Plant of the Month Fall 2013


Helianthus annus

A native of North America, this annual notOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
only shines in the garden but is an important
source of food for birds as well as humans. Beginning in late summer, when garden color is waning, the sunflowers begin their seasonal show. Colors vary from the palest yellow, to gold, even darker reddish brown hues and there are some spectacular bicolor flowers now available. Overall plant sizes can vary widely as well, flower heads themselves can measure from 4″ to well over 12″ across. They are most commonly grown from seed, which also offers the best selection.

Easy to grow, requiring only average soil, sun and minimal water. You will notice that the flowers follow the sun when younger then predominately face east to avoid scorching. Popular with many types of birds, it is fun to watch their acrobatics and see them happily hanging upside down on a seed head to get every last kernel. Of course, the sunflower produces many other beneficial products including sunflower oil and sunflower butter.

helianthus annusQuick Facts

  • Late summer bloom
  • Vibrant, strong color
  • Attracts a variety of birds
  • Easy to grow
  • Many uses outside the garden
  • Reseeds regularly