Guide to Sunflower Flowers
1.1 What is the meaning of the Sunflower and what do they symbolise?
Sunflowers are one of our green earths brightest flowers, even going back as far as the Native Americans who worshipped them. A few emotions they symbolize include:
- Happiness: Yellow is the floral colour of happiness, and no flower comes more predominantly yellow than the sunflower. Sunflowers are also available in white, brown, green and even red. Let the recipient know how happy you make them with a tall blooming sunflower, or give to a down person to make them cheerful.
- Pride: Sunflowers start out so small and introverted, that it’s hard not to take pride when they raise their head from their tall stems and face the sun in all their golden glory.
- Loyalty: Great for telling your partner or someone special to you that you’ll always be there for them.
1.2 What occasions are best to give Sunflowers as a gift?
Any place or person which needs the sunny influence that only a sunflower can bring is perfect. A few occasion and instances include:
- Corporate: If you’re a maintenance, secretary, or any sort of office worker, sunflowers can really do the trick in making the workplace seem less dreary. Whether it’s any casual day with staff, or a corporate function, sunflowers will add that little extra bit of warmth.
- Weddings: Some brides and planners tire of the traditional wedding flowers, and some simply fall head over heels in love with the idea of sunflowers at their wedding. See an arrangement of sunflower features and ornaments which can be used at wedding here.
- Mother’s Day: Great for metaphors for your special mum. Order a sunflower bouquet online for Mother’s Day and add a personal card mentioning how like a sunflower, she brightens up your day and keeps you standing tall with pride.
1.3 How long do Sunflower from a florist live for?
Sunflowers last 5-7 days as cut flowers when taken care of properly. There is no special trick to keeping cut sunflowers alive and blooming for longer in a vase or container, it comes down to the general flower care tips which include:
Changing the water everyday and replacing it with lukewarm or room temperature water. Make sure the container you’re keeping the flower is clean and cleaned each day when replacing the fluids as well.
Water’s a start, but some form of energy is also needed to sustain life. If the florist you ordered sunflowers from did not provide a packet of flower food, simply use a couple of teaspoons of sugar.
While sunflowers love their full sunlight when rooted, like any cut flower they appreciate cool conditions with indirect sunlight. Finally, cut the stems at an angle a little bit each day underwater to keep the flow of nutrients fresh and any air bubbles out.
1.4 What different type of Sunflower flower species are there?
There are almost 100 recognized varieties in the helianthus genus, yet for the more common breeds of sunflowers, see the following:
- Prairie: Also known as the Maximillian sunflower, these sunflower varieties are sought after as they are perennial flowers, unlike the traditional annual sunflower which must be replanted. They are a hardy species with multiple heads per stem as opposed to the single head.
- Vanilla Ice: For a more unique variant on sunflower, consider the Helianthus debilis, a sunflower with petals that are almost completely white.
- Russian Mammoth: As the name would suggest, this is a large sunflower. More wide to be specific – the heads can reach 40cm wide on top of 2.5 metre stems. The head has been developed over years to be so large that the stalks may need to lean against something or a stake for support.
- Sunny Smiles: The ideal indoor sunflower, or for the beginner gardener. They only grow to a ~50cm bloom, have no pollen (ideal for allergic folk), and grow without any external support or staking!
Interested in more sunflower variants? See this for a full list of sunflower varieties.
1.5 What conditions does the Sunflower flower need to grow?
Climate: Sunflowers are a hardy flower which can survive relatively extreme hot and cold environments. Their key requirements are plenty of sunlight and open space to grow into.
Soil: Sunflowers prefer a neutral leaning towards acidic soil of around 6.5-7.0 pH. Similar to most flowers, the soil should be fairly loose to ensure deep root penetration.
Planting: Ensure there is ample space in the soil, as sunflower roots tend to grow expansively and deep.
Fertilizer: The ideal sunflower fertilizer is a slow release granular fertilizer with surrounding mulch to keep out weeds. Fertilization is recommended two to three times a month, depending on the initial quality of the soil. A liquid fertilizer should be used to make sure the nutrients soak right down to the deep roots.
Insects & Disease: Sunflowers attract insects, but as they are thick, large flowers they are fairly resistant. Caterpillars, grasshoppers, snails and aphids are several pests to the sunflower, which can be controlled with a general purpose insecticide. For more on sunflower diseases which includes Scelerotinia head rots and red rust, which damages the leaves, see the Australian government’s resource on sunflower diseases.
Height at Bloom: Dwarf sunflowers typically grow 10-40cm, regular sunflowers can grow anywhere between 125cm-300cm, where as giant sunflowers can grow up to a huge 7.5 metres. To reach these heights takes significant care and maintenance.
Watering: Sunflowers are not particularly thirsty plants, and watering them by hand should only take place during periods of prolonged dryness. Dryness and withering is an obvious sign of dehydration, where as yellowing of the stem leaves is a sign of over-hydration.