Sunflowers as a Crop and Garden Flower

Dan Specialty Crops, This Land of Ours

GARDENCathy Isom brightens us up with the flowers that are really easy to care for and can lend a hand in the garden. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.



Sunflowers have been a part of agriculture, dating back to at least 3000 BC, and they have been used for all sorts of handy stuff: seeds, oil, medicine, fiber, as well as beauty. Amazingly, sunflowers can sprout up to six feet high in a matter of three months. Besides being a valuable crop in and of themselves, sunflowers are also used to help out the garden as a whole.

They’re easy to grow and can withstand just about any type of soil. Many gardeners use sunflowers as living fences. It’s recommended planting them about six inches apart around the garden or even between beds.

Another popular sunflower function is acting as a free garden stake for climbing vines, such as cucumbers and tomatoes.  Sunflowers are often grown for the quality of distracting pests, specifically aphids. Sunflowers are also a new green option because they are particularly attractive to bees and other beneficial, pollen-collecting insects and hummingbirds.

Sunflowers are noted as being allelopathic, which means that they emit a chemical that prevents other plants from propagating nearby. Of course, many people grow sunflowers for the simple fact that they are stunning, massive flowers that brighten up the scene.

Whatever your reason, get them in the garden next year after the last spring frost and expect to harvest into the fall.

I’m Cathy Isom…

Image credit: (lower left) Sunflower Garden at Singapore Changi Airport. Singapore Changi Airport is the primary civilian airport for Singapore, and one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia. Photography ID:130529182, Copyright: teamtime / DepositPhotos

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