LSU AgCenter Horticulturist
Admired for its striking appearance, impressive size and dogged resilience, the Suncredible sunflower (Helianthus hybrid) is a cultivar that has captured the hearts of gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike. Suncredible Saturn is joining previous Louisiana Super Plant selection Suncredible Yellow as one of this summer’s Louisiana Super Plants selections for warm-season bedding color.
Suncredible is an annual, ever-blooming, branched sunflower with a bushlike habit. It grows up to 4 feet tall with a spread of 2 feet. Blooms are up to 4 inches across and do not require deadheading. This sunflower blooms for weeks, and the pollinators just love it, especially bees and butterflies. It adds a perfect pop of yellow to your garden.
Suncredible grows best in full sun and can tolerate a range of soils. It is drought and heat tolerant once established. It has no real disease or pest issues. It can be used in both the landscape and container plantings. To encourage vigorous growth, use a controlled release fertilizer at the time of planting and again in late summer or early fall. A mass planting makes a great focal point.
The Suncredible Saturn sunflower is a hybrid variety that emerged from the efforts of plant breeders aiming to create a sunflower with extraordinary characteristics. This hybrid cultivar was developed by incorporating various sunflower species, each contributing specific traits to create the ideal balance of beauty and hardiness. The primary objective was to produce a sunflower that could withstand diverse environmental conditions, remain compact in size and, above all, boast stunning blooms.
The most eye-catching feature of the Suncredible Saturn sunflower is undoubtedly its pretty flowers. Unlike traditional sunflowers that grow tall and bear a single massive flower, Suncredible Saturn is a multibranching variety, producing several blooms on each plant. Saturn features a reddish ring around the center of the bloom, giving it its name and differentiating it from Suncredible Yellow.
The Suncredible Saturn sunflower is unique in its ability to produce an abundance of smaller blooms throughout the growing season rather than just one grand display. This characteristic not only prolongs the flowering period but also ensures a consistent supply of nectar and pollen, making it a favorite among pollinators such as bees, butterflies and even some birds.
One of the best aspects of the Suncredible Saturn sunflower is its resilience and adaptability to various growing conditions and its exceptional heat and drought tolerance, making it a great choice for regions with hot summers and sparse rainfall.
Furthermore, its compact growth habit makes it an excellent option for smaller gardens, patios or containers, providing an opportunity for urban dwellers to bring a touch of nature to their surroundings. Whether grown in a large field or a small balcony, the Suncredible Saturn sunflower has the capacity to thrive and charm in diverse environments.
Beyond its stunning appearance and adaptability, the Suncredible Saturn sunflower also plays a significant role in supporting local ecosystems. As a nectar-rich flower, it serves as a crucial food source for many pollinators, aiding in their survival and contributing to the overall health of the environment. By attracting a diverse array of insects and birds, these sunflowers actively promote biodiversity and help maintain a balanced ecosystem.
Sunflowers are a great addition to the summer and fall garden. Some of my favorite traditional tall, single-stemmed sunflowers are the ProCut series, Sunrich Series and the Vincent series.
Branching varieties including Suncredible Saturn and Yellow produce flowers on shorter, branched stems. Some other examples are Autumn Beauty Mix, Soraya, SunBuzz, Sunfinity and SunBelievable.
A unique characteristic of sunflowers is that they track the sun; the flower heads turn as the sun moves across the sky, a phenomenon that is called heliotropism. Sunflowers also symbolize optimism, positivity, long life and happiness.
Sunflowers can easily be grown from seed. You can sow seeds directly after the danger of the last frost has passed, or you can find some varieties at independent garden centers in the late spring to early summer. Sunflowers can still be transplanted this autumn for more fall color.
The Suncredible Saturn sunflower is undoubtedly an awe-inspiring beauty with hardiness and environmental benefits. This hybrid cultivar has earned its place as a cherished gem in the world of flora.
Suncredible Saturn sunflower is a 2023 Louisiana Super Plant selection for warm-season color. LSU AgCenter file photo
Suncredible Yellow sunflower was a previous Louisiana Super Plant selection for warm-season color. LSU AgCenter file photo
Traditional sunflowers have large flowers on tall, single stems. LSU AgCenter file photo