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Suncredible sunflowers bloom in Year of the Sunflower
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Suncredible sunflowers bloom in Year of the Sunflower

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A butterfly visits this Suncredible Saturn sunflower.

The National Garden Bureau has designated 2021 as the Year of the Sunflower. If you choose to participate, I have the plant for you: Suncredible Yellow, a new everblooming bush variety.

I wrote about this incredible variety in summer 2019, while I was growing it. In 2020 it exploded, winning 53 awards like the Perfect Score All Season from Oklahoma State University and Oregon State University, Louisiana Super Plant LSU, Medal of Excellence Greenhouse Grower, Leader of the Pack North Carolina State and Top Performer from Michigan State, University of Minnesota, Mississippi State, University of Georgia, Cornell and dozens more. It has truly captured everyone’s heart.

Everblooming and bush habit are not two descriptors you would ever expect to give a sunflower, but that has all changed. If you haven’t experienced it, this will be a totally new plant product for you. It will reach 42 inches tall and around 36 inches wide in the South. The flowers are 4 inches wide and produced in abundance all season, bringing in bees and butterflies. Those of you with roaming deer populations can rejoice that this plant is typically not on the menu.

Your first thought might have been that sunflowers don’t last that long in the garden. But this will simply not be true with this new breeding of our loved native Helianthus. It will thrive in just about any soil and will be riveting as long as you give it good sunlight. My advice: Plant a cluster of three, spacing your plants 18 to 24 inches apart.

Rockin Deep Purple or Rockin Blue Suede Shoes salvias would make a most thrilling plant partnership. I also have mine planted with an assortment of agastache or hummingbird mints. Suncredible Yellow will keep blooming whether you deadhead or not. In my garden I have clipped them off a couple of times.

The look screams cottage garden but will be simply amazing just mixed in with perennials and other annuals. Of course, those of you working on a backyard wildlife habitat will be pleased beyond your wildest expectations.

As great as Suncredible Yellow is, you will be thrilled at what is coming next year: Suncredible Saturn. It has the same bush habit, same rugged persevering performance, but the name Saturn says it all. Suncredible Saturn has yellow petals with a bronze red center.

Because of their bushy habit, they too will excel as the thriller plant in mixed containers or look stunning as a monoculture plant growing with no partners.

One last thing very worth noting is the Suncredible sunflower plant’s ability to give you cut flowers for the vase. Every day I watch users on Instagram making arrangements out of roses, zinnias, salvias and coneflowers. Now we can all go out and snip our own sunflowers to add, too.

Norman Winter is a horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.”

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