“Turn your face to the sun, and shadows follow behind you.” – Maori Proverb
Who doesn’t like sunflowers?
Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. They are known for being “happy” flowers. The thing that makes them the easiest to recognize is that they can grow over six feet tall. Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself. What makes these flowers special is that they follow the sun throughout the day. They turn their heads to soak in the sunshine.
Sunflowers are also known for being “happy” flowers, making them the perfect gift to bring joy to someone’s (or your) day.
Here are 5 reasons to grow these gorgeous flowers in your garden:
1. Sunflowers attract pollinators to your garden
The showy large outer petals help attract many species of bees to your sunflowers including honey bees and bumble bees. The center of the sunflower houses hundreds and thousands of tiny individual florets that contain nectar and pollen, a food source for bees. A 2018 study in the scientific journal, “Nature”, showed that sunflower pollen has medicinal properties for both wild bees and honeybees. Bees will self-medicate on sunflower pollen when ill or infected with pathogens. By planting sunflowers that produce pollen - most of the open-pollinated varieties - the needs of the bees are met and more bees come to the flowers to be counted
2. Free Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a healthy addition to the diet, providing essential nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. They are a suitable source of fiber and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. As a good source of minerals, sunflower seeds may support healthy bones and skin.
Simply presoak raw sunflower seed in salty water overnight and then roast for 30-40 mins in the oven, set for 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can also sow seeds as microgreens and enjoy sunflower sprouts in your salad or as a snack!
3. Sunflowers are good for the soil
The tall sunflower stalks stand strong with the help of the root system. That root system increases the organic content of your soil and also increases its water holding capacity. Over time, growing sunflowers can increase your garden’s ability to withstand drought conditions.
If you live in an urban area or have a problem with contaminated soil, sunflowers may be one solution to help detox heavy metals.
Did you know that sunflowers helped to remove toxic radioactive substances from the soil after the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters?
4. Sunflower seeds limit weeds
Did you know that sunflowers can also keep down weeds in the backyard? Their seeds contain a chemical that other plants don’t like. The effect of this “allelopathic” chemical is believed to inhibit the growth of nearby plants, like weeds.
5. Can be used as bouquets flowers
With their stunning blooms, sunflowers also extend their warmth, beauty, and shine to your indoor space. They will lift your mood even amidst stressful situations. Consider harvesting the flowers as soon as they’re fully developed and open. Remember this is only if you’re picking the sunflowers for a vase.
Here is what to consider before planting your sunflowers:
- The kind of plants you’d like to have around or near the flowers. Most sunflower varieties grow tall, and may, therefore, end up casting shade on the other plants.
- Your growth purpose. Why are you growing sunflowers in the first place? If it’s for maximum seed production, then you want to grow the traditional and tall seed-producing species like Super Snack Hybrid, Aztec Gold Hybrid, Paul Bunyan Hybrid or Mammoth.
- The spacing (between the rows) here should, therefore, be 2-3 ft.
- If you’re growing for smaller flowers to be used as bouquets, then space much closer together. No need to fertilize. You’ll eventually end up with your desired small plants with long stems and flower heads that just suit their decoration purpose.
A portion of every purchase at Bee Kind Shop is donated to Pollinator Partnership and other non-profit organizations that help save bee colonies around the globe.