Sunflower


2 entries found.
Sunflower
Common Name: Sunflower, Common Sunflower
Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus (he-li-AN-thus AN-you-us)
Decorative Life: From 5-14 days depending on cultivar and water uptake capabilities.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Remove bottom leaves if present, recut stems under water and place into a fresh flower food solution, hydrating solution containing a wetting agent, or plain tap water. Or, place into a bleach solution (6-8 drops per quart). On average, best vaselife is obtained in flower food solutions. This species should respond well to under water cutting as embolisms are common at the time of harvest.
  • Water stress can be alleviated by holding them in tap water containing the wetting agent Triton X-100 at 0.01%, which is about 1.3 fluid ounces (39 ml) per 100 gallons.
Harvest Instructions: Cultivar selection is important to help ensure good postharvest performance. In this regard, readers are encouraged to get a copy of the 1995 Gast paper detailing production and postharvest evaluations of some 36 sunflower cultivars. Lower leaf senescence is common before flowers are ready to be harvested. Leaf expansion can be inhibited by ethylene produced by plants in response to poorly aerated (too much water containing) soils.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster or sunflower) family.
  • Native to the Midwest and Western US.
  • Some common relatives are gerbera, chrysanthemum, zinnia, dahlia, strawflower, lettuce and Belgian endive.
Personality:
  • Has daisy-like flowers, 2-10 or more inches across, with ray petals surrounding a large brown or yellow disk.
  • Stems thick, leafy, hairy, often 3-4 feet long although dwarf cultivars are available, with single flowers or branched to form sprays of flowers.
  • Plant is an annual, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
  • No flower fragrance.
Availability: Year-round, peak June-October.
Flower Color: Cream, yellows, browns, bronzes.
Storage Specifics: 32-34F. Should be hydrated with a wetting agent containing solution prior to storage dry.
Tidbits:
  • From the Greek "helios" (sun) and "anthos" (flower) because the sunflower turns its head toward the sun. The specific epithet name annuus means annual in reference to its one year life cycle.
  • The Incas considered the sunflower to be the image of their sun-god and wore golden disks with its likeness that were coveted by the Spanish conquerors.
  • Sunflower seeds were a sacred food for the Plains Indians, who placed bowls of seed on graves to sustain the dead in their after life journey. Often grown for bird feed.
  • Many new cultivars have been developed in the past ten years, with single and double flower forms, bicolored petals. Some cultivars are somewhat ethylene sensitive even though most members of the aster family are not ethylene sensitive. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology list this species as an allergy-safe pollen producing plant.
  • These native American flowers were originally grown more for their usefulness than their beauty, as the oil from sunflower seeds is used for food, soap, paint and cosmetics. The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a "composite" of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one "petal" off at a time, saying "she/he loves me, loves me not", they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.
Recent Findings: Gast (1998) showed that the cultivar 'Primrose' did not last as long as 'Del Sol', Moonshadow', 'Lemon Eclair' or 'Sundrops'. Starman et al. (1995) rated this species ('Sunrich Lemon') as being a poor income producer.
Sunflower
Common Name: Sunflower, Common Sunflower
Botanical Name: Helianthus annuus (he-li-AN-thus AN-you-us)
Decorative Life: About two weeks depending on environment.
Post Harvest Care:
  • Full or filter sunlight is best for this species.
  • Avoid water stress conditions as leaf yellowing, wilting and/or fall is likely to follow. Irrigate growing media at time of sale or upon arrival with a wetting agent solution. Treating with gibberellins (4+7) and benzyladenine (Fascination) did not extend life.
Harvest Instructions: Flowers and plants looked better and lasted longer under interior environments if grown using low (100 ppm) nitrogen levels and stopping all fertilization 55 days after potting compared to ones grown using 200 ppm. Cultivar selection is important. For example, two good cultivars for potted plants are 'Pacino' and 'Teddy Bear'.
Family Roots:
  • Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster family).
  • Native to the Midwestern and Western US.
  • Common relatives include lettuce, gerbera, chrysanthemum, zinnia, ageratum and dahlia.
Personality:
  • Flowers are daisy-like, 2-4 inches across, with ray petals surrounding a brown or yellow disk.
  • Stems leafy, hairy, with single flowers or branched to form flower sprays.
  • Flowers are not fragrant.
Availability: Year-round.
Flower Color: Cream, yellows, browns, bronzes.
Storage Specifics: 32-34F.
Tidbits:
  • From the Greek "helios" (sun) and "anthos" (flower) because the sunflower turns its head toward the sun. The specific epithet "annuus" refers to the plant's one-year life cycle.
  • The Incas considered the sunflower to be the image of their sun-god and wore golden disks with its likeness that were coveted by the Spanish conquerors.
  • Sunflower seeds were a sacred food for the Plains Indians, who placed bowls of seed on graves to sustain the dead in their after life journey. Often grown for bird feed. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology lists this species as an allergy-safe pollen producing plant.
  • Some favorite cultivars and their respective flower colors include 'Big Smile' (yellow) and 'Pacino' (yellow). Many new cultivars have been developed in the past ten years, with single and double flower forms and bicolored petals.
  • These native American flowers were originally grown more for their usefulness than their beauty, as the oil from sunflower seeds is used for food, soap, paint and cosmetics. The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a "composite" of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one "petal" off at a time, saying "she/he loves me, loves me not", they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal.