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10 Interesting Sunflower Facts

Updated on July 25, 2013

Get to know the sunflower.

Scientifically known as Helianthus annuus, the sunflower is a native annual plant in America. Sunflower stem can grow to up to 3 to 18 feet high, and the sunflower head can reach to 30 centimetres in diameter. The flowers come with large seeds, which can be numbered up to 2000 seeds in one head. The head is actually composed of around a thousand to two thousand individual flowers that are joined to the base. The big petals that surround the head of the sunflower are ray flowers growing at the edge individually without the seeds.

The name “sunflower” is usually also referred to all plants and herbs under the genus Helianthus, which are mainly perennial plants, that are almost 60 different types of variety. Domesticated variety of sunflower can have a single stem with a big head with seeds. While those in the wild are known to be highly-branched with smaller heads and seeds.

Usually, a sunflower would need 90 to a hundred days to grow fully. The presence of sunflowers in a yard can be very appealing to birds.

Here are the ten interesting sunflower facts:

  1. The distinguished attribute of sunflowers is that their flower head follows the movement of the sun. This natural mechanism is termed as Heliotropism, coming from the sunflower’s scientific name Helianthus by which Helios literally means “sun”, and Anthos which means “flower.”
  2. A few years back, a new type of sunflower was developed. It has its low-pollen characteristics that lessen the risk of asthmatic attack from pollen-allergic people. It is also known to increase the lifetime of the sunflower itself.
  3. The Sunflower State is the nickname for Kansas City.The highest point of the city is called Mount Sunflower.
  4. The highest sunflower ever grown was during 1986 in Netherlands by a certain M. Heijmf. It was recorded to have 25’ 5.5” length. The shortest on the other hand measured approximately 2 feet tall, grown with the use of the Bonsai method. The largest sunflower head was grown in Canada.
  5. Aside from being cultivated for the public’s pleasure, these flowers are actually cultivated for commercial purposes. A part of the commercially cultivating reason focus on the production of edible sunflower seed and a part of it focus mainly on the production of sunflower oil. A mature sunflower can produce up to 40% of its actual weight as oil. Sunflowers produce oil, paint, medicine, biodiesels and animal food.
  6. It was recorded in the past that sunflowers were utilized as life jackets. Before more modern materials became available, sunflower stalks that were dried were used to manufacture life jackets, to provide buoyancy.
  7. With the numerous varieties of sunflower, the most common of its type is the bright yellow, filled with dark brown centers with seeds. Recent varieties are being made with colors that can range from tan, maroon, or even orange. The centers are bright green instead of the dark brown usual head centers
  8. The long history of sunflowers can be traced back from 3,000 years back, taking into account archaeological findings from North America. It was from Europe originally, and seeds were the flowers and seed were initially bought by Spanish migrants.
  9. Sunflower is used in Japan to decontaminate radioactive soil from nuclear exposures.
  10. Sunflowers are the symbol for all things peace, love and happiness.

If you want to grow a sunflower in your garden, here are the steps:

  • Select a location that is sheltered but also gets sun exposure the entire day.
  • Any soil can be used as long as it does not keep water retained. This results to sunflower’s stunted growth. Fertile soil is recommended.
  • Moisten soil and fill a wide pot with it. Place two to three sunflower planting seeds. Cover with soil. Water. Put it in clear and bright light coverage, but not that heated so as to avoid baking the soil. Allow seedlings to appear after some time.
  • Perfect soil temperature for germination is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When seeds are fully developed, transfer each seedling to other pot. Leave the first one to germinate in the initial pot.
  • When leaves are showing, start fertilizing the sunflower to develop good roots.
  • Remember to keep the pot in sunny areas, but make sure they are frost free. Do not place near large plants as it lessens the warmth for the
  • In handling the plant, carefully hold it that it is prevented from any dame. Avoid moving so as to prevent the soil from being shaken. If soil is refilled, carefully do it. You may also need to place support like bamboo beside the growing plant.
  • Water it gently.
  • Wait till the flower appears.

Happy gardening!

Grow Sunflowers At Your Yard

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    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      I love sunflowers but have never planted any. I think it's too hot in FL don't you? Maybe in the winter.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 6 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      That's a nice hubpage ... now do one one moon flowers (there is one you know) or you could add moon flowers to this one and call it "Sun and Moon Flowers!" :)