From children’s forts to cleaning up radioactive waste, sunflowers are a very versatile and beautiful plant.
Floating rafts of sunflowers were used to clean up water contaminated as a result of the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union. The roots of the sunflower plants remove 95% of the radioactivity in the water by pulling contaminants out of the water.
There are even giant sunflower competitions just as there are giant pumpkin competitions.
All the gardens that I have created for either myself or others have all had at least one sunflower; this includes balcony gardens. Mind you the ones that I grew on the balcony where a miniature hybrid not the up to twenty foot tall monster that grabs your attention in later summer
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus ) is an annual herb that can withstand mild frost as a seedling, but requires at least 100 frost free days for normal development. Intolerant of shade, sunflowers can be successfully cultivated in many countries.
Sunflower was considered to be a folk remedy and used for a number of ailments such as blindness, bronchitis, colds, coughs, dysentery, fever, influenza, fractures, malaria, rheumatism, snakebite, splenitis, and general wounds.
The prime use now is in the kitchen where sunflower oil is used for cooking, margarine, salad dressing, and soaps. Sunflower seeds are used as a snack food and as feed for poultry, cage and wild birds.
The flower itself is a source of yellow dye, the hull for filler in livestock feed and bedding, and the remainder of the plant is used as fodder, silage and green manure.
Sunflowers make an excellent cut flower and add majesty to bouquets and table arrangements.
Nutritionally sunflower is a good source of vitamin E, dietary fibre and zinc.
The sunflower is easy to grow. They will do well in most soils and need to grow their roots deep and wide, to enable them to withstand strong winds.
If possible avoid sandy soils because they are easily uprooted in loose soil. Rich soil is always helpful, but not an absolute requirement for the big and strong plant.
Sunflowers planted along a fence between two prosperities can act as a privacy curtain reinforcing and beautifying the fence.
The sunflower is an annual plant but produces seeds prolifically so you can always save some seeds from this year’s flower for next season that is if you can get to them before the birds do.
Bee and Sunflower
Sunflower Fields Forever
- Sunflower Fort
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Sunflowers in Centrepieces
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