Botanical name: Helianthus annuus.
Common name: Sunflower
If there was one flower that had summer written all over it, it would be the vibrant sunflower. As the name suggests, these flowers are sun lovers and move towards the direction of the sun throughout the day. This process is known as heliotropism. They require good light and warm weather above 12°c to grow well. The flower has a sturdy stem with a large single flower head. The flower head is made up of 1000 to 2000 individual flowers which are joined at the base. The large petals which are found around the edge are individual ray flowers, which do not develop into seeds.
The Sunflower is one of the fastest growing plants, with many growing between 8-12 feet tall in just 6 months. More than 60 varieties exist around the world including the popular “teddy bear” variety which resembles a fluffy teddy bear with dense golden yellow petals. Colours of petals range from golden yellow to deep red colours and even striped varieties.
Not only used for their flowers, sunflowers are an important food item and crop.
Sunflowers originate from the Western parts of the United States.
How should you care for it?:
It is best to buy when flowers are half to fully open. Look for strong stems that will support the flower as flower heads are often heavy. Leaves should be free of damage and have a bright green colour. There should be no sign of wilting, black marks or yellowing.
Before use, recut 2-4cms off stems. It is a good idea to remove almost all but the top leaves as they will usually wilt and die before the flower. Sunflowers should last in a vase between 5-10 days.
Sunflowers are the symbol of faith, loyalty and adoration.