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A picture of a Sunflower

Sunflower

Helianthus annuus

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Also known as

Common Sunflower, Comb Flower, Golden Flower Of Peru, St Bartholomew's Star, Annual Sunflower, Garden Sunflower, Sun Flower

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

H4

RHS hardiness

-10°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

3m

Max

60cm

1.5m

Min

20cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

A photo of Sunflower
A photo of Sunflower
A photo of Sunflower
A photo of Sunflower
A photo of Sunflower

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Overview

Sunflowers are some of the easiest plants to start from seed. The name sunflower refers to the shape of the flowerhead, which resembles the sun, or from the false impression that the flower appears to turn towards the sun as it moves across the sky. These fast-growing annuals also provide good cut flowers, as well as being attractive to a range of pollinating insects, particularly bees!

Common problems

Caterpillars and beetles often chew on the foliage.

Companion plants

Sweetcorn, cucumbers. Good companion plants for Helianthus in the late summer garden are: tall ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus or Calamagrostis, Salvias, Solidagao, Asters and Agastache.

Harvesting

Cut heads off once they begin to yellow at the back. Hang them upside down in a dry pest free environment. once dry seeds can be rubbed off. Flower heads should be laid out to dry, and then the seeds are rubbed out of the head. The seeds are then allowed to continue to dry fully to avoid mildew. Harvest seeds when fully dry. Add the spent stalks to the compost heap.

Propagation

Division

Propagate by division in spring or autumn.

Seed

Sowing time best during spring/summer with a spacing of 50 - 70 cm. Sowing depth is 2 - 8 cm with a fast germination time of 10 - 14 days. Sow seeds indoors March to April. Plant out in May.

Special Features

Attracts useful insects

Attracts butterflies and bees.

Crop rotation

Heavy Feeder

Attractive flowers

The flowers are large and striking, their heads follow the sun through the day turning to face the sun.

Attracts bees

Attracts butterflies

Uses

Edible

Fruits or seeds are eaten and enjoyed whole, or pressed to make heart healthy oil or butters. The edible petals make a bright addition to a salad.

Cut flowers

Some smaller varieties are grown as cut flowers.

Ornamental

Some varieties are grown as garden plants.

Culinary

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