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The sunflower is known to be one of the most beautiful flowers with it's bright yellow petals and seed filled center. The botanical name for the sunflower is Helianthus which comes from the Greek words meaning sun and flower. Sunflowers take part in a process called "heliotropism", this means that the flower's premature buds and leaves turn from East to West every day following the path of the sun. Once the leaves remain open, the flower continues facing the East gaining warmth from the morning sun. There is a lot that goes into sunflower gardening, take a look at some of the methods below to learn more.
Sowing indoors should be done around two to four weeks after the last frost date. Direct sowing is recommended for Sunflowers since they have a long taproot that can be disturbed easily while transplanting. Sowing can also be done three to four inch biodegradable paper pots. Planting the paper pots in the ground will lessen the chance of the root being disturbed.
Outdoor Sowing is done quite differently than indoor sowing. You should start with doing soil tests to find out the quality and see if it needs improving. It's important to not over fertilize because it can lead to reduced growth, pests, and even burn the plants. Sunflower stems are hollow and suck up great amounts of water like straws, but be careful not to flood them with too much making them water logged.
When harvesting sunflowers, you can harvest both the flower itself and the seeds. The flowers should be harvested in the morning and their freshly cut stems should be placed in a water source instantly. Once the sunflower seeds have become pollinated, they ripen within the next four weeks. You will know that the seeds are ready to harvest when they have dried up and turned a shade of brown. The seeds will ripen the fastest on the outside of the flower to the inside of it.
Sunflowers provide many health benefits in both their seeds and their oil. Sunflower seeds have a very rich nutritional value consisting of vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients help to improve brain and cardiovascular functions and aide with digestion as well. Sunflower Oil can be used in place of other types of oil for almost any cooking recipe. Many people prefer sunflower oil for cooking because of the health factors, subtle taste, and how easily it fries foods. The oil is filled with Vitamin E and helps to prevent many health risks such as heart disease and obesity.
Additional Sunflower Resources
Written by Lily Calyx
Serenata Flowers is an award winning online florist offering you the option to order flowers online from the comfort of your home or send them by post. We offer only the freshest and most gorgeous flowers to brighten up your home and put smiles on the faces of the people you know.