Talk about “gilding the lily”—or in this case, the sunflower! ‘Sunspots’ produces typical-looking annual sunflower (Helianthus annus) plants, reaching anywhere from 4 to 7 feet tall. The yellow-petaled heads can be anywhere from 4 to maybe 8 inches across. One good-sized head usually opens first, then other, somewhat smaller, heads often form just below it and flower somewhat later. The key feature of this strain, though, is its potential to produce foliage that is brightly splashed with yellow. Some of the plants produce striped seeds; others are solid black. I got my original ‘Sunspots’ seeds from a source in the UK. It hasn’t offered them for the last few years, and I don’t know of any other commercial source. If you do, I’d appreciate it greatly if you’d let me know so I can pass along that information once my limited 2022 supply is sold out. Please be aware that ‘Sunspots’ is different from the far more widely available strain called ‘Sunspot’, which produces compact plants with solid green foliage.
It’s important to understand that the variegation of ‘Sunspots’ does not come 100 percent true from seed. I have grown this strain many times over the years and get different results each time I sow. I usually start three seeds in a pot or in-ground group, with the hope of getting one variegate. It is usually obvious once the first true leaves appear (sometimes even before) which ones are variegated. Sometimes, two or even all three seedlings will have markings; every once in a while, none of the three will be variegated. That is not a failure of the seeds; it is just a feature of this rare strain. I collect only from plants with variegation that goes all the way up into the flowerhead. I cannot guarantee how many of the seeds you receive will produce variegation, however. But in the unlikely event that none do, please let me know, and I will send you a replacement package if I can, or give you a refund. Full sun. Annual.
Collected from late September to late October 2022. At least 10 seeds. Shipping to US addresses only. There is a very high demand for these seeds and a limited supply, so one packet per customer. (Please—if you have already purchased one packet since October 2022, don’t place additional orders to acquire more; give others a chance too.) If you are able to grow and collect seeds from well-variegated plants, I really hope you will share them with or sell them to other gardeners so this strain doesn’t get lost!
Please read the germination information as well before ordering.