10 facts about sunflowers

Our sunflowers are creating a very happy environment over at Blackfriars this spring, so we thought it would be good idea to tell you a little more about sunflowers – and perhaps why they make us so happy.

The Sunflower

Helianthus (Helia = Sun, Anthus = Flower)

  1. Sunflowers can grow up to 12ft tall in just 12 months! No other flower can grow that quickly. But they don’t stop there. The tallest one on record was over 25.5ft tall!
  2. This fact is perhaps better known that some others but the younger flowering heads of a sunflower actually turn towards the sun as they track its movement. This is called heliotropism. Once matured, they do not move as much and stay more facing the east.
  3. They’re great to have in your garden – not only because of their presence but also because they attract birds, which make for a lovely environment. Birds like to eat the seeds though, so be careful if you want them!
  4. Sunflowers attract slugs, which can cause problems in your garden, so watch out if you do plan to grow them.
  5. The sunflower is the national flower of Russia. Funny to think that somewhere with such harsh winters can actually have such strong and beautiful blooms.
  6. Despite being the national flower of Russia, they are actually native to North America. American Indians have long hailed the benefits of the mighty sunflower using it in food for both themselves and their livestock. They also used it for medicinal purposes.
  7. And, despite being native to North America, there are in fact 3 species native species to South America.
  8. There are more than 60 different kinds of sunflowers in the US alone.
  9. The state of Kansas in the US has the sunflower as its state flower, which must be a good sign right? (Because there’s no place like home!)
  10. You can eat them! And not just in a sandwich (though each to their own of course). Sunflower seeds are a fantastic course of calcium and other minerals. They are brilliant for adding to granola, flapjacks or salads, or even just as a snack on their own. Or grind them down to make sunflower oil, which is also pretty common in cooking. Here’s a tip! Use the striped seeds to eat and the black seeds for making oil.

Sunshine bouquet

That wraps up our 10 facts about sunflowers. Do you have any to add?

Sunflowers are part of our ‘Sunshine’ bouquet for May. You can see more of the May collection here.


Which flower do you want to learn more about next?