Embrace Sunflower Season

How the year is marching on. The cooler weather is now approaching, I hear a collective sigh of relief that comes with putting up with the enduring humid temperatures of January, February, and March.

Grass grew at lightning speed and had to be constantly mowed while those of you with roses (planted in hot places) suffered badly with the heat and humidity. No wonder they grow well in cooler climates.

Growing sunflowers is an interesting pastime and finding out all about them was also an interesting exercise. They are such a happy flower, golden yellow, but not all the same. Always looking for easy things to grow, a few sunflowers were put in over summer. They quickly grew to over two metres tall, with thick stems. They really need a lot of sunshine as some that were planted in the shade did not grow very tall.

There are many varieties, some with different heights. Grown commercially, they are about 2.5 metres or more in the fields.

There are some giant varieties that grow to about five metres tall, with dwarf varieties coming in up to one metre in height.

They need about six hours of sun every day to grow well.

Some of ours got plenty of sun, however if the flowers are not picked and you have cockatoos around, they won’t last exceptionally long as they are very destructive little creatures.

However, all is not lost as the plant will grow some more heads from the stem if let be and although they will be smaller flowers, are great for a small vase.

Sow seeds in summer and plant close together for a good showing in the garden.

Just a few things to watch out for though, water well during flowering, they don’t mind some dry times and a slow-release fertiliser will encourage larger flowers. You may have to stake the taller ones as they are inclined to lean over with the weight of the plant.

Some of the giant flower varieties can have a span of 300mm across and attract all sorts of pollinators. Some have edible seeds, that’s probably why the birds go for them.

Dwarf sunflowers are ideal for the home vase with many flower shops now adding them to bunches that are purchased together with flower arrangements.

There are many types, sizes and colours of sunflowers. One thinks of them as just having a yellow flower, but there are different shades of yellow, different leaves, singles or doubles while others offer multiple blooms.

Some flowers are banded yellow and red/orange, while there are others that are white.

There are even small ones, perennial, which will come back year after year. They offer about 8-12 weeks of flowers.

They look something like a yellow daisy and form clumps with many different flowers on the plant.

There are also false sunflowers with raised centres, the petals stay with the flower instead of withering and falling off, as sunflowers do.

So, next year try as an experiment, the happiest flower around and bring a little colour and sunshine into your home and garden.

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