Every time we attend a Flower & Garden Show people are always asking us about Sunflowers. Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed and they are a favorite with kids as they love to see how tall they grow. The sunflower has an amazing history.
Sunflowers were first cultivated in North America by Indians in Arizona and New Mexico. Some archaeologists believe it was domesticated before corn. The sunflower had many uses during this time including grinding it down to make flour for bread and cakes. They also mixed it with vegetables or ate it as a snack.
The meaning of sunflower is rooted in its genus Helianthus- helios meaning sun and anthos meaning flower. There are 70 different species of flowers. With so many different sunflowers, we wanted to share with you our 5 favorite ones.
Lemon Queen Sunflower - Lemon Queen sunflowers feature lemon pastel blossoms, a five to six-inch central head with minimal branching that produces additional smaller flowers. This plant will grow approximately four to five feet tall.
Red Yearling Sunflower - This sunflower has red to red-orange single flowers that have a highlight with a hint of yellow around the centers. It has a very long blooming season, attracting bees and butterflies. Later, the tiny seeds attract birds. The plant grows 5 – 6 feet tall.
Soraya Sunflower - This open-pollinated sunflower features abundant and uniform orange-yellow blooms on sturdy perfectly upright stems that make it a perfect cut flower for bouquets. Plants grow to about five to six feet tall and flowers typically measure five to six inches in diameter.
Teddy Bear Sunflower – This sunflower is a short and bushy plant with fluffy, bright petals that bloom from mid-summer to the first frost in the autumn. The plant grows 4 – 5 feet tall. These beautiful golden yellow blossoms are 4 – 6 inches across.
Velvet Queen Sunflower – this sunflower has large flowers 4 to 6 inches that are mahogany-red in color with an almost black center. The plant grows 5 -7 feet tall and is ideal for a border or cut flowers. Velvet Queen Sunflowers are annuals that need to be planted each spring.
Sunflowers can be grown in any zone and are easy to grow from seeds. They grow best when planted in full sun and in fertile, moist well-drained soil. Make sure to support the stems as they grow taller.
Photos courtesy of The Plant Good Seed Company.