Have you driven around the countryside to see beautiful bright yellow sunflower growing in a field? And wondered, "why is a sunflower yellow?"
Sunflowers have a wide range of use from making beautiful bouquets to growing seeds that allow you to extract healthy sunflower oil. Moreover, the sunflower is a top plant that attracts pollinators in your garden.
Here's everything you need to know about the sunflower color.
Why is a sunflower yellow?
If you're wondering why the sunflower is yellow, then it's because of the flower's unique pigments. These flower pigments are called anthocyanins, which give the flower different colors, such as red, pink, yellow, purple, and many more. The pigment has a property to absorb specific wavelengths of lights and reflect others.
The pigments contain a chemical known as flavonoids that give the plant and its flower the color. When sunlight falls on yellow sunflowers, the pigments absorb all other light wavelengths except yellow. The yellow light is reflected that we can see as the yellow color of the flower.
Other types of pigments, such as carotenoids, are found in tomatoes and carrots, that reflect red, yellow, or orange. Another well-known pigment is chlorophyll that gives the leaves and foliage the green color.
The production of pigment and color depends on the genome of the plants. You can mix and match these genomes with other plants and produce hybrid plants with entirely different colors or get combined colors.
Why are some sunflowers red?
Contrary to the common perception of sunflower having only yellow color, some sunflowers also have a red color. Other more notable but rare sunflowers have color ranging from white, orange, lime, and even mix of multicolor.
The red sunflower has bright red color due to its pigment that absorbs all other light wavelengths except red. "Red Sun" and "Moulin Rouge" are two popular sunflower varieties that have a red color.
It has a magnificent crimson-red bloom that has bright petals and small yellow dots at the center. It attracts birds and bees in your yard.
The red sunflower is an annual flower and grows best in full sun. The usual blooming period is from August to September and takes 7 to 14 days from seed to germination.
The red sunflower is an excellent addition to flower bouquet due to the large flower size and distinct bright color.
Why do sunflowers turn black?
Sunflowers turn black when it lacks nutrients or applied too much water. When the sunflower turns black, then it means the roots are rotting, and you need to take proper care to bring it back to a healthy plant.
Also, pay close attention to the leaves and check if there are any holes in it. Sometimes, the insects and beetles infect the plant and harm the foliage that causes the sunflower to start dying internally.
Sunflowers need full sunlight to grow adequately. Frost or cold weather causes the sunflower to get into shock, and the plant starts shutting down. Ensure there is no water pooling near the roots, and the sunflower is free from insects or disease.
What are different sunflower color varieties?
Sunflower comes in a different color and biological makeup that gives each sunflower a distinct appearance. The following are some popular sunflower with different variations of color.
Black beauty sunflower
The black beauty sunflower has very dark maroon color petals that are so dark that in bright daylight, it appears black. A single plant produces several gorgeous red color blooms with deep maroon color flowers.
It grows from 4 ft to 6 ft and takes 50 to 55 days to mature.
Cherry Rose has red petals with a dark base color. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and has a red color overlay with yellowish tint at the tip. The color intensity varies depending on the growing conditions.
The low light growing condition makes the flower to generate deep plum color while bright full sunlight creates pink color.
Golden cheer has fluffy ball petals that attract birds, insects, and bees to the garden. Each sunflower plant has 3 to 4 branches with a sizeable main head.
The flower blooms with a yellow petal color and contains a very light-yellow tint face. It grows 4 to 8 ft tall and great flower to have in a bouquet.
Jade is a dull color lime sunflower that grows relatively short 3 to 4 ft. It has a unique soft color that makes it an excellent filler flower in the bouquet. The lime-green center makes it appear like a daisy.
It has a red color petal with a dark face and grows 4 to 8 feet tall. The unique reddish color makes it suitable to use in a bouquet or mix with other bicolor flowers.
The blonde strawberry sunflower has rose-pink color petals. The tips have a yellowish-lemon tint and red circle inside the bland.
The dark black circle inside gives a unique look. It's suitable for decoration and cutting.
Solar flare sunflower has small size bloom. It has a very bright yellow tint at the tip and bright red color around the middle. The overgrown dark center patch makes it look like a solar eclipse.
The giant Sungold is also known as a double-blooming sunflower. Honestly, it doesn't look like a typical sunflower but appears to be the larger version of dandelion. A full-grown plant can reach up to six feet tall, and the blooms can reach eight inches.
Italian white is a light-colored sunflower that is quite tall but doesn't have bright, flashy color. It grows four inches’ white bloom with yellowish tint inside the flower. It raises many flowers throughout the growing season.
How to grow bright color sunflower
Growing sunflower is easy, but you need to plan and prepare the soil to get the optimal flower size. Here are tips for growing bright color sunflowers.
Give it full sunlight
It should be no surprise that sunflower wants full sunlight to grow. Plant it in an area where it can have at least six to eight hours of daylight.
Maintain loose soil
Sunflowers need loose soil to have proper airflow to its root. You can mix fertilizer in the ground before planting to provide nutrients as it grows. The best is to use organic compost, which includes the essential nutrients required for the sunflower to grow.
How much to water
Sunflower requires a different amount of water-based on its maturity level, but don't overwater it. Excessive water causes the root to rot that damages the plant.
If you have planted sunflower from seeds, then water it directly near its root and wait till the soil around it gets dry again. As the plant starts to grow, water it once a week unless the ground becomes very dry.
Sunflower doesn't need much fertilizer, and you can limit fertilization to one to two times per month. Don't over-fertilize the plant as it causes the stems to weaken, and the large flower to fall over.
So now you know the reason for the sunflower yellow color. The sunflower isn't limited to yellow color only but also comes in a different color range.
The unique pigments, such as flavonoids, help absorb the color wavelength. The unabsorbed light gets reflected, which gives the sunflower its yellow color.