crucial. Remember, the container should be deep enough to allow the sunflower’s taproots room to grow.

Harvesting Red Sunflowers

Once your red sunflowers bloom, they’re lovely. If you want to grow cut sunflowers for bouquets, cut the stems early in the morning before the flower heads fully open. If you leave the flower head on the plant, it’ll mature into seeds you can harvest for next season’s planting.

For red sunflowers’ natural reproduction, let some flower heads mature on the plant and drop seeds. These self-sown sunflowers will sprout and grow, offering you a delightful show of red sunflowers next season.


Growing red sunflowers adds a unique charm to your garden. Whether you’re growing them as an ornamental plant or for their seed heads, these vibrant blooms will catch every visitor’s eye. They’re easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice for new and seasoned gardeners.

So why not try growing red sunflowers this season? With their radiant, fiery petals, these flowers will be the talk of your neighborhood.

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