Growing Red Sunflowers | Eternal Summer Beauty

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Red sunflowers brighten up the garden with warm and less common tones for a sunflower. Growing red sunflowers is easy if you take the time to plant them and give any care they need.

I lucked into some red sunflower seeds in a seed swap in 2020, where the bride saved the seeds from their wedding.

Truly, I was amazed at how readily the red sunflower seeds sprouted and grew indoors back in April.

I was careful to protect these special sunflower seedlings from damage and pests because I really wanted red sunflowers in my garden.

As it turned out, growing red sunflowers couldn’t have been easier. Germination was successful and the seedlings grew well for me under grow lights.

Even if you plan to direct seed red sunflowers, they’re a beautiful plant to grow and I highly recommend them.

Let’s learn more about growing red sunflowers and sunflower care throughout their lifecycle.

Are There Red Sunflowers?

Yes, indeed, red sunflowers do exist. Usually, different varieties have their own unique looks. Some red sunflowers are deep red or almost maroon. Other red sunflowers feature a dusty red hue, sometimes bleeding into yellow or cream.

Growing Red Sunflowers - Sunset background with pink and blue sky

Are Red Sunflowers Natural?

You may be wondering, do red sunflowers start off yellow and then get dyed? This was not the case for the red sunflowers we planted and many other varieties as well. Red sunflowers grow from a seed just like more traditional sunflowers.

What Are the Names of Red Sunflowers?

The sunflower family boasts lots of gorgeous sunflowers, including quite a few that are red or multi-hued such as golden and red. Here are some popular kinds of red sunflowers:

  • Autumn Beauty (variety of hues from yellow to orange, red, brown, burgundy)
  • Black Beauty Sunflowers
  • Cherry Rose
  • Chianti Sunflowers
  • Chocolate (deep red sunflowers)
  • Crimson Queen
  • Double Dandy
  • Evening Sun
  • Fire Catcher
  • Indian Blanket
  • Little Becka
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Procut® Red (Burgundy Sunflower)
  • Red Sun
  • Red Wave
  • Ring of Fire
  • Rouge Royale
  • Tiger Eye
  • Velvet Queen

If you know of more varieties to add to our names of red sunflowers list, please share them in the comments!

How Tall Do Red Sunflowers Grow?

Helianthus annus red sunflowers generally grow to be between 5 and 6 feet tall. Velvet queen sunflowers grow between 5 and 7 feet while autumn beauty sunflowers grow between 5 and 8 feet. Chocolate sunflowers reach heights of 4 to 5 feet.

The most common range for red sunflowers seems to be between 4 and 8 feet tall. Keep in mind that different varieties of red sunflowers will grow to different heights, and other factors, such as sun, watering, soil quality, and fertilizer, may also come into play.

The red sunflowers we’re growing are branching sunflowers, so they grow outward as well. These sunflowers are amazing because we have enough blooms to enjoy both in the garden and indoors in a vase.

How Long Do Red Sunflowers Take to Grow?

Planted from seed, red sunflowers can take about three and a half months to bloom. This works out to about 105 days, give or take a few.

The timing may vary based on the kind of red sunflowers you grow or the growing conditions of your climate and season.

When Do Red Sunflowers Bloom?

Red sunflowers generally bloom in mid to late summer through the fall. Depending on your growing zone, your timing and results may vary.

I planted red sunflowers from seed indoors in mid-April and mine bloomed in late July. They are still going strong in early August.

Growing Red Sunflowers at Sunset

How to Grow Red Sunflowers in Containers

Growing red sunflowers from seed is just as easy as growing any other sunflowers from seed. Discover how to grow red sunflower seeds from germination to bloom with these steps.

  1. Prepare a planting container such as an egg carton or a small nursery pot. Fill the container or egg carton about ¾ of the way with potting soil.
  2. Place a single seed in each egg carton cell for as many seeds as you’d like to plant. Plant several seeds in the small nursery pot.
  3. Cover the seed loosely with soil. Check the package instructions, but generally a half-inch deep is good for most sunflowers.
  4. Water the seeds with a spray bottle for even coverage.
  5. Place the seed tray or container under grow lights indoors. If it’s past the threat of frost, you may also wish to put them outside on the deck or in another safe location to get direct sunlight.
  6. Watch for germination and growth.
  7. When the red sunflower seeds sprout and grow several inches tall, you should think about transplanting them outside. Dig a hole in the ground that is big enough for the plant.
    • TIP: Transplanting seedlings is a bit easier when they are a little on the dry side so don’t water them immediately before transplanting. Instead, water anything you plant *after* transplanting.
  8. Gently squeeze the sides of the egg carton cell or the nursery pot to release the sunflower seedling with its soil and roots.
  9. Place the plant’s roots in the ground and cover, patting the soil around the seedling.
  10. Water the red sunflower seedling to help ensure a successful transplant.

How to Grow Red Sunflowers Outside in the Ground

Use these steps to help you direct sow red sunflowers outside in the garden.

  1. Move the soil away where you want to plant red sunflowers. Uncover about a half-inch depth.
  2. Place red sunflower seeds in the ground about 6 inches apart from each other. (You can always transplant them further away from each other later if needed.)
  3. Cover the seeds loosely, about a half-inch deep.
  4. Water all the sunflower seeds you just planted.
  5. Monitor for growth and watch for pests like bunnies and groundhogs that like to eat sunflowers and sunflower sprouts.
  6. Check the soil regularly and water to keep it moist.

Red Sunflowers Care

Once your seeds germinate, you’ll switch your attention to caring for them. Provide exceptional red sunflowers care to help ensure lots of beautiful blooms from mid to late summer through frost!

  • Water regularly. Avoid letting your red sunflower seedlings dry out.
  • Watch for pests. Check your sunflower leaves to get clues on the health of your plant.
  • Deadhead red sunflowers. Remove the spent blooms. Deadheading sunflowers encourages the plant to keep blooming!
  • Cut blooms for arrangements. Besides deadheading, cutting fresh blossoms for a red sunflower bouquet can also encourage your plant to keep blooming.
  • Save seeds for next year! Harvest sunflower seeds to ensure you can grow more of your favorite red sunflowers next season.
Red Sunflowers Blooming in the Garden at Sunset Golden Hour

Final Thoughts: Growing Red Sunflowers

Large red sunflowers the size of my hand are my reward for planting these beautiful flowers. I loved discovering how to grow red sunflowers from seed all the way to bloom despite hungry animals that wanted to eat them.

In such a beautiful display of color, these red sunflowers produce bloom after bloom. I’ve been cutting fresh, large red sunflowers for indoor arrangements in hopes of encouraging more to grow.

I love these sunflowers so much – I now plan to grow them again every year.

Do you grow red sunflowers also? Let’s chat in the comments – feel free to ask any questions you may have about red sunflowers or share your favorite tips!

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    1. Hi Lisa!
      My red sunflower is a naturally branching one so I didn’t do anything special to it and it continually had dozens of sunflowers blooming at a time, over and over as long as I remembered to cut the spent ones off. That said, I had a traditional yellow sunflower get chomped by a groundhog and it ended up growing two flower heads, but they weren’t as large or impressive. If you can, plant more than one and experiment!

      Happy Gardening!

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