My two year old son bought home a tiny little sunflower seedling in a yoghurt pot about 2 months ago as his nursery is running a competition to see how high we can get it to grow. I kept it on the window sill for a while but it grew too big so I re-potted it and it began to thrive, about 6 weeks ago I planted it in the garden and its about 5 feet tall, it has yet to flower though, they grow so fast I'm sure I can actually see it getting bigger!. Sunflowers are annual plants that originated in America, I believe they are called Sunflowers as the flowers resemble the sun.
What I find fascinating about the them is that the flower petals are designed by nature to be a spiral, each of the small spirals is angled at exactly 137.5 degrees, therefore producing a perfect pattern of interconnected spirals in the Fibonacci sequence, nature truly is a wonderful thing.
Sunflowers can grow to amazing heights, though for the average gardener they can vary between 5 and 12 feet, there have been reported Sunflowers reaching over 26 feet, though I'm not so sure mine and my sons will get that tall.
Sunflowers prefer to grow in good fertile soil that is well drained and ideally they like to be positioned in full sun.
Sunflowers make a welcome addition to the garden and are very easy to grow. Sunflowers are can also be used in a variety of different ways, their seeds can be eaten dried or roasted and they make a great snack or addition to a cous cous salad. You can also purchase Sunflower oil to be used in cooking and their oil can also be used as a bio fuel, so you could fuel yourself or your car with them.
Overall I think sunflowers are great, they look fab, they can be used in a variety of different ways, they can power cars, they have also been painted by famous artists and I like to sprinkle sunflower seeds on my quinoa salads sometimes. I am also hoping to win the tallest sunflower competition, for my son of course, what's not to like about them?
Sunflowers are tall, thick stemmed flowers with a large head and bright yellow petals. They can grow up to at least 3 metres tall. They also bear a resemblance to the Sun, hence the name!!
I am always quite cheered up when I see a sunflower because of its bright yellow petals, and its large head. The colour is wonderful and bright. I don't know why but it's as if it is smiling. They are also quite personified, as they face the sun, and if you watch them over a day, the moving of their "heads" is quite dance like and interesting!
~~~EASE OF GROWTH~~~
Sunflowers are extremely easy to grow, just pop the seed in the soil, water regularly and within a week, you will have a very strong sapling. You can grow these in pots, but the roots grow SO quickly, you ought to plant them outside. Literally the whole bottom of the pot is an entanglement of roots if left in the pot!
You can also just throw some in the soil outside, leave them wild and you will also get successful sunflowers this way.
Because of their ease of growth, many children get to grow them in school, or it is used as a very typical "plant growing" exercise.
I personally planted my first Sunflower when I read the book "Sam plants a sunflower" with accompanying seeds! Now I am addicted.
I love growing them in summer, and most recently just had some shrivel up. The one in the garden has deflowered, but the stem and leaves are still up and strong!
I bought a packet of 30 seeds for about £2.50 on Amazon (inc. delivery)
Sunflowers are so easy to grow and look so beautiful everyone should grow them!! Not only are they great to look at, one seed, when grown, will produce another few hundred! This is a great way to share. You can pass them around to friends for them to enjoy as well!!
Also, most recently, I left two sunflower heads to dry outside on the doorstep, and the local squirrel has been stealing them every morning, afternoon and evening! It was so cute! I have been watching it and left the heads there for it. I have already taken about two dozen seeds, so I thought I'd leave the rest for the squirrel. Bless. (It does bury them in the garden for me, so saves me sowing them in spring. Ha! But then again, the cold could kill the seed, and I might suddenly have sunflowers growing out of my lawn...)
Anyway, it's a happiness inducing flower in my opinion, so everyone should get some to brighten up their days!
Sunflowers are one of the easiest things to grow from a seed and they are beautiful when the flowers open out because the flowers look so massive on the tall stalk and it looks like magic that the plant can hold itself up right.
You buy a packet of 10 or 20 seeds and that costs about £2 and if you look after them you will get most of them growing and hardly any of the seeds die off.
I always use compost from the shop and I sometimes buy the proper seed compost but not always and they always come through whatever one I use. There's a shop by me that sells the big bags of compost dirt cheap so I get them.
I just start them in empty yogurt pots and put holes in the bottom of them so the water can drain away.
the seeds start growing v. quickly and in about 3 weeks you'll have to put small sticks in to keep them upright and stop them falling over. I use coctail sticks to start with and then use canes when theyre bigger.
When the plants are about 6inches tall I put them in the ground with a proper cane. They like a lot of sunlight but will grow where its a bit shady as well but they might not grow as tall but the flowers will still open.
They are alright to be watered a lot when they are in the ground but when they are in the pots you shouldn't water them too much or they start rotting when the plant is still little.
I sometimes give them plant food but only when we've got it anyway and they grow the same if I use it or not.
When the flowers are starting to die I get the seeds out of the middle to grow next year and the sunflowers that come from them are always good and v. strong.
This year I have got red and yellow sunflowers in the garden. The yellow ones have been open for ages and are dying a bit now but the red ones are just starting to flower so we are going to have these lovely flowers for ages yet.
'Sunflower' is the common name given to plants of the genus Helianthus, derived from the name of the Greek sun god Helios. Helianthus consists of 67 known speicies and numerous subspecies. The most common of all ideally called the 'common sunflower (Helianthus annus).
Sunflowers are best known for their bright, mostly yellow, flowering head. They normally grow to a height of up to 3 metres, with a narrow diameter in relation to this. Despite their widespread distribution and popularity in the United Kingdom today, not a single sunflower grew here 500 years ago! Helianthus was first introduced to Europe in the mid 16th century from North America.
The sunflower has a wide range of purposes, its most obvious being that of an ornamental plant. On a commercial scale, it is probably the main species of plant directly targeted at children. This gives a fairly good indication of how easy the plant is to grow.
The seeds of the sunflower have great economic use. They can simply be eaten raw or roasted as a light, healthy snack. Alternatively they can be used to produce both sunflower oil and margarine. Popular in German-speaking Europe, they are mixed together with rye flour to produce 'Sonnenblumenkembrot' (which literally translates to 'sunflower whole seed bread'). The plant is also becoming a popular alternative to fossil fuels; the seeds of the sunflower can be utilised once again to create biodiesel.
Competitive gardeners compete each year to be the one with the tallest sunflower, largest sunflower, or the sunflower with the most heads (amongst endless other categories)! Some world records include:
Tallest Sunflower - 7.76metres - M Heijms (Netherlands), Oirschot, Netherlands, 1986.
Most heads on one sunflower - 837 - Melvin Hemker (USA) - 2001
Sunflowers have a vast array of uses. Even if you decide, like most people, to grow them entirely for ornamental purposes, they are very rewarding. They will attract wildlife to your garden whilst growing, and then afterwards, the seeds can be used to attract birds to your garden. Alternatively, you may want to utilise the seeds for your own benefit, eat them as a snack or use them in cooking!
Go on, grow your own sunflower today...
"I live to adore the Daystar!
Herald of good health,
loyalty, hope and cheer.
My smiling face turns with the
wheel of passing Time.
For long days shall follow those
gifted with my healing warmth."
"Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul." ~ The Koran
"Where flowers bloom so does hope." ~Lady Bird Johnson, Public Roads: Where Flowers Bloom
"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do." ~ Helen Keller
Helianthus Annus, this annual plant is native to the Americas. Distantly related to asters, daisies, and thistles, Sunflowers can grow as high as three meters with a 30 cm flower head full of edible seeds. This head is actually formed of multiple florets (disc florets in the center and ray florets along the outer rim) crowded together. These florets are arranged spirally, and in most cases will be oriented toward each other in a golden arc which will produce a pattern of interconnecting spirals where the number of left spirals and the number of right spirals are successive.
A typical Sunflower might have 34 spirals in 1 direction and 55 in the other. Spirals are one of the oldest symbols of spirituality used by mankind. Individually, the religious connections to this symbol can often only be guessed at, however the spiral, like the Sunflower itself, has strong connections to the Sun and have often been placed where they will be touched by its first rays each morning. Spirals have also represented the Divine Feminine, the womb, fertility, feminine kundalini or serpent energy, continual change, transformation, birth, death and rebirth, time, and the evolution of the universe.
"I learned the real meaning of love. Love is absolute loyalty. People fade, looks fade, but loyalty never fades. You can depend so much on certain people, you can set your watch by them. And that's love, even if it doesn't seem very exciting." ~Sylvester Stallone
"Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
"Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." ~ Buddha
The Sunflower's abundant individual yield, the many uses of its seeds, and their ability to thrive with little or no attention made them an early crop food here in the Americas. Current evidence suggests that the plant was cultivated by Native Americans in the areas now known as Arizona and New Mexico somewhere about 3000 BC. Some archaeologists even suggest that fertile Sunflower may have been domesticated before corn! Oddly enough, its commercialization as a crop actually took place in Russia, perhaps the last place one might expect to find this sun-loving plant! Removed from the Americas and introduced to Europe by the Spanish, growing sunflowers for oil in Russia is attributed to Peter the Great, with its popularity reinforced by the Russian Orthodox church which prohibited a number of other oils which had been used for cooking. By the early 19th century, Russian farmers were growing over 2 million acres of sunflowers!
During its budding stage, Sunflowers exhibit heliotropism. At sunrise, the heads will face east and move with the sun throughout the day. Just prior to the blooming stage, the stem stiffens and is no longer capable of following the sun. Interestingly enough, wild sunflower heads do not exhibit heliotropism, although their leaves do!
"Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice." ~ Woodrow Wilson
"A faithful friend is a strong defense: and he that hath found such an one hath found a treasure." ~ Ecclesiastic 6:14
"Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to." ~ Alfred A. Montapert
Sunflower seeds can be ground into flower to make cakes, cereals, butter, and breads. In earlier days, it was often mixed with other plants native to the Americas like beans, squash, and corn. Most often at this time, Sunflower seeds are simply cracked from their shells and eaten as a snack, or its oil is extracted and used for cooking. Non-food uses of Sunflowers and their seeds include: yellow and purple dye for textiles, body painting and other decorations, as a remedy for snakebites, an oil or unguent used for body and hair, dried stalks have been used as building materials, medicinal teas used to relieve coughs and bronchial infections or for the natural diuretic and expectorant properties of the seeds, as a poultice or simply eaten for the seeds' natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory compounds to combat pain or relieving painful chronic conditions, such as arthritis. After flower heads are harvested the potash-rich stalks may also be burned and the ashes used as garden fertilizer! This favorite wild feeder of birds has many uses that are often overlooked by our people.
"Earth laughs in flowers." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Hamatreya"
"A cheerful temper joined with innocence will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful and wit good-natured." ~ Joseph Addison
"Had she been light, like you, of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit, She might ha' been a grandam ere she died; and so may you, for a light heart lives long." William Shakespeare
Magically, Sunflowers are associated with Sun deities of all sorts and were once worn by the Aztec priests as crowns. These flowers symbolize the healthy ego, the wisdom, and the fertility of the solar aspect. I believe it is this strong connection to solar energy and its own vigorous nature that brings the Sunflower association with health, especially the recovery of good health, and longevity. I love to include these in bouquets for friends who are trying to regain health (mental, physical or emotional), and the Sunflower's ability to bring good cheer is never more evident than at such a moment. They seem to bring an instant smile to everyone's face!
Sleeping with a sunflower under the bed is said to allow you to know the truth in any matter, and those wishing to become virtuous might anoint themselves with juice pressed from sunflower stems. Sunflowers are grown in gardens as guards against pests, to keep the birds away from other crops, and to bring luck to the gardener. The multitude of seeds in a single flower make Sunflowers desirable for anyone seeking fertility in their lives, whether directly through conceiving children or indirectly through a prosperity spell, or some other working to increase fertility in some aspect of life. Perhaps it is their close association with all birds, especially blackbirds, that brings the Sunflower its strong connection to Wisdom. In the language of flowers, Sunflowers may represent Cheerfulness, Adoration, Haughtiness, Lofty or Wise thoughts, or Loyalty.
Balanced Sunflower energy will show itself in a cheerful disposition, confident posture, loyal nature, good health and long life. Such people usually seem to have an inexhaustible supply of energy and optimism, which is usually their downfall. Everything has a season, and Sunflower people would do well to remember that sometimes energy won't be available. Conservation and moderation are good qualities to cultivate. Unbalanced Sunflower energy would show itself in depression, pessimism, ill health, low energy, disloyal behavior, and in extreme cases, early death.
With a sharp smell and tasty oily nuts with the flavor of sunshine, these blooms always bring a smile to my face. To me the Sunflower is there to remind of the Beauty abundant in Life, to attract and pay attention to the messengers in my own life like this Teacher draws the birds, bees and butterflies in a garden, to smile back up at Grandfather sun and be grateful for all that he gives us. How does this Singer appear in your life?
"Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!" ~ William Blake
"As long as there is a chance of the world getting through its troubles, I hold that a reasonable man must behave as though he were sure of it. If at the end your cheerfulness was not justified, at any rate you will have been cheerful." ~ William Shakespeare
"If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it." ~ George Burns