Sunflower Tattoos and Meanings

One subject that people tend to turn to again and again for tattoos is nature and natural imagery. In particular, flowers are an incredibly common tattoo design, and there are plenty of reasons why. First, they’re naturally stunning, something beautiful from the natural world that is a part of all of our lives. It’s a universal, simple, but alluring beauty, something that we can’t help but connect to. And because there are so many different types of flowers, there’s an endless number of types of flower tattoos a person can get and meanings they may have.

One type of flower tattoo in particular that many people gravitate toward is the sunflower. In this article, we’ll explore what a sunflower tattoo is, different styles and locations that people may get one, and offer some inspiration in case you want to get a sunflower tattoo of your own.

What Are Sunflower Tattoos?

Also called helianthus, the sunflower is a plant in the daisy family known for its large size, eye-catching numerous yellow petals, sweet name, and delicious seeds. Sunflowers have the nickname they do because of their round shape and yellow, ray-like leaves that make them resemble the sun.

Not only do these plants look like the sun; they also connect with it deeply. Sunflowers are heliotropic, meaning they follow the sun with their head as it moves across the sky. No matter what time of day it is, a sunflower’s bloom is always facing the sun.

Sunflowers can represent many different things to different people, but there are some meanings that they tend to often have. For one, sunflowers are often associated with joy, happiness, positivity, and light. They can also be associated with warmth and a feeling of hope. Of course, the sunflower can also be used to symbolize the sun, as well.

According to Greek myth, there was once a water nymph, Clytie, who fell in love with Helios, the God of the sun. However, Helios abandoned Clytie, riding his chariot off into the sun. Left desolate, Clytie sat and gazed at the sun for nine days and nights until finally, she turned into a sunflower. Because of this myth, the sunflower can be thought to symbolize fidelity and faith.

The sunflower is also particularly meaningful in Native American cultures, in which this flower represented a good and abundant harvest. The Native Americans saw a connection between the sunflower and nature and fertility, so they cherished this plant and even worshipped it.

Finally, the sunflower holds an important meaning in Christianity, as well, as a symbol of God and his love for his people. In Esoteric Christianity, the sunflower is a symbol of spiritual love, spiritual attainment, and faith in God.

Ultimately, of course, a sunflower tattoo can mean anything to you that you see in it, including one of the meanings listed above or something more personal and unique to you and how you view the flower.

Styles of Sunflower Tattoos

Sunflower tattoos are incredibly versatile, meaning they can look great on nearly any part of the body and in any style. There are sunflower tattoos of all varieties, ranging from large to small, simple to complex, stylistic to realistic. Some choose to get sunflower tattoos in black and white, but many prefer to go with color, as the distinct yellow color of the sunflower’s petals is one of its most unique characteristics.

Some tattoo styles that work particularly well with the sunflower design include:

  • Old school: Sunflowers work great as American traditional or old school tattoos because of their clear lines and bold, yellow color.
  • Realism: Flower tattoos often look fantastic in the realism tattooing style that aims to replicate the exact look of the object on the skin.
  • Micro realism: Because they are more simple than other common realism subjects such as portraits, sunflowers are also a great candidate for micro realism tattoos.
  • Dot work: With plenty of opportunities for interesting shading and detail, sunflowers look fantastic when rendered in the dot work and line work styles.

Top Locations for Sunflower Tattoos

Their flexibility as a tattoo object also makes sunflowers one of those types of tattoos that can really look great anywhere on the body. Here are just some locations that are a great fit for the sunflower tattoo.

  • Ankle
  • Back of the arm
  • Front of the thigh
  • Forearm
  • Upper back
  • Knee
  • Shoulder
  • Inner upper arm

Sunflower Tattoo Inspiration

One of the best ways to figure out what you want to do for your sunflower tattoo if you want to get one is to get inspired by looking over photos of sunflower tattoos that other people have gotten. For your consideration, here are some images of sunflower tattoos. As you look over them, you can consider which ones seem like a good fit for you. Do you like the size? The placement? The style? The location? What speaks to you?

Micro-realism Sunflower Tattoo Design

This sunflower tattoo in the micro realism style looks great on the ankle, where it can bring the wearer a bit of happiness and sunshine in every step. With this tattoo, it’s easy to get off on the right foot!

Neo Traditional Sunflower Tattoo Design

While it’s unclear where on the body this tattoo is located, it remains a perfect example of why the sunflower is such a great subject for an old school tattoo style. The yellow, brown, and green color palette fits the style perfectly, and the bold lines will make this tattoo look great for years and years to come.

Black and White Dotted Sunflower Tattoo Design

This black and white sunflower tattoo shows that the sunflower design is so recognizable and strong that it can be easy to identify even when rendered in shades of grey instead of with the sunflower’s signature colors. So if you want to get a sunflower tattoo but prefer not to use colors in your tattoos, this is a good example of how you can still pull it off.

Realism Sunflower Tattoo Design

This realism sunflower tattoo located on the calf is incredibly impressive art on the part of the tattoo artist, who succeeded in creating a tattoo so realistic that it almost looks like somebody just placed a sunflower on the person’s leg. One other interesting aspect of the design is that the tattoo looks like it’s pointed upward, as though it is turning toward the sun, as sunflowers are known to do.

Dot Work Tattoo Design of a Sunflower

Done in the dot work style, this tattoo uses lots of dots of various boldness and size in order to create shading and dimension. The diamond outline adds an element of straight lines, which makes an interesting contrast to the organic subject matter of the tattoo.

Sunflower Tattoo in a Galaxy

This sunflower tattoo is incredibly unique, combining the signature yellow petals of the sunflower with galaxy imagery, all surrounding the black hole in the center of the image. It’s a great example of how you can get creative and think out of the box with your sunflower tattoo, ultimately designing it to fit your specific tastes, interests, and the meaning that you want to create. It’s a tattoo that is eye-catching, special, and memorable.

Sunflower with Script Tattoo Design Idea

This version of a sunflower tattoo is dainty, feminine, elegant, and unique. Combining what appears to be a single needle script quote as the stem of the sunflower with micro realism leaves and flower creates an interesting, unexpected effect while also allowing the wearer to send the exact message that they intend to with their tattoo. With this one, the meaning and symbolism are clear instead of being something that the viewer might have to guess at.

Geometric and Realistic Sunflower Tattoo Design

Combining realism with geometric tattoo style, this sunflower tattoo represents a contrast between nature and the more rational, technological, and scientific side of things. It’s especially interesting the way the straight lines pass both above and below the sunflower, creating a highly dimensional and visually interesting look.

Realistic Black and White Sunflower Tattoo Design

This sunflower tattoo, rendered in a more realistic, black and white style, is remarkable for its interesting placement: half the tattoo on one arm and half on the other. When the arms are placed next to one another, the entire sunflower comes together. This dualistic idea comes into even sharper focus with the fact that each sunflower tattoo is next to one half of a quote that communicates an optimistic message of hope.

See More Tattoo Meanings

Check out our growing list of amazing tattoo designs and their meanings.

Did you get your free custom tattoo design quote?