Sunflowers are one of the most popular plants grown for their flowers. They have been cultivated since ancient times and they were used as food during the Roman Empire. Today, they are still being widely planted in Europe and North America because of their beautiful flowers which attract bees, butterflies, birds and other insects.
The best time to grow sunflowers is from April through September when the temperatures are warm enough for them to thrive. However, it is possible to grow sunflowers year round if the weather is milder than average.
In general, there are two types of sunflowers: those that produce white or pink flowers and those that produce yellow or red flowers. Both types will flower at different times of the year but both types require similar conditions in order to flourish.
The most common type of sunflower is the dwarf variety which produces only small clusters of pale yellow flowers on short stalks. These flowers are very fragrant and attractive to bees, butterflies, birds and other insects. They prefer full sun so they don’t like shade.
There are several varieties of dwarf sunflowers including the Giant Dwarf Sunflower (Helianthus tuberosus), the Little Giant Sunflower (Helianthistoryssa tuberosa) and the Small Red Sunflower (Helianthemum scoparium).
Another popular type of sunflower is the tall variety which can grow to a height of up to twelve feet. These flowers are very large and they usually have thick stems.
The types of tall sunflowers include the Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), the Parry’s Sunflower (Helianthus parviflorus) and the Plains or Indian Sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris).
Most sunflowers are grown for their seeds but the leaves of these plants are edible and can be cooked and eaten. The seeds can be ground down into a nutritious flour that is safe to eat. Sunflower oil is also very healthy for humans and it has a high burning point so it is ideal for cooking purposes.
These plants have many other uses as well. The dried heads of the flowers can be used as a decorative material. The stems of the sunflowers can also be used as support stakes for bean plants and other climbing vegetables.
Although these plants prefer fertile, well-drained soil with a PH level of between 6 and 7, they will grow in a variety of different conditions providing these basic needs are met.
The soil should be light and fluffy so it can hold the stems of the flowers upright as they grow. These plants prefer their roots to be on the damp side but most of the growing takes place at the top so they need a lot of water only during this phase.
If you grow sunflowers, make sure you grow them alongside tall plants such as cucumber, squash or pole beans which can use the support of the stems.
Sources & references used in this article:
Circumnutations of sunflower hypocotyls in satellite orbit by AH Brown, DK Chapman, RF Lewis… – Plant …, 1990 – Am Soc Plant Biol
7 Lipid Transfer Protein Cross-reactivity Assessed In Vivo and In Vitro in the Office: Pros and Cons by R Asero – Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical …, 2011 – jiaci.org
Study of gene expression profiling of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and thaumatin-like protein in sunflower infected by Sclerotinia stem rot disease by A Nouri, R Darvishzadeh, BA Mandoulakani – Genetic Engineering and …, 2017 – sid.ir
Competition and growth of six cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) genotypes, sunflower (Helianthus annuus), and common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) by G Wang, ME McGiffen, JD Ehlers – Weed Science, 2006 – cambridge.org