Grow Ring of Fire Sunflowers for Brilliant Late Summer Color

Ring of Fire is a strikingly colorful member of the sunflower clan. Its five-inch blossom has gold petal edges that encircle a ring of red which flows around the chocolate brown center.

Unique from other sunflowers, it also blooms later, sometimes when other flowers have passed their peak, and up to 120 days to show full bi-color display. It branches out with long side stems producing several additional blooms per stalk. Ring of fire sunflowers are not the tallest varieties around, but plants still reach 4 to 6 feet tall, spreading 2 to 3 feet.

They are popular for cut flowers, can be used for the edible seeds and are sometimes left as food for wildlife. Also Pollinator Friendly and will attract Bees, butterflies and if you’re fortunate enough to have any in your area you might even see some hummingbirds.

It will bloom in 50-65 days days by starting seed indoors but as stated earlier the full bi-color effect is not instantaneous and can take twice that time to chime in.

  • Annual
  • Breeder: Benary Seed
  • Full sun
  • Water: Normal
  • Plant Height: 4-6 feet
  • Spread: 2-3 feet
  • Blossoms in 60 days but will take as long as 120 to reach full bi color effect
  • Bloom Season: Summer / Fall
  • Bloom Time : 50-65 days 120 days for Full bi-color effect
  • Bloom Color: Bi-color – Red- chocolate brown center, gold rimmed
  • Bloom Size: 5 inches
  • Spacing: 18 to 24 inches or more dependent on desired effect
  • Optimal Soil Temperature 68°F-71°F
  • Germination: 7 to 14 days (59°F-68°F)

Although they are drought tolerant, that doesn’t meant drought is a good thing. Regular watering is necessary for optimal performance.

Fertilizer is not necessary, although a little couldn’t hurt. Take it easy on the nitrogen in the plants early phases as excess nitrogen could delay flowering. A little organic mulch is a good idea also.

If you are harvesting seeds check the blossom heads for maturity. The back side becomes a yellowish brown instead of its youthful green. The smaller petals that were covering the seeds will have dried and begin falling out. Some of the blossom heads may be leaning downwards.

When the blossom head in fully mature ‘snap’ it off and remove and separate the seeds by hand. This can be a tedious task – you can also rub harvested heads together which helps to dislodge seeds.