The sunflower plant has a characteristic intense yellow flower and a very long stem. It is precisely because of these specific characteristics that it looks great not only when grown in the garden but also in pots. In this post, we will learn more about the characteristics of this fascinating plant, the climate and soil suitable for its growth, how to sow sunflowers and how to grow them in the ground or in pots.
The sunflower is essentially a flower with a rustic spirit, which adorns summer beds more than gardens where order reigns. The yellow of the corolla and its imposing habit make it a plant particularly suited to the vegetable garden. The sunflower also cuts a fine figure on the patio, possibly the dwarf sunflower in a pot. The dwarf sunflower is certainly more suited to small spaces on a patio or balcony.
As we have already mentioned, sunflower can also be cultivated for food, because its seeds are very good to eat as a snack and you can also produce oil from them.
Sunflower: the plant
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), which belongs to the Asteraceae family, is an annual crop and is native to the Americas. This plant was introduced in Europe towards the end of the 16th century, then spread to Italy, especially in the center. Sunflower is a relative of Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), from which the tuber is harvested. Sunflowers belong to the same family as lettuces, chamomiles and artichokes. This plant grows to a height of 4 meters.
Its stem, on which the leaves grow, is erect, and the flower grows at the top. The sunflower is characterized by its heliotropism, that is to say its ability to rotate following the sun, hence the name of this plant. Only young plants look to the sun before they flower. Sunflowers that are already in bloom are still facing east. Sunflower is able to purify the soil in which it is placed, removing all pollutants and harmful substances.
Climate and terrain
Sunflowers are summer flowers and are not afraid of the heat. Therefore, they can grow well in full sun. This plant tolerates short periods of drought but does not like humidity and water stagnation, which will cause it to rot. The soil in which it is grown should be well drained and full of organic substances. The soil must therefore be fertilized with manure or mature slurry, and must be dug very deeply before sowing the seeds.
When and how to sow sunflowers
Sunflowers are sown from March to the end of April, and the seeds are placed directly in the ground. Sunflower can also be sown in a seedbed and the advantage is that it can be sown a few weeks earlier. The sunflower plant has taproots, so it must be transplanted immediately, otherwise it may suffer if it stays in the container. Sunflower seedlings should be planted about 20cm apart and there should always be a 60cm space between the rows so that light can still filter easily.
When planted in the garden, the sunflower is not labor intensive and requires little care. Its flower is very delicate and the wind can easily damage it because it is very large. It may therefore be useful to support the stem with a bamboo stalk or to tamp down the base of the plant. Before planting the sunflower, it is good to remove any weeds that could be hindering its growth.
To prevent weeds from growing around the sunflower, mulch, that is, cover the soil all around the plant with material that does not let light through: this prevents weeds from growing. The sunflower should be watered moderately but constantly, allowing the soil to dry out before watering it again. As already mentioned, the sunflower is afraid of waterlogging.
Growing sunflowers in pots
Sunflowers can be grown in pots, as long as the patio or balcony where they will be grown is sunny. On the balcony, it is better to grow the dwarf variety, since the sunflower has roots in proportion to the height of the stem, and a plant of normal height would require a huge container. There are dwarf varieties that are no more than 30cm tall and are therefore perfect for home growing. The soil to be put in the pot should contain expanded clay or gravel to drain over watering. Sunflower in a pot should be watered regularly without excess.
Photos and images of sunflowers: inspirations for home and garden decoration
The sunflower can skillfully adorn home environments with its grandeur and the vivid yellow of its flower. Here are some photos to inspire home and garden decorating ideas. Elegance and simplicity to copy!
To see also:
Clematis: a little-known climbing plant, splendid for a colorful exterior
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