Sunflower Tattoo – Ideas To Spark Your Floral Tattoo

Sunflower tattoo is as captivating to look at as it is to draw. A beautiful, meaningful flower that has mesmerized generations of people. For some a sunflower outline is already enough to get their design ready for inking, but others prefer to take it up a notch with an intricate design featuring roses, butterflies and geometry.

From Van Gogh’s sunflowers to modern geometric designs, the sunflower meaning of loyalty, longevity, and adoration is inevitable.

Sunflowers are part of the Asteraceae family which is the same family as daisies.

Its story has the historical and continental sweep of a Hollywood epic, from the pre-European Americas to Tsarist Russia and back again.

Here is the tale of the peripatetic sunflower, accompanied by some tattoo industry’s sunflower drawing examples.

Every Tattoo Has A Story – Sunflower Tattoo Meaning

The common name, “sunflower”, typically refers to the popular annual species Helianthus annuus, or the common sunflower, whose round flower heads in combination with the ligules look like the glowing sun.

In Greek, helios means sun and anthos means flower, thus the name Sunflower.

The story of sunflower is indeed amazing. The wild sunflower is native to North America but commercialization of the plant took place in Russia. It was only recently that the sunflower plant returned to North America to become a cultivated crop. But it was the American Indian who first domesticated the plant into a single headed plant with a variety of seed colors including black, white, red, and black/white striped.

It is thought that the plant arrived in the Old World (to Spain) around the beginning of the sixteenth century but because of its wonderful size and beauty (it was considered very exotic) the sunflower was first used mostly as an ornamental plant.

Usually, sunflowers are taken to symbolize loyalty, longevity, and adoration. Most of this symbolic meaning comes from the namesake of the plant, the sun itself.

The flowers are unique because they can provide energy in the form of their vibrant colors and their seeds, a common food source both for humans as well as other animals like bees.

Seeing a sunflower growing in the wild represents freedom but luck too. Make sure to make a wish on them!

What Does Each Sunflower Color Symbolize?

Sunflowers actually come in many varieties, small and large. Other than yellow, there are other colors. Each color also carries a meaning, too.

Yellow Sunflowers

The most common color, like the sun they have power and authority. A yellow sunflower means goodness, lifegiving, truth, endurance and timelessness. They’re the essence of love and loyalty.

Red Sunflowers

The red sunflowers grow in varying deepness from bright red to a dep, velvet burgundy. They symbolize vitality, lust, energy, and passion. Also prosperity and good luck.

Orange Sunflower

These sunflowers attract pollinators and hummingbirds. This is why they’re the symbol of high spirtis, happiness, energy, fertility and good fortune. They also represent balance within ourselves.

Blue Sunflower

These are rare but very possible. Seeing one in life, or in a dream symbolizes truth, intellect, wisdom, loyalty, peace and eternity. They’re a way to tell you to contemplate your future.

Black Sunflower

These are too rare, but possible by years of cross pollination. They mean perfect, high ability, maturity, wisdom, secrecy, mystery and protection.

Purple Sunflowers

Purple is linked to royalty and mystical beliefs, so it comes as no surprise then, which represents majesty, wealth, glory and splendor.

White Sunflowers

White is a symbol of peace, so white flowers also symbolize purity and rebirth. They symbolize a blank canvas and beginning of an expectation and an end to be gained.

Pink Sunflowers

Pink sunflowers mean innocence and good health. Their softness represents universal unconditional love and patience.

Sunflower Meaning in Greek Mythology

The Greek myth behind the sunflowers, or at least the flowers that resembles it, is a very nice tale.

The story goes like this – once upon a time in ancient Greece, a nymph named Clytie fell deeply in love Apollo, god of the sun.

Although Clytie was beautiful by nymph standards, Apollo did not reciprocate her feelings, or acknowledge it.

After nine days of hopeless devotion, the nymph then transformed herself into a sunflower and constantly turned towards the sun so she could always be with the one she loved, somehow.

Greek mythology states that she still hopes to see Apollo return to her someday in his bright and beautiful chariot.

Sunflowers in Native American Culture

Sunflowers were one of the important crops grown in Native American gardens.

Some people call sunflowers the “fourth sister,” in reference to the Three Sisters (corn, bean, and squash), but this is a recent myth.

Some Native people also saw sunflowers as a symbol of courage, so that warriors would carry sunflower cakes to battle with them or a hunter would sprinkle sunflower powder on his clothing to keep his spirit up.

Sunflower oil was also believed to treat skin ailments, and sunflowers had a variety of medicine uses in different tribes.

Sunflowers in Chinese Mythology

In the aspect of Chinese culture and symbolism, the sunflower represents longevity and good luck and is considered as an auspicious gesture.

To the Chinese, it’s positively yellow colour symbolized vitality and an abundance of intelligence.

It’s a symbol of happiness too.

Sunflower seeds were consumed as snacks by the Chinese royalty as a desire to achieve immortality. At that time, sunflowers were not just a representation of longevity, they were believed to radiate powers of immortality as well.

With their tall stalks still standing, unwavered even on the hottest summer days, it’s no wonder that these gorgeous yellow blooms have come to symbolize a long, long life. If you want to wish someone a long life filled with joy and happiness, sunflowers are the best gift to express just that!

Best Sunflower Tattoo Placement

Due to its round shape, it’s very common to get a sunflower shoulder tattoo covering the entire shoulder or the collarbone area.

Another area that is a great canvas for this beautiful flower tattoo is definitely thigh. A sunflower thigh tattoo can feature additional butterflies, roses, and other flowers as the leg allows space for a big tattoo design.

Many women see floral tattoos as feminine, and with that a common placement can be an ankle or a foot.

For a full elongated flower, you can also consider a forearm tattoo.

The sunflower foot tattoo can be done solo or as a part of bouquet along with some birth flowers of your significant people or even cherry blossoms to add a splash of pink.

Lastly, the biggest project is definitely that you can do with this natural elements is start a sunflower tattoo sleeve.

It can be done with tattoo fillers to make it a unified art piece, or with sunflower heads scattered from the wrist to shoulder.

Sunflower Tattoo Ideas

To help you with your research for your next tattoo design, we went on a hunt through Instagram to find the best sunflower tattoo ideas.

Take a look below to check them out all:

Are you looking for a custom sunflower tattoo design? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will provide a quick initial draft to get you going.
Happy inking ❤

Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!

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