Sunflowers can be tall or short but whatever their size their sunny smile adds joy to any garden. Growing sunflowers from seed is an ideal way to introduce the young to gardening and the competition to grow the tallest will keep their interest through the season. And once the plants are fully grown the seeds have many uses as Lindsay Sheehan explains in her article which I found on the Natural Living Ideas website.
Native to the Americas, Helianthus annuus – or the common sunflower – is among the most recognizable flowers in the world. Once worshipped by the Incas as a symbol of the Sun God, these towering beauties are bright and cheery, the perfect symbol of summertime.
Planting a row of sunflowers along a fence or as a group in a corner garden will certainly add a dose of happiness to your outdoor spaces. And sunflowers aren’t just pretty – there are also plenty of practical uses for this lovely cultivar.
About the Sunflower…
Typically growing to a height of 10 feet, the classic sunflower is yellow petaled with a deep brown center. What we often consider the sunflower’s “flower head” are actually florets – the true flowers are found in the center of the head (called the disk flowers) which mature into seeds.
Gaze closely into the epicenter of a sunflower and you will see a mesmerizing pattern of spirals in the Fibonacci sequence – 34 spirals in one direction and 54 in the other. This arrangement is the most efficient way to pack as many seeds as mathematically possible in the floral disk.
From the “American Giant”, growing 14 feet high with a flower span of one foot, to the miniature “Dwarf Sunspot” that reaches a height of only two feet, there are dozens of sunflower cultivars to choose from, suitable for gardens large and small. Though many sunflowers have showy yellow petals, the crimson petaled “Prado Red” and the pink with yellowed tips “Strawberry Blonde” are a couple examples of the more unusual varieties.
How To Grow Sunflowers:
Hardy and non-fussy, sunflowers are very easy to grow. They are tolerant of high temperatures and drought, and are remarkably resistant to insects and disease. Sunflowers will attract bees and birds to your yard, but also deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other woodland critters, so extra care should be taken to ensure their flowers and seeds remain intact.
See more at Natural Living Ideas