Magnificent Sunflowers – Beautiful and Healthy

The Sunflower

Sunflowers are a symbol of adoration as they turn their heads to the Sun and stand higher than all the other flowers. They belong to the genus helianthus, which is a reference to Helios, the Sun God.

Sunflowers

source Flickr
source Flickr

Van Gogh's Sunflower Masterpiece Hanging in a London Museum

source wickimedia commons
source wickimedia commons

What do you know about sunflowers?

Sunflowers are found around the world, and they are native to the Americas. It is the state flower of Kansas, plus the natural flower of Russia. Sunflowers are usually bright yellow with a central disc of reddish brown, but there are new varieties with different colors. The head of the sunflower actually consist of 1000 to 2000 individual flowers. Sunflowers vary in size depending on their genetic makeup; they can reach heights of 3 to 10 feet. Cultivated sunflowers can reach an incredible 20 feet, and they are one of the fastest growing plants in the world; they increase in height up to 1 foot a day.

By Poet Thomas Moore

Famous song referencing sunflowers is "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms"

...the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose.

China's Million Sunflower Garden

The most beautiful sunflower garden is in China, called the Million Sunflower Garden and it is probably the only ecological garden in the Guangzhou region with the bright sunflower as its dominant theme. It is a great tourist attraction and thousands come to see the garden annually. This beautiful garden can be viewed like nowhere else on earth, and it's been nominated for a position in the Guinness Book World Records.

There are flowers in bloom all year round, so the park is always beautiful. The Million Sunflower Garden has many varieties of sunflowers, and one of the common ones is called sunshine sunflower, with a green center and bright yellow petals. Others are the red sunflower, the super sunflower which are new variations in the sunflower family. The favorite among all is the one that's named after the famous painter Van Gogh because of his sunflower painting. The inspiration for this name came from the famous Holland painter, Van Gogh, to his masterpiece of the sunflower that is captured hearts of many people

Part of Million Sunflower Garden

Flicker
Flicker

Nansha Grand Hotel

There our many excellent hotels at reasonable prices in Guangzhou, China,as thousands of tourists visit each year. One of the nicer hotels is Nansha Grand Hotel. The hotel is located in New Coast City of Guangzhou, facing the ocean and backed by the Puzhou Mountain. The scenery looks beautiful if you ever get a chance to visit.

Garden of Million Sunflowers

Sunflower garden

Another Type of Sunflower

source sunflowerfl
source sunflowerfl

The Great Sunflower Project

The Great Sunflower Project is looking for citizen scientists all over the US to plant some flowers and observe how many and what kind of bees buzz by them. They are asking you just to look for 30 min. twice a month and record what you see. They're looking for people to help in urban, suburban, and rural environments and participants can be any age. When the project is complete San Francisco State University will use it to make a coast-to-coast pollination map, showing where bees are and aren't throughout the United States.

Sunflowers Easy to Grow

Sunflowers are very easy to grow as they are bold are tough. They look beautiful along the fence line with their beautiful color. Plant sunflower seeds in the early spring once you've prepared some moist soil. They tolerate most soil types, and their roots grow deep. This allows them to tolerate some drought.

The seeds come in several colors black, white, red and black and white striped. You start them indoors in 4 inch peat pots or you can sell them directly into the soil. Plant the seeds added depth of 2 inches in space a foot apart in rows spaced 24 inches apart. Very tall varieties are those with extra-large heads will need even more space. Don't over water or underwater these flowers but attempt to keep the moisture levels consistent. Plant the seeds in a sunny location that has good drainage and avoid fertilizers that are high in nitrogen.

Another Million Sunflowers Garden

source sunflowerpl
source sunflowerpl

Harvesting and Roasting your Sunflowers

Once you cut the flower heads off, let the heads dry until the front of the heads turning crispy brown in the back of the heads are yellowish. Then, you can lay them on a flat covered table and rub the front of the sunflower heads and the seeds will easily pop out.  Children love to do this task.

Roasting Sunflowers

Two ways to roast sunflower seed – salted or unsalted

Salted:

  1. Dissolve about 1/3 cup of salt in 2 quarts of water.
  2. Soak the sunflower seeds, shelled or un-shelled, overnight in salted water.
  3. If you want to move the project along a little faster, you can boil the seeds in salted water for a couple of hours instead of soaking.
  4. Preheat your oven to 300°.
  5. Drain the seeds the next morning, and dry them by patting with a dish towel or letting them dry on absorbent paper towels.
  6. Spread the sunflower seeds evenly on a baking sheet; you can use aluminum foil or parchment paper on the baking sheet.
  7. Roast the seeds for 30 to 40 minutes, stopping halfway through to turn and jiggle them in the pan for more even cooking.
  8. When the seeds are finished, let them sit until they are cool. Shell then if you did not do so prior to roasting.
  9. Store the roasted seeds in an airtight container.

Unsalted

  1. Preheat your oven to 300°.
  2. Place shelled or un-shelled seeds evenly on a baking sheet, with or without aluminum foil or parchment paper underneath.
  3. Roast the seeds for 30 to 40 min., stopping halfway through to turn the pan and jiggle the seeds for even cooking. The siege should be a rich golden brown color when they are done, and they may have small cracks in them.
  4. Store the roasted seeds in an airtight container.
  5. If you like, sprinkle salt on the seeds before you serve and eat them.

Summary

Sunflowers are so gorgeous and majestic that even if you don't want to harvest the seeds, you can enjoy their beauty of the colored flowers in your yard.

Sunflower seeds are very healthy, containing vitamin E, selenium, proteins, folate, magnesium, trytophan, phytochemicals and dietary fiber. They can be consumed raw or toasted and are convenient for snacks or to add to salads, bread or pancakes.

I have always bought sunflower seeds to eat in the store but I may try harvesting my own this year. I think sunflowers livened up my yard beautifully.


Comments 39 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

I adore sunflower seeds and I may just grow some flowers this spring, that is if spring ever comes.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Pop, Spring does look a little iffy with this horrendous winter. I thought sunflower seeds would make us think of spring anyway. Thanks for your comment.


tnderhrt23 profile image

tnderhrt23 5 years ago

Wonderful hub! I love sunflowers and sunflower seeds too!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Sunflowers would be a very welcome sight to all the folks who see nothing but snow and more snow when they look out their windows these days.

Thanks for the info - I did not realize sunflowers are not always yellow. Can you imagine how beautiful they are in the Chinese Million Sunflower Garden?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

tnderhrt, Thanks so much for your comment.

drbj, When the snow ever ends I'm sure people will be glad to look at green grass or flowers and sunflowers would be especially nice. I think the million sunflower garden be just gorgeous although I don't see myself going to China anytime soon. Thanks so much for your comments.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Pamela, not only are the flowers lovely to look at they also offer up seeds that are delicious. Thanks for the recipe. I will be trying it.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Sue, I agree with both of those comments. Thanks.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

My grandfather used to grow sunflowers bordering the mounds of potatoes down in what he called the hollow. It was a lower point on the land he owned. I was always fascinated how the sunflowers turn their faces following the progress of the sun each day. I also was not aware that they came in different colors. Useful hub and rating it so. Thanks!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Peggy, I think the different colors are few and fairly new. Thanks so much for your comment.


Raydfernandez profile image

Raydfernandez 5 years ago

Pamela,

I love flowers, I used to collect items that have sunflower design..and I adore them...

I love this article... sweet smile for your lovely work


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great Hub Pamela.

Like Peggy, as a child, I was fascinated with how sunflowers followed the sun. I asked several adults how they did that and no one knew!


twentyfive profile image

twentyfive 5 years ago

Awesome hub bout one of the most beautiful flowers.. :) Thanks for sharing :)


katrinasui profile image

katrinasui 5 years ago

I love sunflowers. Its true that they are not only beautiful but healthy too. Nice hub Pamela.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Raydfernandez, Thanks you so much for a lovely comment.

WillStar, The way the sunflowers move is fascinating. Thanks so much for your comment.

twentyfive, Think you so much for your comments.

katrinasui, Yes it is nice that they are healthy since they're such a beautiful flower. Thank you for your comments


rpalulis profile image

rpalulis 5 years ago from NY

I once drove by an entire field of sun flowers and have to say it was most impressive, great hub Pamela.


Freddy B 5 years ago

Get your sunflower seeds now at Renee's Garden Seeds... Lemon Queen Sunflowers are beautiful and bees love them. There's also suggestions for other flowers and herbs to plant to compliment your sunflowers and keep the pollinators happy all season long. If you enter our coupon code, part of the proceeds of your sale will help the Project. Coupon Code FR225A when you check out. You can buy your Lemon Queen seeds AND create a beautiful and diverse bee garden too!


vydyulashashi profile image

vydyulashashi 5 years ago from Hyderabad,India

Sunflower is useful in many ways.

Thanks for the info and recipe.

God Bless You!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

Lovely hub Pamela - more info here about sunflowers than I ever knew existed!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

rpalulis, Thanks for your comment.

Freddy, thank you for all the information and the coupon code. I'm sure some people will use it.

Svydyulashashi, Yes, they are very useful and I love the taste. God bless you also.

IzzyM, Thank U so much for your comment.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Hello my Adorable Pam, I love this hub and I love sunflowers...however...the squrrals will not leave my sunflower seeds in the ground, they dig them up within minutes of me planting them, what should I do, it cost so much more to buy growing plants. rate this hub up love & peace darski


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Darsky, I know squirrels and birds both like to eat them. I don't know what you might do to keep the squirrels away. Wish I could help. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate the comments. Peace and Love for you.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Thank you Pam, the squirrals around here, the mountains, are so smart, and they can smell those seeds in a heartbeat...thank you for answering me, and you know I love you my dear friend...darski


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

Delightful, I love sunflowers and your tribute to them warmed my heart and makes me grateful the ground hog did not see his shawdow. My daughters grow sunflowers every year. They are such a happy flower. The squirrels love eating them in the fall. :) Katie


JY3502 profile image

JY3502 5 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

I didn't know that much about sunflowers...wow


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Katie, It's great that your children love to grow flowers. Thanks for your comments.

JY, I'm glad I wrote this hub as I've always liked sunflowers but I learned a lot also doing the research. Thanks for the comment.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

They are magnificent flowers and I love them. Thank you for pointing out all the health benefit.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Hello, They are magnificent and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comments.


habee profile image

habee 5 years ago from Georgia

Beautiful hub! I love sunflowers. We used to grow an entire row in our huge veggie garden.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Pamela - I love sunflowers and am delighted to read your tribute to them! I shall have to read it more often! You've covered so many valuable aspects of their contributions!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Holle, it seems like everyone loves sunflowers. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I appreciate your comments.

Nellieanna, I am so glad that you enjoyed my hub. I love sunflowers also which is why I wrote the hub. Thanks so much for your comments.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Pamela - I planted sunflowers one year along the entire length of our fence - they were so huge that they popped up and then continued to grow and grow. It was so beautiful looking at them leaning over the entire length of our fence. Then the birds came when the seeds started to dry - it was just wonderful! Think I'll do that again this year - thanks so much for reminding me!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Audry, I'm glad this hub encourages you to do plant again this year. Thanks so much for your comments.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Beautiful and yummy, sunflowers can't be beat! I need to plan to plant them earlier than I have in the past. Are you participating in the Sunflower Project? If so, I hope we'll hear about it on HP.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

I just learned about the project when researching this topic. I am having some surgery in a couple of weeks so I don't know if I'll be able to participate but I am going to find out more details. Thanks so much for your comment.


ImChemist profile image

ImChemist 5 years ago

I see now I'm addicted to your hubs , nice information . THANKS Pamela!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

ImChemist, It nice to see you again I'm glad you are enjoying my hubs. Thank you so much for your comments.


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

The huge cultivated ones are absolutely amazing! This article took me to a warmer place in my mind. Thank you.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Stan, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and the cultivated ones are amazing. Typically you don't think of any flower growing that tall. Thanks so much for your comments.


hiit 4 years ago

A round of applause for your hub. Will read on...

Ron from Fitness http://www.intervalstraining.net

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