Thursday, November 03, 2011

Ten Reasons to Grow Sunflowers

10 Reasons to grow sunflowers

  1. Attractive appearance

    Sunflowers add beauty to your garden and are a delight to the eye.

  2. Pollination

    Sunflowers attract and provide food for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, increasing the yields of your crops.

  3. Birds

    If you do not cover the heads of the sunflowers with paper bags when they are maturing, you will get to see birds such a goldfinches performing brave acrobatic feats to pluck seeds from the sunflowers. Planting sunflowers is a great way to feed the birds.

  4. Decontaminate Toxic Soil

    Sunflowers can remove many toxic metals from the soil, such as lead, arsenic and uranium. This process is known as bioremediation. To clean the soil, grow the sunflowers, harvest all parts of the plant and bring them to a proper facility for disposal. Sunflowers were even used to remove cesium-137 and strontium-90 from a pond near the Chernobyl disaster. Plant sunflowers if soil testing reveals that your soil has unacceptably high levels of toxic metals.

  5. Support for climbing plants

    If the sunflowers are given a head start by 1-2 weeks, they can be grown as support for vines such as pole beans and cucumbers.

  6. Edible seeds

    The seeds from the sunflower can be harvested to eat as a snack. Cover the sunflower heads with a paper bag when they are nearing maturity. This will protect your crop from being eaten by the birds.

  7. Easy to grow

    Sunflowers are among the most simple and easy flower to grow. They only require 6-8 hours of full sun and well-drained soil to grow successfully, and can be grown in most regions of the world.

  8. Allelopathic to weeds

    All parts of the sunflower plant emit chemicals that are harmful to many species of weeds, but will not harm most other food crops.

  9. Giant Sunflowers

    If you want an impressive garden, certain varieties of sunflowers, grown in ideal conditions, will reach truly impressive heights. The world record for the tallest sunflower was over 25 feet tall.

  10. Colors

    Sunflowers come in more colors than just the classic yellow. Orange and red varieties are also available. Sunflowers range in color from a very dark, nearly black burgundy to a very pale, nearly white yellow. Bicolor variations also occur, such as red on the outside of the petals with a ring of yellow near the inside of the petals.

Did you know? A single sunflower is not just one flower, but 1-2 thousand flowers joined together.

The genome of the sunflower contains slightly more genes than the human genome.