Flowers that look like sunflowers of the Asteraceae family are equally stunning as them. If you love how sunflowers look but you’re struggling to grow one, you can try any of the plants’ lookalikes. There are several stunning options to choose from.

Stunning Flowers That Look Like Sunflowers

Planting any of them in your home or outdoor gardens will have the same or similar visual effects as the real thing. Keep reading to discover some plants that look like sunflowers.

Different Flowers That Look Like Sunflowers

Scientifically the sunflowers are called Helianthus annuus, as these species are available to plant in gardens-through sunflower seeds. They all have similar functionalities, such as edible leaves, oil extracts, and ornamental purposes.

Outside of these species of sunflowers, some plants are similar in looks. They might not be as versatile as the sunflower plant, but most can be planted for ornamental purposes.

1. Black Eyed Susan

Most flowers from the Asteraceae family look like sunflowers, and the black-eyed Susan is not exempted. These wildflowers originated from eastern and North Central America. They can now be found spread widely all over America. These plants have different varieties that are annual, perennial, or biennial.

Black Eyed Susan grows in hardiness zones 3 all the way through zone 9, so check that your hardiness zone is suitable for planting them. 

– Features

Black Eyed Susan is a plant that grows about three feet tall and specifically two feet wide. The plants produce flowers that bloom all summer with different shades of yellow, red, and orange colors. Which would be beautiful to grow them in your garden, and to see the vibrant colors from the petals. 

These brightly colored blooms are stunning contrasts to the greens of the landscape. On another note, you must also remember that when you plant these flowers, they’re attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies. 

Black-eyed Susans are named after the distinct dark centers of their flower heads, which look like dark pigmented eyes. They are great border or container plants. Also, you can use them in floral arrangements like other decorative flowers. 

Close View of Black Eyed Susans

– Growing Season

You can grow black-eyed Susan plants anytime during spring. Planting them is much easier when there’s no longer frost on the ground.

The plants can take root and become established. You should avoid planting when temperatures are extremely high, especially during hot summers. Plant seeds six weeks earlier than the last frost if you’re working with seeds.

– Specific Needs

Black-eyed Susans are short-lived ornamental plants that need proper spacing when growing. They should be spaced at least 18 inches from each other, as they have underground rhizomes that cause the plants to spread. These plants are wildflowers, so they don’t require much maintenance. 

If you want the beautiful blooms of black-eyed Susan all through its blooming season, plant it in full view of the sun and practice deadheading occasionally. These plants can also tolerate partial shade.

Black Eyed Susan plants aren’t fussy about the soil they’re grown in. However, it needs to be a well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (about 6.8). Black Eyed Susan plants are drought-resistant, so they need frequent watering once they’re established. 

2. False Sunflower

Heliopsis helianthoides, also known as rough oxeye, smooth oxeye, or false sunflower, is a flowering plant that grows wildly all over eastern and north central America. While they look similar to regular sunflowers, they are completely different plants. 

– Features

False Sunflowers grow about six feet tall and three feet wide, much taller and wider than the black-eyed Susan plants. They produce orange and yellow flowers that bloom all summer long, as they would tolerate the heat. These brightly colored flowers are why the plants are popular in gardens and flower cuts. 

Contrary to most belief, the False Sunflowers are not toxic to humans or even to pets or other animals, as they are actually safe. So, if you have pets, you can let them loose around them, and if they eat it, the flower won’t intoxicate the pets’ immunity

On the other hand, you don’t want your pets to get too close to your plants, so they won’t destroy them, because when they bloom, and they are harmed or bitten, they will degenerate. Also, these plants are perfect for borders.

Blooming Sunflower Flower in Garden

– Growing Season

False Sunflowers grow well when they’re planted in spring or fall. They sprout fast and grow quickly. However, these plants don’t produce flowers in their first year. After the first year, they produce abundant blooms that last through summer and fall. 

– Specific Needs

These flower can become heavy towards the top of their stalk due to their large flower heads. You can add a stick for support to help keep them upright and prevent them from breaking when there’s a strong wind. In addition, note that deadheading works to help keep the flowers in bloom for the coming year, so it’s a good practice for false sunflowers. 

You must note that full sunlight is very beneficial to false sunflowers. They thrive and produce beautiful flowers when planted in full view of the sun.

However, a little shade won’t hurt them, or hinder the growth but you should note that if they’re shaded for too long, they can become gangly and won’t produce as many blooms as they would normally. 

They grow well in hardiness zones 3 to 9, so check your growing zone before adding them to your garden. False Sunflowers are hardy plants and will grow in almost all soil types as long as the soil has a neutral pH and isn’t water-logged. They thrive in sandy, rocky, or even some clay soils would be some that they would tolerate. 

3. Bush Daisy

Euryops pectinatus, commonly known as golden daisy bush or bush daisy, is an eye-catching weed indigenous to Africa. They grow wildly along roadsides and untouched open spaces. Bush daisies are perfect for zone 8 to 11 gardens

– Features

Note that these daisies grow compact branches. They can grow up to almost eight feet tall. Like Sunflowers, the bush daisies produce dazzling yellow flowers with seedy centers that attract pollinators like birds and bees, which will help with the pollination process.

Although these daisies are tiny, unlike sunflowers, making them look like miniature sunflowers. They look good as border plants, potted plants, or flower beds.

– Growing Seasons

The best time to plant bush daisies is in spring, after the frost has passed. The plants don’t like cold and will wither during prolonged cold spells. Don’t fret; they will reappear in spring when the ground is warmer, as this is their natural blooming way. 

Yellow Bush Daisy Blossom

Bush daisies tend to produce flowers all year round, especially in warm regions, where not a big number in areas that experience frost or the extensive drop of the temperature. 

– Specific Needs

Plant bush daisies in an area with total sun exposure for optimum flower production, though they tolerate partial shade, it is not ideal for floral growth. Note that these plants are drought tolerant; however, it’s best to water them liberally during extensive dry periods, so they can produce well. 

Bush daisy seedlings will require regular watering to help them develop a good spread of roots, after which they would only need minimal watering. 

Your soil quality doesn’t have to be that great for you to be able to plant bush daisies, as they can survive in poor to moderate soil types.

They do well in clay, loamy, sandy, and even chalky soils as long as they’re well-drained and have a slightly weak pH. Also, applying a little all-purpose fertilizer right before the growing season will help new growths develop well. 

4. Mexican Sunflower

Tithonia rotundifolia, commonly called Mexican sunflower or tree marigold, is a bushy annual or perennial shrub that is indigenous to Central America and Mexico. These shrubs are fast-growing, and mature ones shoot up to about eight feet tall.

– Features

Mexican sunflowers grow large green stalks with extended stems that can break easily, especially on windy days. They produce coarse green foliage with slightly serrated edges. Also, these sunflowers have distinct flowers with bright colors that range from red to orange hues. 

Much wildlife, pollinators, and insects are attracted to these beautiful sunflowers because of their brightly colored blooms. Which means that, if you choose to work with this plant, expect an array of pollinators to visit your garden from time to time. 

Yellow Mexican Sunflower in Wild

– Growing Season

Growing Mexican sunflowers is very easy, even the most inexperienced gardener will have zero issues when growing this showy plant. Most gardeners prefer to plant these sunflowers with their seeds during spring, when there is no more frost. The seeds take about ten days to germinate if they’re planted where they can get direct sunlight.

– Specific Needs

While Mexican sunflowers are easy to grow and maintain, there are a few important conditions to put in place. For example, light intensity and soil conditions play roles in the development of Mexican sunflowers. In their natural growth habits, these plants thrive in rough, sandy, or rocky soils, so you should try to mimic that as much as possible to get the best results. 

They grow abundantly in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. But as long as the soil in your garden drains well, you can plant Mexican Sunflowers successfully, without extra fuss, as they are pretty easy to cultivate. 

Like sunflowers and their other lookalikes, Mexican sunflowers require full exposure to the sun to grow well. Also, they are drought-resistant plants, extra watering isn’t needed-water from rainfall is enough for them.

5. Pot Marigold

Calendula officinalis, usually called pot marigold, scotch marigold, or ruddles, is a member of the Asteraceae family. Pot Marigold is very different from ornamental or common marigold. They are annual or perennial plants that can be grown in flower beds or mots. These plants can be found widely distributed all over Europe.

– Features

Though perennial varieties of pot marigolds are typically short-lived, they’re a gardener’s favorites because of their showy blooms and fast-growing habits. These plants produce stunning flowers, mostly in yellow, red, and orange hues.

However, some uncommon varieties of the plant have light pink or cream flowers. You can mix different varieties of pot marigolds to get a full garden of colorful flowers, and still, it will look vibrant enough.

Closeup of Yellow Pot Marigold

– Growing Season

Pot marigold is usually planted in early spring so that it would give their roots some time to develop before the next frost season. Once you plant your seeds, you should notice young sprouts of the plant in just a few days, as it is a fast growing one, once the ambience is to its favor. The plants will start producing flowers in less than eight weeks, and you can enjoy your blooms in their season every year.

– Specific Needs

Although pot marigolds can thrive in unfavorable conditions, they prefer rich soils with a slightly acidic to neutral pH range, which means anywhere between 6 and 7.

As a punctilious gardener, you might be tempted to add fertilizers to the soil, but that is not needed at all, note that the mature pot marigolds don’t require fertilizers to thrive, because they would be established already.

Additionally, pot marigolds enjoy full sunlight. However, if it becomes too much, your plants will wither right before your eyes. Overall, you must remember that a little whenever there’s intense heat will go a long way in helping your plant survive.

6. Blanket Flower

What a funny name, right? The plant’s name is significant, though. It alludes to the likeness of the flowers to the vividly colored blankets made and used by Native Americans. The name also elaborates to the fact that the flowers spread like blankets wherever they are planted. Many gardeners grow blanket flowers as ornamental plants due to their specific feature.

– Feature

These sunflower lookalikes grow up to 25 feet in height and can spread as far as 20 inches. They can be grown directly from seeds or from young plants. If you need fast blooms, it’s better to get young blanket flowers from nurseries and transplant them.

Blanket flowers grow in various shades of peach, orange, red and yellow. As a result, you can expect your garden to burst with colors if you combine several varieties of the plant. It is crucial to note that blanket sunflowers can be toxic to people, so take care when handling them and plant them out of reach of children.

– Growing Season

If you want early summer blooms, you should grow your blanket flower seeds in early spring after all the frost has disappeared.

Red and Yellow Blanket Flowers in Plants

You can also plant them about six weeks early, but you would have to do that indoors and then move or transplant the seedlings once the weather becomes warmer. In addition, they grow well in zones 3 to 10, so if you plan to add them to your garden, check that your zone falls within these regions. 

– Specific Needs

The Gaillardia, commonly called blanket flower, is very easy to grow. It’s a non-fussy perennial plant that doesn’t live very long.

Just like any other plant, blanket flowers require a few things to grow and produce their stunning flowers. Note that they grow best under direct sunlight, for eight hours a day, and produce the most beautiful blooms. 

However, they can tolerate a little shade, especially under severely hot conditions. While they don’t mind a little shade, they can become leggy and will produce fewer flowers if they’re left that way for very long.

Blanket flowers will grow in almost any soil condition, just as long as it is properly drained. They will grow in sandy, loamy and chalky soil, but not clay soils, as they are too dense and easily water-logged. Remember, when you are planting it, that the poorer the soil, the better for the plant.

7. Barberton Daisy

Gerbera jamesonii, popularly known as the Transvaal daisy or Barberton daisy, is a flowering plant native to some parts of Africa. These sunflower-lookalikes brighten up any space with their bright, colorful blooms-they look almost unreal. 

– Features

Barberton daisies have large, fuzzy leaves that grow about 12 inches wide, and they resemble sunflowers with the way that they open up their blooms. The plants grow about two feet tall and can become lanky. Note that if you want an indoor flower to brighten up your space and improve your mood, the Barberton daisy is the plant for you.

The specific and prominent feature that these flowers produce is that they would be blooming with varying shades of purple, red, orange, yellow, salmon, and magenta hues. On another note, some varieties even produce bi-colored flowers.

Additionally, Barberton daisies make stunning floral arrangements. Pair them in gardens or flower arrangements with blue or purple flowers to give a beautiful contrast. 

Barberton Daisy Flowers in a Bush

– Growing Season

Springtime, when there’s no more frost, is the best season to plant Gerbera daisies. These plants can be grown from seeds indoors in pots or outdoors directly in the ground. They are neither fast nor slow-growing plants, but you should be expecting them to bloom in about 18 weeks after planting, which would be in spring.

– Specific Needs

Barberton daisies will thrive under specific environmental conditions. Plant them in places that are in full view of the sun for optimum flower production. They also do well in a little shade, especially when the weather is extremely hot. 

Note that you should avoid planting them close to buildings or walls that can cast intense shadows on them during the day, as this will be awful for flower growth as this would hinder it. Barberton daisies grow in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11, which is the perfect place to grow them.

Many gardeners practice deadheading with Barberton daisies, as this helps the plants produce more blooms. You can adapt the practice when growing them; however, if they become too bushy, trim off some of the leaves so that your plants can get maximum light from the sun. 

The pH levels in the soil you choose to grow Barberton daises in must be just right. High pH levels in the soil can cause discoloration in the leaves, and low pH levels can cause dark patches to appear on the leaves.

If you wish to avoid the latter, you must make sure the pH level of your soil is between 5.5 and 6.5. Speaking of soil, Barberton daisies do well in any soil type that is nutrient-rich and well-draining. 

8. Yellow Coneflower

Like almost all the other sunflower lookalikes mentioned previously, yellow coneflowers are members of the Asteraceae family. They are found growing abundantly in the dry grasslands of eastern and central North America. 

– Benefits

These plants are also called Echinacea which literally translates to sea urchin. Coneflowers are cultivated for several reasons, but one main reason is their beautiful flowers, which are used for ornamental or decorative purposes. 

– Features

Coneflowers are popular for their vibrant blooms that are produced in countless colors, such as; green, orange, yellow, purple, white, red, and pink, and sometimes even the lighter or darker shades of these too. The lovely blooms attract many beneficial insects and animals like birds, butterflies, and bees for the success of the pollination process. 

Additionally, these flowers are deer-resistant which means that you won’t see the flowers bitten and have no known toxicity to people and pets. In fact, these plants have medicinal properties and can be brewed as tea to treat some immune problems. 

Stunning Yellow Coneflower in Nature

– Growing Season

Coneflowers can be planted from young plants or through seeds, as most gardeners get young seedlings from nurseries. Planting by using this method is actually way easier, and your plant will produce blooms faster this way, and the result will be more efficient in spring. 

Overall, if you want to plant coneflowers with their seeds, wait till the last frost is gone to plant. This can be anytime in spring or early summer. 

– Specific Needs

Coneflowers require full sunlight to grow properly, and to open up their petals fully, however, when they lack it, they would start to wilt a little.

Also, they are also able to tolerate a little drought once established, so mature plants don’t need frequent watering. Note that, when they’re young, you should water the plants regularly to allow them to develop properly, and to establish the roots in a stronger manner. 

Coneflowers will grow in different soil type as long as it drains well and doesn’t hold a lot of water. Some gardener practice staking when some coneflowers begin to tilt. On the other hand, this practice isn’t necessary, as the plants mostly have sturdy stems and they would be fine. 

Coneflowers can be grown in hardiness zones 3 to 9; however, because there are a vast number of cultivars available, some varieties could even grow outside zones 3 to 9 as some extra care is necessary for it.


You don’t have to plant sunflowers to add a cheery look to your outdoor or indoor gardens. There are several beautiful flowers that are just as cheery as sunflowers that you can grow instead.

We’ve discussed a few of them in this article. Let’s take a look at some highlights. 

  • Most sunflower lookalikes need exposure to full sunlight to produce beautiful blooms. 
  • One common feature of sunflower lookalikes is central discs surrounded by vividly colored petals. 
  • Sunflowers and most of their lookalikes are great ornamental flowers, and some of them can be used in bouquets or other floral arrangements. 

Now that you’ve read through this article, you know some plants that look like sunflowers and can act as substitutes. Go ahead and select your favorite to spice up your space. 


5/5 - (16 votes)