sunflowers, hypericum, celosia, cymbidium and bells of Ireland

Sunflowers take the cake in early fall. Customers asking for seasonal flowers can order sunflowers with confidence. Paired with bright hues of green they confidently encourage people to enjoy the last vestiges of summer fun. Combined with rich red, orange and rusty brown visions of hearth-side games come to mind. Either way, sunflowers deliver qualities that are sought after: bright color, long vase life, distinct flower form. Sunflower, helianthus annuus to be precise, comes in many cultivars that are beautiful when presented in a floral design.

There are several varieties of sunflower that are grown specifically for use as cut flowers. If you have ever cut sunflowers from the garden and put them in a vase you know how messy the pollen can be. There is very little problem with pollen with the new smaller sized cut flower varieties.

Sunflowers, calla, kale, roses, poke berry, birch branch

To make your sunflowers last longer follow these tips: Keep the water clean. If the water is cloudy then there is too much bacteria present. Dump the water, wash the vase, cut about an inch off the bottom of the stem and place the stems back into the clean water. To avoid this step change the water every three days and re-cut the stems. Sunflowers like filtered sun, so place them near a sunny window.

Here are some Sunflower varieties to ask your local florist about:

Sunbeam is a very pretty sunflower that has a light yellow/green center. The Incas considered the sunflower to be the image of their sun god and wore disks with its likeness on them.

Sunrich Orange has a dark center and a corona of deep yellow petals. Sunflower seeds were a sacred food for the plains Indians; they placed bowls of the seeds on the graves of the dead to sustain them in the afterlife.

Teddybear is a full, fluffy variety of sunflower that doesn’t have the distinct center of the more traditional varieties. The sunflower got its name form the Greek “helios” (sun) and “anthos” (flower) because the sunflower turns its head towards the sun.

Ring of Fire is an exciting sunflower variety that has bi-color petals. A vase of these beauties would be the perfect gift for a man who just received a promotion or a new job.

These days many sunflowers are grown for the cut flower market but it is an important agricultural crop for other uses as well. They are grown for birdseed and their oil is used for snack foods, soap, paint, cosmetics and cooking oil. However you consume your sunflowers, know that you are helping to continue a legacy that goes back to ancient times.

Do you enjoy sunflowers?