15 Dwarf Sunflower Varieties You Can Grow This Season

Are you thinking of adding some dwarf sunflowers to your garden this season, but aren't quite sure where to start? There are many types of smaller sunflower varieties that can brighten up just about any flower bed. In this article, we take a deeper look at our favorite dwarf sunflower varieties!

dwarf sunflowers

The sunflower is a flowering plant of the genus Helianthus and is in the same family as the daisy. Sunflowers are a favorite of gardeners all over the world, especially beginning gardeners. One of the reasons gardeners love these flowers is because sunflowers are easy to grow, and many varieties tower over all the other plants in the garden, bringing height and color to your landscape.

When people speak of the sunflower, the picture that comes to mind is a field of tall yellow flowering plants with a black center on a large piece of land. But, did you know that not all sunflowers are tall, not all of them are yellow with black centers, nor do they have to be grown outside in the garden?

There are over 70 varieties of sunflowers, and although most of them grow tall, there are several sunflowers that fall under the dwarf category. Dwarf sunflowers, regardless of the variety, never get above five feet, with most of them only growing to a maximum of 2-3 feet. Here are some of our favorite dwarf sunflower varieties for home gardens.

Double Dandy

Double Dandy
Double Dandy is a unique sunflower species that grows well in all USDA zones.
Scientific Name: Helianthus Annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: All Zones
  • Plant Dimensions: 12-24” tall, 18” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

Unlike the traditional sunflower, the Double Dandy is not yellow. This sunflower produces burgundy to purple-colored leaves with cream-colored tips and double-ruffled blooms. It’s usually treated as a flowering annual plant, no matter the hardiness zone.

The wonderful thing about this sunflower is that it grows well in all USDA hardiness zones. Anyone anywhere in these areas can grow sunflowers in their garden or containers.

The Double Dandy adds a splash of color to a yellow bed or container of sunflowers and looks awesome in a cut-flower arrangement. Each flower is different and blooms in various shades of reds and purples.

Elf

Elf
It is one of the short-growing sunflowers that attracts many butterflies to your garden.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 2-10
  • Plant Dimensions: 14-16” tall, 4-6” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

You don’t have to guess that this flower does not get as tall as the traditional sunflower. It is one of the shortest sunflowers among the dwarf varieties. Elf sunflowers are drought tolerant, so they thrive in harsher conditions than some of the other varieties.

If you like butterflies, then growing this dwarf variety is right for you. Butterflies gravitate toward Elf sunflowers so you can expect a lively garden if you go for this variety.

Firecracker

Firecracker
Firecracker produces magnificent flowers consisting of yellow and orange petals.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 2-11
  • Plant Dimensions: 24-36” tall, 8-12” width
  • Exposure: Full Sun

This dwarf sunflower resembles fireworks exploding into the air, shooting straight into the air then bursting in a mandala-sort of design. It may be a dwarf, but it stands out in a garden owing to its yellow and orange petals and brown center.

Firecracker sunflowers may not stand alone in the beginning and need additional support. Because of the weight of the sunflower heads, they may topple over in the wind. Therefore, you should place these plants near a windbreak but also in a location where they can still get full sun.

This is a bush variety of sunflower, so it produces many branches and flowers. However, when grown in small pots, they tend to produce only a single flower.

Junior

 Junior Dwarf Sunflower
This smaller version of the traditional sunflower reaches no more than 2 feet in height.
Scientific Name: Helianthus Annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 2-11
  • Plant Dimensions: 12-24” tall, 4” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

As its name indicates, Junior is a smaller version of the common sunflower familiar to many of us. The traditional sunflower can grow to more than 8 feet tall, while this miniature version grows no more than 2 feet.

This makes a fit for small home gardens or as an indoor plant. It has the classic sunflower look but in a smaller, more manageable package.

Little Becka

Little Becka
Little Becka is a wonderful flower whose center has a light brown color and the petals are orange.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Plant Dimensions: 24-36” tall, 5” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

Little Becka is stunning. The center of this flower is a lighter brown than most varieties. The leaf structure has a burnt orange halo circling the center of the flower originating from its base. With its yellow-tipped petals, Little Becka grabs viewers’ attention with its mesmerizing colors.

Ms Mars

Ms Mars
Ms Mars produces purple flowers that will give an unusual look to your flower garden.
Scientific Name: Helianthus Annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: Central America, Central United States
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 5-9
  • Plant Dimensions: 23” tall, 6” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

If yellow is not your thing, check out Ms Mars. The center of this dwarf sunflower is dark brown. The petals have a fading color effect, beginning at the base of the petal.

The petals begin with purple, then fade to a red/pink color, and finally transition to cream at the tips. Ms Mars is short and compact, making it ideal for growing in a container. It is also nice as the front row of a flowering hedge.

Pacino

Pacino
Pacino produces bright yellow flowers on short stems.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 6-11
  • Plant Dimensions:14” tall, 11” wide
  • Exposure: Full sun

Pacino is a branching type of sunflower. It has a small disc in the center and bright yellow leaves. It has a strong and sturdy stalk and it produces multiple flower heads on one stalk. With its short stature and stalks producing many flowers, it gives your container or gardens a flourishing look.

There is more than one variety of Pacino. There is the Pacino Gold and the Pacino Cola. The Pacino Gold has yellow petals and a yellow disc in the center of the flower. Pacino Cola has yellow petals with a dark center. For the best look, you can plant both types of Pacinos in a chaotic jumble to give your flower bed or container garden a natural look.

Sunbright Supreme

Sunbright Supreme
This is a large species of dwarf sunflower that grows up to 5 feet tall.
Scientific Name: Helianthus Annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 7-10
  • Plant Dimensions 48-60” tall, 4-6” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

Sunbright Supreme is one of the largest of the dwarf sunflower family. It is called a semi-dwarf because it grows up to five feet, which is taller than all the other varieties of dwarf sunflowers. It has single yellow petals and a brown disc.

This hybrid thrives in colder conditions and regions with shorter days. Because of this, Sunbright Supreme is ideal for growing during the wintertime since the days are shorter. Another benefit of this flower is that it is pollenless, so gardeners with allergies can tolerate it well.

Sundance Kid

Sundance Kid
Sundance Kid produces beautiful semi-double flowers with an orange hue.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Perennial, Annual
  • Plant Zone: 4-9
  • Plant Dimensions” 12-16” tall 14-18” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

Many consider Sundance Kid to be the oldest dwarf sunflower. The small plant reaches a maximum of two feet, and it has semi-double leaves that are red and yellow, with a small brown disc in the middle.

Sundance Kid flowers early and is easy to grow. It continues to flower longer than most sunflowers, allowing you to enjoy the beauty they add to your home for a longer time.

A word of warning, however, since this flower uses a lot of water. This thirsty flower can endanger nearby plants by taking away moisture from the soil nearby. So, it is best to put a large space between these sunflowers and other plants.

Sunny Smile

Sunny Smile
The maximum height of this type of sunflower is 20 inches.
Scientific Name: Helianthus genus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 2-11
  • Plant Dimensions: 12-15” tall, 6-8” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, you can have Sunny Smile sunflowers around because they bloom throughout the year. These sunflowers can be grown indoors or outdoors.

When it is grown indoors in a container, it only grows about 6 inches but even when it is planted directly into the ground, its maximum height is only 20 inches. This variety is also pollenless and a safe plant for people suffering from allergies.

Suntastic Yellow

Suntastic Yellow
Suntastic Yellow produces several inflorescences on each stem.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 2-11
  • Plant Dimensions: 12-24” tall, 8-10” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

You cannot go wrong with this 2014 All-American Selection (AAS) Winner. Suntastic Yellow is one of the dwarf sunflowers that has multiple stems shooting from a strong stalk, producing multiple flower heads on each stem. Each plant grows about 20 flowers. It produces flowers multiple times in a growing season.

These flowers are bright yellow with dark brown centers. Each head grows between 8-10 inches in diameter. The leaves and the petals can be useful in the kitchen, adding seeds and petals to cakes and salads.

Because of the weight of the flower heads, it is best to plant this sunflower variety in a location that has shelter from the wind, but remember that this place still needs to have full sun.

Teddy Bear Sunflower

Teddy Bear Sunflower
This type of sunflower has a whimsical appearance due to its fluffy orange-colored petals.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 2-11
  • Plant Dimensions: 24–36″ tall, 12″–24″ wide
  • Exposure: Full sun

The Teddy Bear sunflower stands out from other varieties because of its petals. The petals on this plant are soft, fluffy, and doubled. This is why this variety was given the name Teddy Bear. The culinary world loves this dwarf sunflower.

The petals are often used as garnishment on cakes and salads, making it an economical plant as well, the petals, the seeds, and the leaves are used for eating and cooking. They also attract bees and birds to the location.

Tithonia Fiesta Del Sol

Tithonia Fiesta Del Sol
Tithonia Fiesta Del Sol produces bright red daisy-like flowers.
Scientific Name: Helianthus Annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: Mexico and Central America
  • Hardiness: Annual,
  • Plant Zone: 8-11
  • Plant Dimensions: 30” tall, 12-18” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

Most sunflower varieties are native to North America. But, not this 2000 AAS Flower winner, Tithonia Fiesta Del Sol, is a native of Mexico. This daisy-like sunflower is bright red and orange. It is easy to grow and has many flowers.

One of the reasons it has such a high success rate is because the petals are fuzzy. Simply put, herbivores don’t find them tasty, allowing them to proliferate especially well in regions with high humidity and heat.

Topolino

Topolino
Topolino produces dark yellow flowers with a brown center.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual
  • Plant Zone: 1-10
  • Plant Dimensions: Up to 16” tall,
  • Exposure: Full Sun

A high-branching dwarf sunflower, Topolino is well-known among gardeners everywhere. It is even a hit with children. Many teachers choose this variety as their students’ first gardening project.

One of the reasons it is popular is because of it branching out instead of growing straight up. Topolino produces many branches that hold a lot of flower heads. The flowers are a deep yellow with a brown center.

Although it does not stand tall at only 16 inches maximum, it captures viewers’ attention and demands that they take notice. Topolino is ideal for containers and small flower arrangements but does thrive best planted directly into the ground.

Yellow Pygmy

Yellow Pygmy
Yellow Pygmy has bright lemon flowers, and reaches only 2 feet in height.
Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Hardiness: Annual,
  • Plant Zone: 1-10
  • Plant Dimensions: 24” tall, 6” wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun

The stature of this sunflower variety is in its name. Yellow Pygmy at its tallest stands only 2 feet high but the flower heads could grow the same size as that of some larger varieties. So, you can plant in a small space but get a larger sunflower bloom.

Yellow Pygmy has a bright lemon color, sometimes the center is also yellow or sometimes brown. It is perfect for those who love growing sunflowers but don’t have much land to grow them. They can be easily grown on patios, porches, and balconies.

Final Thoughts

These 15 dwarf sunflower varieties for your home garden will keep your landscape lively and beautiful. Once you have tried one or two varieties of dwarf sunflowers, you’re sure to be hooked. From the outdoor garden to the inside of the home, sunflowers can cheer up any space. They brighten up any room and can be moved around to change up decor from time to time.

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