Happy New Year and welcome to the Year of the Sunflower as proclaimed by the National Garden Bureau. These native plants with relatives in Florida originated in the Americas with seeds dating back to 2100 BC in Mexico.
What do you think of when someone mentions sunflowers. Like most of us you probably picture the really tall plants growing 10, 12 or maybe 15 feet high with a big yellow flower at the very top. Well, sunflowers have changed.
Some sunflowers are very small like the varieties Teddy Bear and Sunspot that only grow to about two feet tall. There are also red sunflowers, ones with bronze to deep orange blossoms, and some with a variety of colors on the same plant. And many sunflowers don't produce just one big flower any more - often they produce clusters of medium to large flowers on numerous stems.
Growing sunflowers is fun. Find a sunny spot in your yard to raise one sunflower or a whole collection. The more you decide to grow the bigger area needed. Most sunflowers require two or more feet between their main stems for best growth.
Sunflower plants are not fussy so all you have to do is loosen the soil with a shovel or maybe a hoe. Scatter a little general garden fertilizer over the surface, then rake the soil smooth and you are ready to plant.
Sunflower seeds germinate and begin above ground growth in about seven days. All you have to do is keep the soil moist and apply a light scattering of the garden fertilizer over the soil surface every three to four weeks.
When the flowers begin to appear you can enjoy them in the garden or cut them to use in bouquets. They are best cut in the morning and placed directly in water. You might add a few more flowers or just some greenery from the landscape to create an arrangement.
Enjoy - It is the Year of the Sunflower.