Everything You Need to Know About Sunflowers
Originating in the plains of North America, sunflowers were quickly spread to become easily one of the most recognizable flowers, symbolizing loyalty, hope, and admiration. Nobody portrayed them better than Van Gogh, arguably one of the world’s best painters, who devoted two entire collections to try to understand this deceptively intricate flower. In both instances, these works were meant as a gesture of kindness to Gaugin, another famous artist who would go down in history.
Van Gogh knew his friend loved the sunflower, so whenever the latter would come to visit, Van Gogh would adorn his guest bedroom with numerous oil paintings of the flower for Gaugin to admire.
The sunflower seeds grow best in fertile soils, preferably well-drained and with a generous layer of mulch to maintain its moisture. Make sure to plant the seeds about 1 inch below surface level and when the ground has a temperature of between 70 and 80 degrees. Depending on where you are, that usually coincides with late spring.
The sunflower seeds usually take one to two weeks to germinate, during this time, remember to water them frequently to keep the soil moist. During the growing phase however, 1 inch of water every week is more than plenty. Needless to say, sunflowers require a lot of sunshine, so be sure to pick a good spot in your garden and space the seeds out so that they have enough room to grow. Enjoy the bright yellow, orange, or red colors after they blossom during late summer, but joy doesn’t stop there!
When sunflower heads start to tilt downwards, start checking them for maturity: you will be able to harvest edible seeds by cutting off the flower head and letting it dry. These beautiful flowers are annual, meaning that unless you plant them again the following year, they will not come back.
When assembled into a bouquet, they are usually paired with other summer flowers, usually marigolds, daisies, and nasturgens to produce a colorful, lively mix. Keep in mind that a wide variety of sunflowers exist, so there should never be a shortage of ideas when designing your bouquets:
- Mammoth sunflowers
- Skyscraper sunflowers
- Mexican sunflowers
- Procut red sunflowers
- Autumn beauty sunflowers
Regardless of which variety is your favorite, or whether you choose them for a bouquet or your garden, sunflowers will stand tall to radiate the sunny positivity and summer vitality that characterizes them.
By V. M. Pierluisi