Did you know that sunflowers have been around for 40 million years? (humans are only about 100,000 years old) Reasons to grow a few this year:
**the seeds are nutritious. Sunflower seeds are bought widely, so why not grow them? Make sure you are growing an edible seed variety. There are hybrids that may not be suitable for eating.
**they attract good bugs to your garden. Bright yellow flowers will attract pollinators which will help your other crops. Bees love sunflowers and the bright yellow flowers will attract the bees to your garden where they will help pollinate other plants.
**kids love them, especially the really tall ones!
**birds feed on them. Grow a few near the house and watch the birds in the autumn. A natural, and very low maintenance, bird feeder.
**they look great and will brighten up any outside space with their huge yellow flowers!
NB: Only the seeds are edible. The flowers and other parts of the plant should NOT be consumed raw but there are ways to process sunflowers if you are an enthusiast. Sunflower oil, used for cooking is a good source of vitamins A and D and it can also be used to condition the hair. I haven’t been brave enough to try that yet!
Sunflowers like a well-drained fairly rich soil and a sunny spot in the garden. And just in case you’ve had a natural disaster occur near you, sunflowers naturally decontaminate the soil of such materials as uranium and arsenic!
I’m not sure you should eat the seeds of plants that have been absorbing these dangerous materials though. Best to check your soil first perhaps if you have any worries about the condition of the ground in your region.
As with most flowers, sunflowers have their own meanings which are all positive as far as I can find. They symbolize happiness and optimism amongst other happy things!
I found this lovely kit on Amazon (UK) that the kids will love.
“Kit contains a mixture of sunflower seeds to plant; Sunflower Helios Seeds, Sunflower Velvet Queen Seeds, Sunflower Dwarf Yellow Spray Seeds, Sunflower Tanja Seeds & Sunflower Valentine Seeds. Supplied as 1 x Stunning Sunflower Seed Growing Kit. Supplied with instructions on how to care for your seeds.”