Sunflower Meaning2017-03-22T18:42:00+00:00

Sunflower: Its Meanings & Symbolism

Sunflower Meaning

The sunflower is not the rarest flower, but it’s still a beautiful symbol of power for many people. In many ways, it’s more powerful in what it symbolizes because it is easy to grow in your backyard or a patio container. Find out what this sunny gem means as a birth flower or a happy representation of the sun.

What Does the Sunflower Mean?

The sunflower has developed unique meanings across the world as it spreads in the modern age, but many cultures share similar views of the flower thanks to its physical characteristics. Some of the most common meanings include:

  • Long life, mainly since most varieties stand in full bloom for months on end during the hottest days of summer
  • Feelings of adoration, admiration, and platonic love towards a person, such as a family member or friend
  • Loyalty and strong bonds between two people, as represented by the strong and upright stem
  • Seeking out positivity and strength, as the bloom turns to face the sun
  • Nourishing yourself and others, since the sunflower produces an abundance of edible seeds
  • Brightening your mood, through the vibrancy of the yellow or orange petals
  • Good luck and lasting happiness, especially in the Chinese culture

Etymological Meaning of the Sunflower

The English name for the Sunflower is quite literal and taken from its bright sun-like appearance. Its scientific name, Helianthus, is just as literal because it combines the two Greek words for sun and flower.

Symbolism of the Sunflower

It’s no surprise that both ancient and modern people associated the Sunflower with warmth, positivity, power, strength, and happiness since it bears such a strong resemblance to the Sun itself. In Greek mythology, it’s tied to a story of a nymph who becomes the flower after losing her love. Victorian flower language ascribes a meaning of gratitude to the dwarf Sunflower, while it’s considered a good luck charm for occasions like graduations and new businesses in China. Of course, Sunflowers also feature prominently in works from artists like Van Gogh.

Sunflower Facts

  • The Sunflower is native to North America, but it has spread across the world through export.
  • Native Americans planted wild varieties as a source of food, but modern breeding has emphasized petal size and count over seed production in many varieties.
  • The Sunflower can range in height from six inches to over 12 feet tall, depending on the variety.

Sunflower Meaning

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Sunflower Color Meanings

Most Sunflowers are a shade of yellow, but white, orange, brown, and multicolored varieties also exist in the wild and through careful breeding. Color meaning variations include

  • A connection with innocence for white or cream colored petals
  • A link to strength and positivity with the more vibrant orange and red varieties of Sunflower
  • A tie to happiness and a long life with most of the yellow shades
  • A theme of loyalty and support for brown and burgundy flowers.

Meaningful Botanical Characteristics of the Sunflower

Aside from being beautiful and important symbolically, the Sunflower is downright useful. Almost all varieties produce edible and good-tasting seeds with plenty of health benefits. If you don’t eat the seeds yourself, you can feed your local songbirds just by letting them dry on the stalk. The entire plant also produces a pale yellow dye.

The Sunflower’s Message Is…

Stand tall and follow your dreams. Focus on what’s positive in your life and don’t let anyone get you down.

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  1. Eden June 28, 2017 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    Sunflower is my favourite flower. Thank you for the information. I appreciate it.

  2. Erin July 27, 2017 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    What is the font used for the article headings? I am OBSESSED!

    • Dayna Marie August 16, 2017 at 12:04 am - Reply

      “Petit Formal Script”, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif

  3. Shaha August 5, 2017 at 1:23 am - Reply

    Gorgeous photos. Truly helpful information. I adore Sunflowers! Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂

  4. Leslie W. August 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Sunflowers have always been my favorite flower. Thank you for giving so much information.

  5. Dave September 20, 2017 at 2:41 am - Reply

    What do you call a person/people who likes sunflowers? Thanks for the answer.

  6. Cd October 30, 2017 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    So we are having Bookclub and read the Book, The Language of Flowers.
    My favourite flowers are Sunflowers
    We have to make a food dish related to the meaning.
    Any suggestion?

  7. Allison May 20, 2018 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    ‘In Greek mythology, it’s tied to a story of a nymph who becomes the flower after losing her love.’

    I was scratching my head over this, as I know of no such myth and thought sunflowers were native to the Americas, which indeed you mention in your article. The ancient Greeks could hardly create myths about something they never knew- you may want to remove this sentence. But thank you for the rest of the article, it’s lovely.

  8. […] who turns into a flower after losing her love (Whispering Books has a cute story). You can consult Flower Meaning for more […]

  9. […] you want to wish someone special a long and happy life, there’s no better flower to give than a sunflower. Sunflowers are themselves a long lasting […]

  10. […] Taken directly from: […]

  11. Donna Rowe December 13, 2018 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Another sunflower fact–It’s the state flower of Kansas. I find the message “Stand tall and follow your dreams. Focus on what’s positive in your life and don’t let anyone get you down” meaningful because the state motto of Kansas “Ad astra per aspera” translates into “To the stars through difficulties.” It all ties together so nicely, although I’m sure when the flower and motto were adopted, their correlation wasn’t noticed.

    Why, yes, I am Kansan. How did you know? 😉

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