6 Reasons To Love Sunflowers
Sunflowers are on trend for decorating late summer into fall; learn more about these golden beauties with some inspiration for adding their eye-catching style to your space
1.They are pollination powerhouses.
Tall and brightly colored, they are easy to see from a distance, attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Sunflowers produce both pollen and nectar, making them an important food source for many species. Their broad surfaces act as landing pads for insects, and their lush foliage provides a food source for butterfly caterpillars.
2.Sunflowers are edible.
Humans, insects, birds, and mammals all benefit from sunflowers. The flowers produce seeds that are great for snacking. Enjoy them out of hand or on top of salads. Those same seeds can be processed to produce trans-fat free cooking oil. Some livestock feed is produced using ground sunflower meal, as it’s also a source of protein.
And of course, the birds and the bees enjoy sunflowers directly from the source!
3.They’re just so darn cheerful!
Sunflowers are popular cut flowers. Put them in a vase, enjoy them out in the yard, bring them to a friend who needs cheering, or mix with other cut flowers in a bouquet.
The master painter Vincent Van Gogh considered sunflowers worthy subjects, even though many of his contemporaries considered the floral variety crude and unsophisticated. To the contrary, Van Gogh considered the sunflower a symbol of gratitude and featured them in several of his most famous paintings. Sunflowers and other yellow flowers were laid on his coffin at his funeral.
4.Sunflowers not only look like the sun, they follow it.
Sunflowers display a behavior called heliotropism. The flower buds and young blossoms will face east in the morning and follow the sun as the earth moves during the day. However, as the flowers get heavier during seed production, the stems will stiffen, and the mature flower heads will generally remain facing east.
5.Sunflowers come in a variety of sizes and colors.
Sunflowers don’t have to be yellow! They come in a rainbow of colors from white to red. Here are a few of the newer varieties:
- Russian Giant has a single yellow flower that can be as much as 20 inches across. Growing 10 to 12 feet tall, this is a great variety for seed production.
- Teddy Bear is a great dwarf variety with a fluffy flower head, growing 1 to 2 feet tall. It works well in containers.
- Giant Sungold is a taller version of 'Teddy Bear' that grows up to 5 feet tall.
- Autumn Mix sunflowers are tall growers (6 feet or more) that give you a rainbow of fall colors on large flower heads.
- Italian White sunflowers are 4-foot-tall plants with creamy white flowers that produce great seeds for the bird feeder.
6.Sunflowers are BIG.
As we’ve seen so far, there’s a lot to like about this cheerful flower, but its sheer size puts it head and shoulders above the rest. Typical sunflowers range 5 to 10 feet high, with blooms ranging from several inches to a foot or more in diameter. In fact, the record for tallest sunflower was set in 2014, at a towering 30 feet, 1 inch, grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Germany.
Need more sunshine in YOUR life?
Try growing sunflowers at home to attract pollinators to your yard and enjoy some of their healthy, delicious seeds for yourself. Or, get the cheerful look of sunflowers with decorative items that bring color and vibrant life to your yard all year long. They’re particularly on-trend for decorating late summer into fall. Add some sunflower décor to your space for eye-catching style.