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Sunflower Possibilities

Updated on May 12, 2016

The Sunflower

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

Bob Ewing photo
Bob Ewing photo

Sunflower Fields Forever

Sunflowers in Centrepieces

Comments

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  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks for stopping by, talk with the people at your garden centre and get one that suits your site.

  • jim10 profile image

    jim10 9 years ago from ma

    My wife loves sunflowers. I am thinking of planting them in my yard. I know their are a few different varieties of sunflowers. I think the biggest would kind of dwarf my house since it is a single floor ranch. So I will look for something about 6 feet or a little less.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    thanks.

  • chantelg4 profile image

    chantelg4 9 years ago from Northern Ontario

    Love this article, I think I will grow these in the spring.

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 9 years ago from North Carolina

    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." Thats great to know, I wonder whether they use this even on normal nuclear plants. Would love to read more how they do this.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks Z, the sunflower is a cheerful plant and along with cleaning the ponds could bring a ray of light into the region.

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Super HUB Bob! I didn't know about sunflowers were a radioactive clean-up crew.Thinking into that whole tragic accident, the cheerful sunflowers maybe were or are able to put a small little hope back into the lives of all that were affected.

    Great HUB

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    A herb is a non-woody plant that can be used for cooking or medicinal purposes, one the generally dies back at the end of the growing season.

  • Whitney05 profile image

    Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

    This is interesting. I never realized that the sunflower could be an herb.

  • Bob Ewing profile image
    Author

    Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick

    you are welcome

  • puter_dr profile image

    Mike Bouska 9 years ago from Midwest USA

    Nice Hub Bob!