Sunflower Print

 

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant native to the Americas. It possesses a large inflorescence (flowering head). The sunflower got its name from its huge, fiery blooms, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun. The sunflower has a rough, hairy stem, broad, coarsely toothed, rough leaves and circular heads of flowers.

The heads consist of 1,000-2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base.
From the Americas, sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient. Leaves of the sunflower can be used as cattle feed, while the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production.

 

Buy Sunflower seeds here

 

Grow sunflowers from seeds:

 

If growing sunflowers from seed indoors ahead of time, use peat pots, which are ideal for plants like sunflowers that don't like to be transplanted.

 

 Sow two seeds per pot, cover with plastic to keep moist; keep under grow lights, sunny windowsill, or greenhouse.

 

Once seeds germinate (10 to 14 days), pinch out weakest plant, so you have one per pot. Give seedlings bright light; water and fertilize regularly.

 

In mid-May, start exposing your seedlings to the outdoors very gradually. (More information on the how-to is here: harden seedlings off.)

 

Plant young plants into garden, pot and all (the roots will grow through the peat) after all chance of frost is over. If you're growing small cultivars in containers, transplant to their final pot.

 

Alternatively, direct-sow seeds into garden about one foot apart after danger of frost has passed. When the plants get about six inches tall, thin to 2 to 4 feet apart to give individuals space to spread.

 

Birds sometimes go after sunflower seeds in the ground, or get at emerging seedlings, so you may have to cover them with netting to protect them until they are about 4 inches tall.

 

 

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