If there is any plant that can be considered a lover of the sun, this is undoubtedly the sunflower whose scientific name is Helianthus year. The plant produces only one flower, which is quite large, which It is positioned in such a way that it can receive the rays of the sun directly.
Once the flower withers, towards the end of the summer, it leaves behind the seeds, that is, the traditional pipes that you like to eat from time to time, right? Would you like to grow your own sunflower plants? Spring is the planting season, so if you don’t want to miss the train, you know, make your seedbed.
How to describe a sunflower?
El sunflower, also known as sunflower, marigold, or Texas corn, it is an annual herb which belongs to the large family Asteraceae. It is native to Central and North America, and was introduced to Europe by Spanish conquerors in the XNUMXth century. From then on, this plant conquered other parts of the world, and today it is cultivated in practically all temperate and warm regions.
It develops a very tall stem; according to varieties it can measure up to 3 meters. From them stem leaves, green and with a serrated margin. And the flower is actually a capitular inflorescence protected by a series of bracts (modified leaves), and up to 30 yellow or reddish ligules (wrongly called petals) up to 5 centimeters long.
Its fruits, that is, the pipes are achenes with oval shapeabout 15 millimeters long, generally black but can be whitish or honey-colored. Indoors they have a slightly smaller seed size.
What do you need to live?
Sunflower is an undemanding herb. What it basically needs is sun, all day, and water from time to time since it is not very drought tolerant. Anyway, we are going to see below how to take care of it:
It is important that it is kept abroadbecause it is in the only place where it can be exposed to the sun directly. In fact, do not be afraid to put the seedling in a sunny area, since the seedlings tolerate it from the beginning of their lives.
- the garden: grows in any type of soil.
- Flower pot: If it is potted, it is advisable to use a universal growing medium, either alone or mixed with 30% perlite to improve drainage.
You have to water the sunflower from time to time, preventing the soil from drying out completely. This is especially important if it is kept in a pot, since the substrate dries much faster. So that, we will water about twice a weekincreasing the frequency to three in summer if we see that the plant needs more water (that is, if we see that it wakes up looking sad, with the leaves and the stem “fallen”).
It is interesting to pay throughout the season. It will begin when the plants have two pairs of true leaves, and will continue until the flower fades. We will use organic fertilizers, adding a little guano (for sale here!), humus, or similar, once a week or every fortnight.
It has to be planted in a larger pot or in the garden during springAs soon as it has run out of space and its roots have started to grow out of its “old” pot.
It multiplies by seeds in spring. Since they need heat to germinate, their thing is to store freshly harvested pipes in summer in a small paper or cardboard bag or box until temperatures rise again.
What do you need for its cultivation? Basically three things:
- pot (about 10 centimeters in diameter)
- universal substrate (for sale here!) or seedbed (for sale here!)
- watering can with water
- a sunny place to put the seedling
You may think that the pot is too big for a single seed, but it is not. Sunflower it is a plant that grows very fastand it is worth planting a pipe in a large pot to avoid having to transplant it later.
The step by step is very simple: fill the pot with substrate, place the seed on the surface and bury it a little, and finally water abundantly. In a few days it will germinate.
What is the use of sunflower?
It has many uses. We are not only talking about a plant that produces numerous edible seeds in summer, but it also has other uses that should be known:
- Feed the pollinators: its flower produces nectar, which is the favorite food of many insects that have an important role in pollination, such as bees, wasps, or butterflies.
- Helps stop soil erosion: it is one of the herbs that grow without problems in degraded soils. While it is true that a single plant cannot do much, a field of sunflowers allows the punished land to take a breather by not being exposed to the sun directly.
- Forage: all its parts can be used to feed livestock.
- Natural fertilizer: Actually, all plants can be used as fertilizer for the soil, since when their nutrients decompose they become available for other crops. Therefore, instead of throwing the sunflower in the trash, it is better that you chop it and bury it in the garden soil.
- As food for humans: its seeds, the pipes themselves, are one of the most consumed nuts. They are rich in vitamins B, C, E and K, and also have calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. To make matters worse, they contain polyunsaturated fats. Likewise, sunflower oil is obtained from the pipes, which is used, for example, for frying.
- Other uses: sunflower is used in cosmetics, to make soaps and detergents.
What do sunflowers do when there is no sun?
The sunflower flower follows the sun on its route every day, from east to west. At night, they return to their starting position to repeat the trip the next morning. This movement is known as heliotropism, and it is what allows it to capture the light it needs to grow.
However as you age, your biological clock slows you down until there comes a time when he stares to the east. And this heliotropism cannot explain. But it is known that the circadian rhythm of the plant intervenes.
Un study revealed that, during the day, the sunflower stem moves west thanks to photoreceptors or light receptors called phototropins, and auxins, which are growth hormones. But, at night, it is the circadian rhythm that makes it return to the east.
It is a very curious plant, so we could not finish this article without mentioning its curiosities:
- Did you know that there are red sunflowers? There are also dwarves. There are currently some new varieties and cultivars appearing that will make the garden look splendid. They all have in common their high germination rate and rapid growth. So if you want to plant, for example, red sunflowers, you should follow the same planting steps as with the yellow sunflower.
- Pipes were consumed by Native Americans long before the Spanish conquest. In fact, they began to cultivate it around 1000 BC. C.
- In many cultures of America, such as the Aztec or the Inca, the sunflower was believed to represent the solar deity.
What is the meaning of the sunflower?
Very positive things. Yellow is the color of the sun, so the sunflower is the symbol of life and energy. For this reason, giving someone a flower, or even better a plant, is one of the best things that can be done in spring-summer, since it is as if you were telling them that you want them to be happy, to be well, and that you appreciate it.
Where to buy sunflower?
If you would like to grow your own sunflowers, do not hesitate to click here: