The City of Raleigh has announced that sunflowers will return to Dix Park in 2021. The City took 2020 off from planting the sunflower field in order to discourage crowds. They still won’t hold SunFest in 2021, but at least you should be able to enjoy that incredible photo op this summer.
And did you know that the North Carolina Museum of Art will also have sunflowers, and that there are trails between the two spots?
Read on to learn the details about the sunflowers at Dix Park and NCMA, as well as 10 other places in (or near) the Triangle to experience sunflowers in 2021.
Please make sure to know in advance which sunflower fields allow you to cut and purchase stems, and which are just for looking — and photo ops! Also, in some cases professional photographers will need to buy a pass in order to hold photo sessions.
Sunflowers at Dix Park
You can expect the sunflowers to bloom in mid to late July.
The sunflower field is off of Hunt Drive. This map might help. Public parking is available in the gravel lot on Hunt Drive on weekdays. On weeknights and weekends you can use any paved lot.
You can also walk or bike to the park on the Rocky Branch Greenway. Make sure to also visit the sunflower fields at North Carolina Museum of Art, below! You can walk or bike between them on the trails.
North Carolina Museum of Art
Every year, the North Carolina Museum of Art plants a 2.5 acre field of sunflowers and other summer flowers, like zinnias in the Museum Park. It’s a fantastic spot for photos, and there’s a very high chance of butterfly sightings. Please don’t pick the flowers! This year, NCMA has planted a second field, located below the Ellipse. You can explore all the sunflowers at NCMA and Dix Park via the Rocky Branch and Reedy Creek greenway trails. Both NCMA and Dix Park are home to Citrix Cycle Raleigh bike rental stations. Free to visit.
This small, family-owned farm is bursting with flowers. Guests can cut their own flowers for very reasonable prices throughout the spring and summer flower season. In general you can create a stunning bouquet of fresh flowers that you pick yourself, for $15. Sunflowers will arrive in late June and July, but don’t wait until then to visit and create a beautiful bouquet! You can also meet the animals when you visit, including a mini-donkey! The farm is open to visitors on a schedule that you’ll find on their website. You need to make an appointment to visit.
Dogwood Farms is a bit of a drive, about an hour and a half west of Raleigh. But in the sunflower world, it’s a big deal. They have a massive field of sunflowers, and people visit from all over the state to take pictures in the field and to cut their own stems. Once sunflowers arrive, they’ll be open every day, and you won’t need an appointment to visit. Check back soon for information on visiting, admission price, and the cost of stems. Last year Dogwood Farms held a Sunflower festival 4th of July weekend. Talk about an explosion of color! The farm is also growing other flowers, so there is a good reason to visit before and after sunflower season.
Lazy Hound Farm
Lazy Hound offers a full range of fun farm activities. As part of the experience, you can take a hayride to the sunflower field, pick a stem, and take pictures for a few minutes. Prices and dates to be announced.
Phillips Farms of Cary
Phillips Farms offers activities for many seasons, including strawberry picking, a farmers’ market, a corn maze, a haunted farm, and Christmas trees. Sunflowers are part of their fall activities. Details will follow soon, but you can expect a chance to take some pictures and to cut your own sunflower to take home.
Hubb’s Farm hosts many events, including movie nights, a corn maze, and a Polar Express night on the farm. In addition, it boasts tons of activities, like meeting farm animals, a treasure mine, a bale maze, a pumpkin patch, a zipline and much more. At the end of the summer you can add sunflowers to the list of things to enjoy. “Sunflowers Galore” is scheduled for late August and September. Check back soon (or look at Hubb’s Farm’s Facebook page) for updates.
Ken’s Korny Corn Maze
2020 was the first year that Ken’s Korny Corn Maze, best known as a fall attraction, added a sunflower field. They had 2 1/2 acres of sunflowers, which you could admire, photograph, or cut to take home. The admission in 2020 was $5, and that included one cut sunflower. Check back for 2021 updates.
Hill Ridge Farms
Hill Ridge Farms offers plenty of fun farm activities, including animals, a train ride, hay rides and more. They even have a splashpad and water slide. Enjoy a covered wagon ride to and from the patch. The play park will be open and included with admission. Admission ages 2-64 $14, ages 65+ $13, Military $13
Cathis Farms has a bunch of events scheduled during their Sunflower Days, which takes place all through July. They will be hosting the Stars, Stripes & Sunflowers concert night, with music by 2DIGH4, on Friday, July 2nd. Christmas in July is July 17th, and that will include vendors and a sneak peek at their Winter Lights event. And on Friday, July 30th, the season finale weekend will feature music from Paige King Johnson. Admission varies, but generally includes a single bloom of your choice.
15 Fun Sunflower Facts
There’s something magical about a sunflower, and people can’t resist being drawn to them. Here are some interesting sunflower facts!
- They are native to America.
- They need 6 to 8 hours of sun a day.
- They “keep their eye” on the sun. Young blossoms, in a behavior called “heliotropism,” will follow the sun during the day.
- The French word for sunflower is “tournesol,” which literally means “turns with the sun.”
- Mature sunflowers face east.
- The tallest sunflower on record was over 30 feet tall, but your typical tall sunflower reaches 12 to 16 feet.
- Dwarf sunflowers generally stay under 3 feet.
- The sunflower’s head is actually made of thousands of smaller flowers.
- U.S. astronaut Don Pettit brought sunflower seeds into space in 2012, and blogged about the the gardening process.
- Sunflowers have been used in foods, medicines, dyes and oils.
- You can use sunflowers as a homemade scrubbing pad.
- Not all sunflowers are yellow. There are also red and purple varieties.
- Sunflowers can self-pollinate if no bees are around to transfer pollen to the stigma. The stigma can twist around to reach its own pollen, and in that case, will produce seeds that grow into plants identical to the one they came from.
- There are about 70 species of sunflowers.
- Sunflowers are sometimes used for biofuel.