If we handed you a box of crayons and asked you to draw a sunflower, you might begin by choosing the most vivid yellow color for the petals. After all, most people are familiar with sunny, bright yellow sunflowers with deep black or brown centers.
However, there is a wide variety of sunflower plants that grow in vibrant shades such as red, brown, purple, orange and more. You could even grow creamy-white sunflowers in your garden if you choose.
Known as the “coconut ice” hybrid, this variety of sunflower has been around for a decade. According to this 2018 post on Twitter, the American seed company Burpee introduced the flowers in 2011.
“Did you know?” tweeted Burpee Gardening. “7 years ago, Burpee unveiled ‘Coconut Ice,’ the world’s first white sunflower? Still stunning.”
Did you know? 7 years ago, Burpee unveiled 'Coconut Ice,' the world's first white sunflower? Still stunning pic.twitter.com/Xz9O73VSCH
— Burpee Gardening (@BurpeeGardening) October 1, 2018
According to Burpee, the single-headed flowers grow to between 48 and 60 inches tall and spread their petals about 4 to 8 inches across. The sunflowers start with creamy, vanilla petals that transition to pure white as they bloom. The pale petals against the dark chocolate-colored centers make for a striking effect.
No need to start the seeds indoors. You can sow them directly in your garden following the last frost of the season. Sunflowers are so named because they turn their “faces” toward the sun, so they need an open area of the garden with well-drained soil. Because they grow so tall, they can cast shadows on other parts of your garden, so plant accordingly.
You can enjoy these beauties as cut flowers in an arrangement, decorate with them or even harvest the seeds by cutting off the heads after the stalks are dry at the end of the season.
Currently, the seeds are out of stock on Burpee, but there are several Etsy sellers that offer seeds of these flowers, also known as vanilla ice sunflowers. Etsy seller LunaFloraLuk has these seed packets available for $2.32.
This seller notes that these flower heads will attract butterflies and bees once they fill with seeds in the later summer months.
Would you plant some coconut/vanilla ice sunflowers?