The classic, cheerful sunflower can provide pops of sunny yellow all over any outdoor area.
Sunflowers have the scientific name Helianthus, which comes from the Greek “helios” (sun), and “anthos” (flower). Sunflowers don’t just get their name from commonly being yellow like the sun but also from being heliotropic, meaning they move their faces to follow the path of the sun in the sky.
Some sunflowers can grow quite tall — anywhere from 3 to 10 feet — while dwarf varieties will stay closer to the ground. While most sunflowers are annuals, meaning you can replant them each year from the seeds collected from the previous year’s flowers, there are some perennial sunflowers as well.
But did you know that besides the familiar, bright and sunny shade of yellow sunflowers there are also more rare hues, including pink sunflowers? We’re not talking about some artificially dyed, saturated pink blooms that you might find in a florist’s shop or grocery store but naturally beautiful pink sunflowers.
A few kinds of pink sunflowers that turn up online are called Midnight Oil and Iris Tectorum Rose. These names also pop up with iris flowers as well. Strawberry blonde and Ms. Mars are other varieties of pink sunflowers you can find online.
One consistent theme pops up with online reviews on pink sunflowers: You never know exactly what version of the shade you’ll get.
“The colors ranged from deep-purple hues to barely-there bubble gum pink,” said one reviewer on the page for Burpee’s strawberry blonde hybrids.
“Mine didn’t turn a pink but more of a brick red with a little touch of pink,” said another Burpee reviewer on the Ms. Mars sunflower. “A beautiful flower that I am going to grow every year now!”
When you do see pink sunflowers, they may not be the true flamingo pink you’re probably imagining, but people who’ve grown them say they’re still beautiful. Another thing that makes these blooms special is that pink sunflowers still seem to be a rare variety.
An anemone that looks like a pink sunflower is the Curtain Call Deep Rose variety, a Japanese anemone, with a vivid pink shade and smaller blooms than typical sunflowers.
If you spot a deep pink-purplish, sunflower-like bloom, it could also be a coneflower. Similar to sunflowers but of a different genus are coneflowers, and the Eastern Purple Coneflower comes in a deep shade of pink. Pictured below is an Eastern Purple Coneflower. You can see why these may be confused for pink sunflowers to the untrained eye!
Other pink flower varieties that resemble sunflowers that you might have seen are from the same shared Asteraceae family. These include anemones, asters, chrysanthemums, dahlias, daisies, dandelions, goldenrods, marigolds and false sunflowers or heliopsis. Pink shades of some of these flowers can be more common. Many of these are also perennials, meaning you don’t have to replant them each year as they will come back on their own.
You’ll also find many other unique colored sunflowers out there including deep red, orange, green and bronze.
Whatever kind of sunflower you plant, there is one key thing: make sure they can get a lot of sun! Make sure you water them regularly and don’t let them dry out. Once a sunflower’s blooms have faded, you can leave them to dry and then harvest the seeds out of the center of the sunflower to use for replanting or even snacking.
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.