19 of the Best Sunflowers for Pollinators


1. Autumn Beauty

‘Autumn Beauty’ will feed your pollinator friends while providing a dazzling show of fall color.

A cultivar of H. annuus, ‘Autumn Beauty’ produces 10-inch wide flowerheads in gorgeous shades of bronze, gold, purple, mahogany, and yellow.

These plants reach up to five feet tall and produce flowers for bees and butterflies to enjoy in 75 to 85 days.

A close up square image of a single 'Autumn Beauty' sunflower growing in the garden. To the bottom right of the frame is a white circular logo with text.A close up square image of a single 'Autumn Beauty' sunflower growing in the garden. To the bottom right of the frame is a white circular logo with text.

‘Autumn Beauty’ Seeds

Ready to incorporate a fall show into your pollinator garden?

You’ll find ‘Autumn Beauty’ seeds available for purchase in packet sizes ranging from four grams to five pounds from True Leaf Market.

2. Early

Some of the options in this pollinator-friendly flower list don’t start blooming until late summer, but Heliopsis helianthoides aka early sunflower is ahead of the game.

Early sunflower is a US native wildflower that can be grown as a perennial In USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 8.

Also known as smooth oxeye, oxeye sunflower, or false sunflower, this cheery plant is native to eastern North America from the East coast as far as west as Colorado and New Mexico.

In early summer, it produces two-inch, yellow-petaled flower heads on branched stems that are three to five feet tall.

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Smooth Oxeye Seeds

Want to get the pollinator party going early?

You can purchase H. helianthoides seeds in several pack sizes from Everwilde Farms via Amazon.

3. Evening Colors Blend

What could be nicer than ending the day with some pollinator-watching among the Evening Colors?

Evening Colors is a blend of H. annuus that has multicolored petals in shades of yellow and burgundy.

Eight-foot-tall plants bear 18-inch flower stems, each of which is adorned with a single four-inch bloom.

Expect these pollinator-attracting blooms to appear in roughly 85 days.

A square image of Evening Colors sunflowers growing in the garden.A square image of Evening Colors sunflowers growing in the garden.

Evening Colors Blend Seeds

Are these sunset colored hues just what you had in mind?

Evening Colors blend seeds are available for purchase in pack sizes ranging from 1/16 of an ounce to one pound at High Mowing Seeds.

4. Evening Sun

To set the stage for a daily sunset celebration with blooms arriving a little earlier than some other types, try ‘Evening Sun.’

H. annuus ‘Evening Sun’ produces four- to six-inch blooms in colors reminiscent of the setting sun – orange, mahogany, and bronze.

Flowers appear 75 days after sowing, born on plants that reach six to eight feet tall.

A close up square image of a single 'Evening Sun' sunflower pictured on a soft focus background.A close up square image of a single 'Evening Sun' sunflower pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Evening Sun’ Seeds

Are you thinking of sowing ‘Evening Sun’ for your pollinator neighbors?

Head over to Eden Brothers where you’ll find ‘Evening Sun’ seeds in an assortment of pack sizes.

5. Fireworks Blend

What more do you need in midsummer than watermelon, corn on the cob, and a few Fireworks in the garden?

Fireworks, a blend of H. annuus, produces a mix of four- to eight-inch flowers ranging from pale yellow to dark burgundy.

Plants reach eight feet tall and produce flowers in 70 days after sowing.

A close up of a vase filled with colorful sunflowers with a wooden fence in the background.A close up of a vase filled with colorful sunflowers with a wooden fence in the background.

Fireworks Blend Seeds

This blend may be just what you need to round out your pollinator-themed Fourth of July celebration!

Purchase Fireworks blend seeds in an array of pack sizes from High Mowing Organic Seeds.

6. Hella Sonnenblume

Do you like to involve your kids or grandkids in your gardening projects?

‘Hella Sonnenblume’ is a diminutive H. annuus cultivar that reaches just two- to three-and-a-half-feet tall.

With cheery yellow flower heads that reach four inches across, ‘Hella Sonnenblumen’ reaches maturity in 75 to 80 days.

A close up square image of a vase filled with yellow Helianthus 'Hella Sonnenblume' set on a wooden surface.A close up square image of a vase filled with yellow Helianthus 'Hella Sonnenblume' set on a wooden surface.

‘Hella Sonnenblume’ Seeds

This petite variety is an excellent choice for a pollinator-friendly child’s garden.

Seeds are available for purchase in an assortment of pack sizes at High Mowing Organic Seeds.

7. Italian White

If pollinators are your priority but bright yellow isn’t really in your color scheme, why not consider ‘Italian White?’

H. annuus ‘Italian White’ bears beautiful, ivory colored, four-inch blooms.

Plants reach five to seven feet tall, and produce flowers in approximately 70 days.

A close up square image of a vase filled with Helianthus 'Italian White' flowers pictured on a soft focus background.A close up square image of a vase filled with Helianthus 'Italian White' flowers pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Italian White’ Seeds

These refreshing blooms will bring an airy brightness to your garden or yard as they bring in the bees and butterflies.

You can find ‘Italian White’ seeds in a variety of packet sizes at Eden Brothers.

8. Lemon Queen

Sunflowers are known for the deep golden hues of their petals – but ‘Lemon Queen’ provides a piquant alternative.

H. annuus ‘Lemon Queen’ produces five- to seven-inch, pale yellow flower heads.

Plants grow to be five to seven feet tall and start producing flowers after 70 days. This cultivar is intensely popular with bees, so bee lovers take note!

A close up square image of a single 'Lemon Queen' sunflower pictured on a blue sky background.A close up square image of a single 'Lemon Queen' sunflower pictured on a blue sky background.

‘Lemon Queen’ Seeds

Zest up your pollinator garden with the light yellow petals of this variety! You can find ‘Lemon Queen’ in a selection of seed pack sizes at High Mowing Organic Seeds.

9. Mammoth

Think your pollinator buddies are ready for something big?

‘Mammoth’ is an H. annuus cultivar that produces huge, yellow-petaled flower heads reaching 10 to 12 inches across.

Plants are also outsized, reaching up to 12 feet tall, and bear flowers in 70 to 80 days.

A close up of a packet of Helianthus 'Mammoth' seeds with text to the left of the frame and a hand-drawn illustration to the right.A close up of a packet of Helianthus 'Mammoth' seeds with text to the left of the frame and a hand-drawn illustration to the right.

‘Mammoth’ Seeds

Do you have the perfect spot for these giants in your garden?

You’ll find ‘Mammoth’ available for purchase in packs of 70 seeds from Botanical Interests.

10. Maximilian’s

No one said you couldn’t use perennial sunflowers as part of your pollinator care strategy!

A close up vertical image of Maximillian's sunflowers growing in the garden pictured in bright sunshine.A close up vertical image of Maximillian's sunflowers growing in the garden pictured in bright sunshine.
H. maximiliani.

A relative of the common sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani is also known as Maximilian’s sunflower, Michaelmas daisy, or prairie sunflower, and is native to central North America primarily.

This perennial species is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 to 10.

Blooms appear from August to September, measure five inches across, and have yellow petals surrounding yellow centers. With a lot of variation in height, plants reach three to 10 feet tall.

This option is great for pollinator residents of tallgrass prairies.

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Maximilian’s Sunflower Seeds

Want to add Michaelmas daisies to your pollinator-attracting native plant design?

Everwilde Farms sells H. maximiliani seeds in a variety of packet sizes available via Amazon.

11. Mexican

Are you a fan of the bright reds and oranges available in flowers like zinnias? You might want to check out Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia.

This colorful species is an annual that’s native to Mexico and Central America.

Attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, this showy species loves heat, and has three-inch wide orange flower heads with yellow centers.

Plants grow to be four to six feet tall and bear flowers in 85 days.

A square image of a butterfly feeding from an orange Mexican sunflower pictured on a soft focus background.A square image of a butterfly feeding from an orange Mexican sunflower pictured on a soft focus background.

Mexican Sunflower Seeds

Ready to grow something new for your resident pollinators?

You’ll find Mexican sunflower seeds available for purchase in pack sizes ranging from 1/32 of an ounce to quarter of a pound at High Mowing Organic Seeds.

12. Midnight Rouge

To create some visual drama in your pollinator garden, try ‘Midnight Rouge.’

An heirloom variety of H. annuus, ‘Midnight Rouge’ bears three- to six-inch flower heads with burgundy colored petals that deepen in color towards the center of the bloom.

Plants are multibranched, reaching five feet tall or more, and produce flowers in just 65 days.

A close up square image of 'Midnight Rouge' red sunflowers growing in the garden. To the bottom right of the frame is a white circular logo with text.A close up square image of 'Midnight Rouge' red sunflowers growing in the garden. To the bottom right of the frame is a white circular logo with text.

‘Midnight Rouge’ Seeds

Want to grow some visual intrigue in your pollinator refuge?

True Leaf Market has ‘Midnight Rouge’ available for purchase in a choice of seed pack sizes.

13. Ring of Fire

Both yellow and red sunflowers are striking in their own way – ‘Ring of Fire’ is even more so.

H. annuus ‘Ring of Fire’ is named for its incredibly eye-catching five-inch blooms – the centers are surrounded by a fiery ring of red petals, transitioning to bright yellow at the tips.

This 2001 All-America Selections winner grows to be four to five feet tall, and can take up to 120 days to bloom.

A square image of two 'Ring of Fire' sunflowers growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.A square image of two 'Ring of Fire' sunflowers growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Ring of Fire’ Seeds

Bring these mesmerizing blooms to your own garden patch and admire the pollinators as they forage from these colorful flowers!

You can purchase ‘Ring of Fire’ seeds in an assortment of pack sizes from Eden Brothers.

14. Sawtooth

This next option is a pollinator-friendly native wildflower named for its distinctive, serrated leaves.

Native primarily to the upper Midwest in the US, sawtooth sunflower, Helianthus grosseserratus, is a perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9 and is also known as thick-tooth sunflower.

A horizontal image of yellow sawtooth sunflowers growing in the garden pictured on a green background.A horizontal image of yellow sawtooth sunflowers growing in the garden pictured on a green background.
H. grosseserratus.

Flowers are three to four inches across, and are borne on reddish stems with serrated leaves. Blooms appear in late summer to fall, and are yellow with light brown centers.

Plants can reach up to a towering 15 feet tall – or be as small as three feet in height, depending on growing conditions.

Is this the perfect perennial for your wildlife garden?

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Sawtooth Sunflower Seeds

You can find sawtooth sunflower seeds in one-ounce packs from Everwilde Farms via Amazon.

15. Sunspot

If ‘Hella Sonnenblume’ wasn’t quite compact enough for you, gaze down and take in an eyeful of the even shorter ‘Sunspot.’

H. annuus ‘Sunspot’ produces big blooms for pollinators, but on small plants.

The yellow blooms are six to 12 inches wide, borne on dwarf plants that reach just two feet tall.

Expect flowers in 65 to 75 days.

A close up of a packet of 'Sunspot' seeds with a hand-drawn illustration to the right of the frame and text to the left.A close up of a packet of 'Sunspot' seeds with a hand-drawn illustration to the right of the frame and text to the left.

‘Sunspot’ Seeds

This one’s great for gardening in small spaces as it won’t cast much shade!

‘Sunspot’ is available for purchase in packs of 20 seeds from Botanical Interests.

16. Taiyo

While for many folks roses are emblems of romance and elegance, sunflowers seem a bit more friendly in nature and some of them are absolutely cute – especially ‘Taiyo.’

An heirloom variety of H. annuus bred in Japan, the three- to six-inch-wide blooms have short yellow petals surrounding wide brown and black centers that have a bullseye appearance.

Plants grow up to six feet tall and start blooming in around 68 days.

A close up square image of a single 'Taiyo' sunfloer growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.A close up square image of a single 'Taiyo' sunfloer growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

‘Taiyo’ Seeds

Want to meet this pollinator-friendly cutie in your garden?

You’ll find ‘Taiyo’ seeds available for purchase in an array of packet sizes at Eden Brothers.

17. Tall

If you’re looking for a perennial background plant for your wildlife garden, one to catch the sun behind plantings of coneflower, mountain mint, and Joe-pye weed, consider tall sunflower, Helianthus giganteus.

A close up horizontal image of a giant sunflowers (Helianthus giganteus) growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.A close up horizontal image of a giant sunflowers (Helianthus giganteus) growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.
 H. giganteus.

H. giganteus is native to the eastern and midwest regions of the US and is perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 to 8.

Multibranched plants reach eight to 12 feet tall and produce yellow, two- to three-inch flowers in late summer to early fall.

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H. Giganteus Seeds

Need this giant for the pollinators in your landscape?

You can find H. giganteus available in packs of 50 seeds from Everwilde Farms via Amazon.

18. Vanilla Ice

If summer’s keeping you hot, you might want to cool off with some creamy ‘Vanilla Ice’ at your pollinator party.

A close up of a single 'Vanilla Ice' flower pictured on a blue sky background.A close up of a single 'Vanilla Ice' flower pictured on a blue sky background.
‘Vanilla Ice.’

H. annuus ‘Vanilla Ice’ bears creamy white to pale yellow petals that reach three to five inches wide.

Expect flowers around 90 days after sowing seeds, on plants that reach five feet tall.

A close up of a packet of 'Vanilla Ice' sunflower seeds with text and illustration.A close up of a packet of 'Vanilla Ice' sunflower seeds with text and illustration.

‘Vanilla Ice’ Seeds

Ready to cool things down while you watch the pollinator parade?

You can purchase ‘Vanilla Ice’ in packs of 75 seeds from Botanical Interests.

19. Velvet Queen

With its tall stature, it’s easy to imagine the sunflower as reigning like a monarch over the garden, especially so with ‘Velvet Queen.’

This variety of H. annuus will beautify your pollinator garden with its five-inch flower heads featuring yellow and crimson petals that radiate from brown centers.

Plants stand five feet tall and begin blooming in 75 days.

A square image of 'Velvet Queen' flowers growing in the garden pictured in bright sunshine.A square image of 'Velvet Queen' flowers growing in the garden pictured in bright sunshine.

‘Velvet Queen’ Seeds

Ready to let this queen reign in your own personal pollinator habitat?

‘Velvet Queen’ seeds are available for purchase in packs ranging from 1/16 of an ounce to one pound at High Mowing Organic Seeds.

Bees, Butterflies, and Blooms

With this list of 19 types of sunflowers for pollinators, your garden will be full of bees, butterflies, and blooms in no time!

A close up horizontal image of a bee collecting pollen from a sunflower pictured on a soft focus background.A close up horizontal image of a bee collecting pollen from a sunflower pictured on a soft focus background.

Do you have any other favorite sunflower species or varieties that we didn’t include in this list?

Share your thoughts with our readers in the comments section below. And be sure to let us know which wonderful pollinators you’re hoping to attract!

And if you’re interested in learning more about the finer details of growing these stately, pollinator-attracting blooms, we have more sunflower knowledge for you right here:



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