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MAIN Arrow to Home Life Home Life Arrow to GardeningGardening Arrow to Flower Gardening Flowers Arrow to Sunflowers Sunflowers

sunflowerSunflowers can grow to over 20 feet tall during a single summer and produce flowers more than 2 feet across!

No wonder sunflowers have become an iconic symbol of a happy, care-free summer, and a perfect way to teach kids about gardening.

With a curious habit of facing the rising sun in the East, sunflowers provide not only excellent lessons in sun, earth and sky, but a healthy reward. The copious seeds that sunflowers produce add up to a fun and nutritious snack. In addition, sunflower seeds are large enough for little fingers to handle, meaning sunflowers are also easy to plant.

How to grow sunflowers

sunflower blossom with sunflower seeds
Besides being fun to grow, sunflowers
provide a healthy reward in delicious,
nutritious sunflower seeds.

When planting, seeds should be placed in soil rich in organic fertilizer, to a depth of about about 1/2 inch, and in rows about a foot apart.

Once sprouted, thin plants to two feet apart to give each plant enough space.

Just remember to stake them early. Depending on the size of the sunflower variety, a 3-to6 foot bamboo or aluminum pole will give them proper support throughout the summer, and provide full sun and water as they rapidly grow ... and grow ... and GROW.

Sunflower fun facts

• Native to North America, the sunflower was grown by native Indian tribes for its seeds and oil. The Aztecs also prized the sunflower and used images of the flower in their temples.

• Today sunflowers are one of the world's leading oil seed crops, second only to soybeans.

• In addition to its use for cooking purposes, sunflower oil is also used as biodiesel fuel, which burns much more efficiently than petroleum-based diesel.

• Nutritious and delicious to birds and humans, sunflower seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and 11 other important nutrients and minerals.

On the Web - How to plant, grow & learn about sunflowers :

How to Grow Sunflowers - Get tips, advice & instructions from the Gardener's Network including interesting facts, where to plant them, days to maturity, how to harvest them, known pests & diseases.

Growing a Sunflower House for Your Kids - Find plenty of room in the backyard required for this fun project including illustrated plan, pictures, & instructions.

Sunflower Pictures - This is a stunning array from the BetterPhoto gallery with dozens of shots including field, portrait and extreme close-ups. Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

National Sunflower Association - Find everything you always wanted to know about sunflowers including history, health & nutrition, FAQ, industry stats & research, news & updates, online magazine, and fun for kids with related downloadable coloring pages..

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