WILDFLOWER of the YEAR: SUNFLOWER

Sunflowers are a symbol of hope, resilience and sunny days ahead

In a time filled with so much uncertainty, the steady, cyclical shifts of nature and our gardens provide much needed reassurance and grounding. Sunflowers are often a highlight. Especially now, their dependable resilience and beauty stands out amid a changing world. This sentiment, shared by much of the staff at the Center, led to the sunflower being named our 2021 Wildflower of the Year.

 

Why We Love Them

Learn more about gardening with native sunflowers, why we hold them dear, and the inspiration behind their being named our 2021 Wildflower of the Year.

Get Inspired » 

A close-up of a monarch butterfly on maximilian sunflower ( Helianthus maximiliani) blooms.

Monarch butterfly on Maximilian sunflower PHOTO Bill J. Boyd

Native Sunflower Species

There are more than 80 Helianthus species native to North America. Browse them on our database, where you can sort by state, bloom time, height and more.

View Native Species » 

A close-up view of a single stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus) from the back of the bloom.

Stiff sunflower PHOTO Chris Helzer

Sunflower Squad Goals

There really is strength in numbers. Sunflowers often team up for resiliency and survival. Read this Wildflower magazine feature celebrating the power of flowers working together.

Read On »

A painted lady butterfly lands on a bloom in a crowded field of maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani).

Painted lady and Maximilian sunflowers PHOTO Chris Helzer

Know Your Sunflowers

Join us Saturday, July 17, for an in-depth look at different types of sunflowers in this class taught by Center Conservation Botanist Minnette Marr.

Register Today »

Three prairie sunflowers (Helianthus petiolaris), on prominent with an ant on a petal and two out-of-focus in the background, are bright yellow over a clear blue background.

Prairie sunflowers PHOTO Chris Helzer

Greatest Garden Hits

A roundup of garden favorites for humans and wildlife, plus a nod to the joy of nonallergenic nut butters.

Feel the Love »

Maximilian sunflower, Helianthus maximiliani

Maximilian sunflowers PHOTO Wildflower Center

Worth Looking Up To

Flowers have much to teach us. As this personal essay attests, the sunny faces and lofty heights of Helianthus annuus can even act as much-needed role models.

Read More » 

Detailed illustration of single bloom and stem of a common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) in black and white

Common sunflower ILLUSTRATION Delphine Jones

Get wildflower updates in your inbox

MORE RESOURCES

Texas Wildflowers book

Field Guide

The perfect book to help you identify wildflowers on your adventures
Bluebonnets

Monthly Bloom Chart

See what’s likely to be blooming throughout the season

History of Beautification

Mrs. Johnson championed planting wildflowers along roadsides