Sunflower

Helianthus annuus

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

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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.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Flowering time

Summer

Fruiting time

Autumn

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.

Special features

Origin

Southwest region of North America.

Natural climate

Warm temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Alkaline, Neutral, Acid

Frost hardiness

Hardy

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.

Notes

Culinary

Personality

Family

Asteraceae

Flower colour

Yellow, Red, Orange

Scent

None

Problems

Caterpillars and beetles often chew on the foliage. Larger varieties often need staking, particularly if grown in exposed locations.

Companion plants

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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.,
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