Daisy Vs Sunflower- What Is The Difference?

Daisy vs Sunflower- What is the Difference (2)

Both the daisy and the Sunflower are beautiful flowers with rich symbolism attached. They are grown in parts of North America and though they bear a resemblance, they are both very different flowers.

We look at the differences between the two from their plant families, botanical characteristics, and planting tips, so read on to find out all you need to know about the Daisy and the Sunflower. 

Daisy Vs Sunflower

As we have mentioned, both are beautiful flowers with gorgeous characteristics and bright colors. However, Daisies are perennial flowers and this means they come back each year. On the other hand, Sunflowers are an annual plant. This means they are replanted from the seed every year.

Both plants however come from the same family. This is the Asteraceae plant family and is made up of around 23,600 different species. Moreover, both the Sunflower and the Daisy are angiosperms.

This simply means they often reproduce the seeds within the flowers. When it comes to blooming, both flowers bloom from late Spring into early Summer, and in many gardens over the US, they can provide consistent blooms. 

The Differences Between Sunflowers And Daisies

The Sunflower

The Sunflower originated in the Americas and they are believed to be first domesticated in the South of the USA and Mexico around 4000 years ago.

The plant was used by Native Americans, originally as a source for their edible seeds. The plants then appeared in Europe in the early part of the 16th century and developed to produce cultivators which could be used for the production of sunseed oil.

This oil became useful very quickly in cooking and cosmetics and this resulted in the cultivation of the Sunflower on a global scale in places such as Russia which is currently the largest producer in the world.

The Sunflower comes from the Asteraceae family, under the genus, Helianthus. This simply means they are part of the larger category, Asteraceae, but its more specific categorization is Helianthus.

If we trace back to Greek and Latin roots, ‘Heli’ means sun and this is where the famous name comes from.

They are known for their huge size and their large bright yellow or orange flowers topping their tall stem. This can be either a single stem or branching.

The Sunflower is a heliotropic flower. This means the flower can follow the movement of the sun as it travels East to West.

However, the belief that the Sunflower constantly follows the movement of the sun is simply a myth and research reveals it is just the buds and leaves of the flower that turn to follow the sun.

Once the plant’s head has bloomed its petals, it is no longer heliotropic and instead, it remains fixed towards the East. This is where the sun rises. The leaves of the Sunflower are phototropic which means the flowers respond to growth in the direction of a light source or the sun. 

Sunflowers are extremely versatile and often used for ornamental purposes. The flower’s seeds can be eaten by humans or birds, or they can be compressed for their oil. This oil can then be used for multiple purposes such as in soaps and lubricants. 

The bright yellow flowers of the Sunflower are also often used in pigments and dyes. The petals carry different shades of orange, yellow, or white and the centers of the flower can either be dark brown or yellow. For certain varieties, they can also be black. 

Overall, Sunflowers are large beautiful flowers and come in multiple different varieties. Individual flowers are used by florists all over the world for formal arrangements,

whilst you can also buy bunches of smaller blooms to place in your home to bring some bright colors inside and provide you with joy, optimism, and happiness throughout the day.

Daisy vs Sunflower- What is the Difference (1)
Daisy vs Sunflower- What is the Difference (1)

The Daisy

Daisies also belong to the Asteraceae family, but they are from the Bellis Perennis. Tracing back to Greek and Latin roots once again, the Perennis is a Greek word and means perennial.

To remind ourselves, a perennial is a flower that returns every year. The Daisy is native to Asia and Europe, yet is now also considered a wildflower across most of the USA.

There are 3 types of common Daisies that most people will be able to identify. These include the Oxeye Daisy with the Latin name, Leucanthemum vulgare, and the Shasta Daisy with the Latin name Leucanthemum x superbum.

The Shasta Daisy is also considered an African Daisy. There is also the True Daisy or the English Daisy with the Latin name, Bellis Perennis. 

In the past, the daisy has been known as the ‘day’s eye’, and this is a result of its appearance. The flowers grow all year and are resistant to weather and bugs, yet only blossoms in the day, giving it the name, ‘day’s eye’. In Latin, the Daisy can also be translated as a pearl as a result of the round, white petals that resemble a pearl.

Daisy’s original name also depicts the tide of Spring and this is connected to the energy of the sun. It is also associated with the flower’s arrival, which depicts solar attributes with its bright yellow color in the center, radiating its surroundings.

Daisies are known for their heads and these are around 15-30 petals that are surrounded by a disk that is bright yellow. Most people know daisies for their bright white color, yet there are also other colors available such as pink, red and yellow.

Daisy petals are usually white or pink and in a lot of cases, they have a bold yellow center. Gerbera Daisies are a well-known flower that is used in many floral arrangements, as well as being a landscaping flower. They can be grown and cared for in pots and flower beds.

Unfortunately, a lot of people consider the Daisy as an annoying and invasive weed. If this is the case, you should take care when planting so that it does not spread outside your flower beds. 

Similarities Between The Daisy And The Sunflower 

Sunflowers and Daisies can be mixed up, especially since they belong to the same Asteraceae family. Flowers from both the Sunflower and the Daisy family grow well when in full sun and this means they get uninterrupted sunlight from when the sun rises to when it sets again. 

Both flowers are perfect if you want to add some simple color to your garden but remember Daisies will return each year as they are perennials and Sunflowers will need to be replanted as they are an annual plant.

It is not unusual for the sunflower to self-seed. This means at the later part of the season, the flower will drop its seeds that have been fertilized and you might get what is known as ‘volunteer’ sunflowers year after year. 

Planting Sunflowers

If you want to plant Sunflowers by yourself, it’s helpful to know they are one of the easiest plants around to plant! Their bold yellow colors in the center will last long into the summer and this means you will be able to experience the joy sunflowers bring for many months to come. 

As the Sunflower is annual, the seeds need to be planted out into the soil after you have recovered from the last frost.

For the best results, you should try to plant the Sunflower seeds in partial to full sun, after waiting for the temperature of the soil to drop to 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The bloom time on the flower is usually around 50-80 days, but this depends on the variety of flowers. It means you should plant your Sunflowers 2 months before your final frost date so you can still experience some late-season blooms.

Daisy vs Sunflower- What is the Difference (2)

If you want the best possible Sunflowers blooming in your garden, you should make sure you plant into well-drained soil in full sunlight. Sunflowers are showy flowers and they will give you one single flower that blooms from summer and into the fall.

The yellow petals will give you a cherry pop of bright color and its positivity is contagious. It’s hard not to smile with a Sunflower planted in your garden.

Sunflowers can also come in a pollen-less variety. These varieties are great for people with allergies and to prevent pollen from sticking to the tablecloth if you have them inside for an indoor arrangement. 

The types of pollen-less Sunflowers include the teddy bear sunflower, the buttercream, the chocolate cherry, the firecracker, the junior, the ProCut series, and the Mulan Rouge. 

Planting Daisies

Whilst daisies can be harder to grow they still provide a perfect option for gardeners looking to maintain a perennial garden. The flowers are pleasant on the eyes and come in a variety of different colors. They can also act as a ground cover to shade out any weeds as they have such a big bushy growth habit. 

When you are planting Daisies, you will often get the best results if you plant in the fall. This gives the plant enough time to develop a great root system before the oncoming summer.

Often, perennial plants might take at least a year or even two to establish a good enough root system to bloom, so do not panic if your daisies do not flower in the first year.

You can also plant from the seeds or buy plants that are already established, making them an accessible flower to plant for gardeners of all abilities. 

If you plant the seeds, you should germinate the seeds indoors before planting. You should plant when they have grown 2 sets of true leaves. 

If you choose to plant a Daisy as an annual, you will need to purchase a more mature plant with a much more established root system.

The smaller white flowers are the sort of flowers to help your garden get through a long and hot summer as once they are established, they require very little maintenance.

This makes them a great choice if you have a busy schedule or you are a new gardener. Feel free to go ahead and deadhead the flowers by breaking off any flowers that have gone bad, and this should ensure the plant keeps reblooming. 

The different types of Daisies gardeners enjoy planting include the Shasta or African Daisy, the Gerbera Daisy, and the Gloriosa Daisy. 

Sunflower And Daisy FAQs

Are Daisies And Sunflowers Related?

Yes, they are related and this means it is not unusual that there are larger varieties of Daisies with similar yellow petals to the Sunflower. Both plants belong to the daisy family, Asteraceae.

Are False Sunflowers The Same As Regular Ones?

False Sunflowers are in the same Heliopsis genus, yet they are perennial and much better suited for warmer climates. They can still be planted as an annual, but only in much cooler climates. These flowers come in different shapes and can be a great ground cover to shade out any weeds.

Will Sunflowers Irritate My Allergies?

This will depend on the variety of Sunflower you plant. A lot of Sunflowers will come in hybrid varieties and will not have any pollen.

If this is the case, your allergies will not be affected. However, with standard Sunflower varieties, your allergies might flare up as they have pollen in them that might float around in the air, or settle on the tablecloth if you bring them inside in a vase. 

Are Black-Eyes Susan Flowers Considered A Daisy?

Black-eyed Susan’s, rudbeckias, and purple coneflowers look similar to Daisies, yet they are not the same plant. They can be compared more to the Daisy than the Sunflower, as they are all perennial plants. 

Final Thoughts

We hope by reading this article you have learned a little more about the beautiful flowers that are Daisies and the Sunflowers and about how they are different, or how they are so similar in a lot of ways.

Whilst a Daisy is a perennial, and a Sunflower is an annual plant, both species will bring a splash of bright color into your garden and will spread optimism, joy, happiness, and positivity all summer long.


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