Traditional sunflowers grown at the back of gardens or along fences add a splash of color in midsummer and early fall. These stately plants reach heights of 10 to 15 feet and produce dinner-plate sized blooms with yellow petals and a dark center. Newer hybrid sunflowers range in color from pastel yellows and pale orange to deep mahogany and bronze. Bloom size and shape ranges from tiny pompom or teddy bear varieties of 2 to 4 inches to multi-branched blooms with several sizes on the same plant. Many seed catalogs and retail stores sell a selection of sunflower seeds for growing in the home garden.
Browse seed catalogs or visit gardening stores to view the wide selection of sunflower seeds available for purchase. Typically sold in small packets, these seeds have been specifically bred for growing in the home garden and produce prolific blooms. Avoid seeds sold for birdseed as these often produce small, unattractive plants with indistinct blooms.
Look for sunflower seed to match your growing location. Match the days to maturity to the number of frost-free days in your region and the size at maturity to your growing space. Traditional sunflowers require room to reach their full height and need well-cultivated soil. These sunflowers thrive in a location that receives full sun for the majority of the day and often require supplemental watering. Sunflowers that do not receive adequate light or water do not attain their full height and produce weak blooms. Miniature varieties can be tucked into small corners.
Select miniature sunflowers for containers and raised beds. These tiny plants require minimal care and produce abundant blooms, but do require a sunny location. Miniature sunflowers make excellent cut flowers. Planted in containers and placed on the patio or front porch, these showy flowers make a dramatic statement.
Purchase multi-branching sunflowers in a variety of colors to create a wall of color as a privacy screen or to border your property. Rich hues of mahogany or bronze create a blaze of color in the fall and, if left on the plant, provide seed for visiting birds. Small blooms serve as cut flowers while larger blooms provide visual interest and depth to your garden.