Sunflowers 101: How to Grow, Care For, and Use Sunflowers

Sunflowers can improve your garden in many ways. Whether for their aesthetic look or for practical benefits, the sun flower is a popular choice among gardeners and one of the most widely recognized flowers. With their golden color, the full sun flowers give a sense of joy and warmth. However, this large flower blooms not only in a wide variety of yellows, but also in reds and pinks. You can be rewarded by one of the noblest garden beauties with just a little care. If you would ask any gardener who has already grown them, their eyes will light up with great excitement.

Making Sunflower Bouquets

For indoor bouquets full of sun flowers, it is recommended to cut the main steam close to the flower bud. This way you encourage the side blooms to open. It is best to harvest your flowers early in the morning, as the heat during middle of the day can cause flower wilting. You can expect that your bouquet full of sun flowers will last in water at room temperature at least one week. Just change their water daily in order to keep them fresh. Due to their heavy heads, sun flowers are suitable for tall containers.

Sunflower seeds – chipmunks like them too!

Sunflower Seeds

You can also harvest the sun flower seeds. When the back of the sun flower head turns yellow from green and the bracts start to turn brown and dry, it is the best time for seed harvest. This usually happens around 30 to 45 days after the flower bloom. The seeds are rip when the head on the back turns brown. In order to harvest the seeds cut the head and remove the seeds with a fork or with your fingers.

The small black seeds provided by some varieties of sun flowers are used in margarine, cooking oil, animal and bird feed, as well as in cosmetic products. These sun flower feeds will attract a great variety of butterflies and song birds to your garden.

Other varieties of sun flower seeds that are bigger can be used as an ingredient in your homemade bread or for snacking. They make an excellent choice of health food. This variety of seeds is also used for feeding birds such as mourning doves and other larger species.

If you want to use the sun flower seeds as a snack, you need to harvest them dried on the plants. After rubbing the seeds off the sun flower head you need to soak them overnight in a gallon of water that contains a cup of salt. Then you’ll have to dry them again for 4 to 5 hours in an oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best to store the dried seeds in an airtight container.

Sun Flower Varieties

There are many varieties of sun flowers and any of them have something to offer regardless of space limitations. Whether you just want to add sun flowers to your garden or you choose to have a garden full of sun flowers, you will be equally rewarded. In this article we will focus on how to improve your garden with sun flowers.

Most of the sun flower varieties are remarkably tough and they make an easy to grow plant as long as you don’t have your soil waterlogged. Most of the sun flower plants are drought and heat tolerant. They are attractive to birds and bees for pollination and also make excellent cut flowers. They also attract butterflies to your garden. You can use the sun flower seeds as a very healthy source of fats.

Recommended Varieties

Everyone is familiar with the huge full size sun flowers that may grow as tall as eight foot. However, this is not the only sun flower variety. Some varieties are not towering so tall and they reach only a modest 15 inches.

Mammoth Sunflowers

The Mammoth Sunflower

The “Mammoth” sun flower variety is the one known as the traditional giant sun flower. This variety makes an excellence choice for bird feeds as well as sun flower snacks for you and you family.

Autumn Beauty Sunflowers

The Autumn Beauty Sunflower

The “Autumn Beauty” sun flower features branching steams up to 7 feet tall that makes many 6 inches flowers in different shades of mahogany, bronze, and yellow. This is one of the most spectacular sun flower variety that you can plant in your garden for aesthetic purpose.

Sunbeam Sunflower

The Sunbeam Sunflower

The “Sunbeam” sun flower reaches 5 feet and makes 5-inch flowers. This is another variety that is cultivated for its beauty and its flowers can make a standout bouquet with pollenless no-mess blossoms showing golden yellow rays.

Teddy Bear Sunflowers

The Teddy Bear Sunflower

The “Teddy Bear” variety of sun flower reaches just 2 to 3 feet in height. This small flower with deep-gold fluffy 5 inch blossoms makes a good choice for small gardens. Their cut flowers can last for many days in a vase with water.

Selecting a Growing Location

If you plan to start growing sun flowers in your garden you have to decide first on their best location. Sun flowers like the sun and develop best in a sunny location. As a general rule, it is best to pick a spot for growing sun flowers where they can receive at least six hours of daily sunlight. If you plant them in a shady or windy area, your sun flowers will require additional staking support as they will stretch to reach the sun

If you choose to plant the taller varieties of full sun flowers you will need to take into consideration how they may block wind and sun from other garden plants. This can negatively impact other sun loving plants, but can also be a good thing in case that you are trying to shelter particular garden plants from too much wind or sun.

Growing Time

Most of the sun flower varieties reach maturity after 75 to 110 days. You can grow sun flowers in your garden from the last freeze until the next winter season. If you want to insure enjoyment with staggered blooms throughout the whole growing season, consider planting a few each week Stop planting your sun flowers with 75 to 100 days before the time when its expected the first winter freeze in your location.

Annual or Perennial?

There are annual as well as perennial varieties of sun flowers. For the perennial varieties may take one to three seasons before they begin producing blooms.

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