'Coconut Ice' Sunflower

Like with most other plants I like my sunflowers to be on the usual side. The ones I’ve previously grown have been either sunflowers with dark petals like ‘Cinnamon Sun’ or they’re giant sunflowers like ‘Titan’ and ‘Mammoth.’ This year I was offered ‘Coconut Ice’ seeds by Burpee and really liked the pictures I saw of this sunflower on the Internet, even if it wasn’t so weird, so I decided to give it a try. The petals start off a creamy yellow fading to a nice white with a black center. In the promotional picture for this annual the effect of the dark center and white petals is quite striking.

‘Coconut Ice’ is an F1 hybrid. F1 stands for Filial1, it is the first filial generation of an offspring resulting from a cross of two different parent plants. As I learned from growing ‘Black Cat’ petunias this sometimes leads to some veriation in the plant. This sunflower is suppose to grow between 3-5 feet tall.  This, along with being a new introduction, is what I attribute to my blooms not looking exactly like the blooms on the Burpee seed catalog’s website or even on the National Garden Bureau’s entry for ‘Coconut Ice.’

The other factor that could explain my sunflower’s lackluster blooms could be cultivation. Aside from rainwater there is no other source of water for plants in the garden. In the early spring I’ll direct sow seeds as the rainy season gets here and leave the plants to fend for themselves throughout summer. Perhaps my blooms didn’t grow as large because they didn’t get the necessary water. The height of my sunflowers fell right in the middle of the estimated height so there’s no complaint there. One thing that is interesting to note is that my plants had several blooms per plant growing along the stem. That’s not something I noticed in the description of this sunflower online.

‘Coconut Ice’ may not have been a very impressive grower in my garden but it was a nice addition to the coneflower bed. It’s height made it a good candidate to grow between the taller plants in the back of the bed and the shorter daylilies in the front and really helped to brighten up the area. I’ll sow the rest of the seeds that Burpee sent me next year and give them more water and see if that makes a difference in the size of the bloom. Growing this sunflower reminded me of growing sunflower ‘Jade’ and makes me want to see if that hybrid su is still around.

Did you grow this sunflower this year? What did you think of it? Were you blooms as large as the pictures in Burpee’s catalog? If you have any recommendations for sunflowers to try leave them in the comments. I’m always looking for weird and unusual annuals to add to the garden. They’re the cheapest way of experimenting with color in the garden.

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