About Sunspot Sunflower: Sunflowers were named for their habit of turning their faces to the sun. At the beginning of their development they exhibit heliotropism, or following the sun in its course from east to west, though the mature blossoms usually end up facing straight east. These versatile plants have an ancient history, beginning with Native American tribes across North America as early as 2000 BC. The seeds were used for their oil, ground up for meal, or simply eaten as a snack; the plant also provided dye and medicinal ointment. In 18th century Europe, sunflowers were widely used both in gardens and for making cooking oil; the production of this heart-healthy oil eventually became a major industry both in Europe and America. These are said to be the happiest of flowers, and in the language of flowers they symbolize loyalty and constancy.
Sunspot Sunflower Germination: Sunflowers should be sown directly outdoors, since their long roots need space to develop and dislike being disturbed. In late spring after the soil has warmed to 70-75 degrees F, plant several seeds together 1” deep and 6” apart in rich, well drained soil; the seeds will begin to germinate in 8-10 days. The protection of netting or a screen may be necessary to prevent birds or animals from eating the seeds as they begin to sprout and develop; keep the soil moist. Thin to the strongest seedlings. Sandy soil is not recommended for sunflowers, since this provides little support and nutrients.
Growing Sunspot Sunflower Seeds: Water the seedlings occasionally as they develop. Mature plants tolerate drought well, though they may need regular fertilizing for the best growth. Avoid overwatering, since this can cause disease. This plant attracts bees, butterflies, and birds.
Harvesting Sunspot Sunflower: For fresh flowers, cut the stems 1½-2 feet in length and at an angle of 45 degrees. Strip off any leaves that will fall below the water level; place the stems in water immediately. For the longest vase life, recut the stems and replace the water every three days. To save the seeds for eating, first cover the heads with a protective fabric covering such as cheesecloth to discourage the birds and squirrels. As the heads ripen, they will drop their petals; the back of the head will turn from green to brown, and the seeds will develop a hard coating. Cut the heads, leaving several inches of stem. Hang them to dry in a protected, well ventilated area. Remove the seeds by gently rubbing the dried heads. Store the seeds in an airtight container.
Saving Sunspot Sunflower Seeds: To save the seeds, cover the heads with a protective fabric covering such as cheesecloth to discourage the birds and squirrels. As the heads ripen, they will drop their petals; the back of the head will turn from green to brown, and the seeds will develop a hard coating. Cut the heads, leaving several inches of stem. Hang them to dry in a protected, well ventilated area. Remove the seeds by gently rubbing the dried heads. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Sunspot Sunflower Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: None Duration: Annual/80 days Bloom Time: Summer Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 1,500 Produces bushy plants with rough, heart-shaped leaves and 10-12" yellow flowers with large golden centers.