Sunflowers are some of the most popular flowers found in organic gardens, they are loved by all. These large, cheerful flowers brighten up the whole garden. Sunflowers are very easy to grow, making them a fun crop for the whole family to cultivate in the garden.
The Sunflower is native to North America, but now can be found world over, and although they are renowned for their beauty they are also used for their oil and seeds which are rich in nutritional value.
The Sunflower is an annual plant, with a large flowering head. Sunflowers can grow very high, some reaching as high as 3 meters (9 3/4 ft). Likewise, the head is very large and can reach 30 cm (11.8 in) in diameter. Although the head is frequently referred to as the flower but it is actually made up of many small flowers, or florets, crowded together, which form a striking pattern. These florets mature into seeds, which are actually the fruit of the plant.
Cultivation and Harvesting:
Sunflowers are easy to grow provided they have direct sunlight. Well-prepared, rich, fertile soil will yield large flower heads and large seeds.
Your will not need to pay any attention to your Sunflowers until the heads begin to turn brown and ripen. It is difficult to say when you should harvest these plants, as this depends upon climatic conditions. If the weather is warm and dry the plants can ripen naturally, however it the weather is wet the plants should be cut and allowed to ripen at ground level.
Sunflower seeds are used as a healthy snack. The oil extracted from their seeds is used for cooking. Sunflowers are also used as a source of biodiesel, livestock feed and as ornamental plants.
Sunflower seeds have diuretic and expectorant properties. They have been used to treat headaches, coughs, bronchitis, kidney weakness, and rheumatism and bruises.