Interesting Facts and Misperceptions About SUNFLOWERS!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I thought I would share some interesting tidbits I learned about growing sunflowers this year in Northern California. The wife and I grew two varieties -- including the Moulin Rouge. There's my lovely wife tending to this year's sunflower garden from earlier this summer. Nice eh? Watch it! Sunflowers are a TRAP! They are a CURSE upon man!

And here's why:

1. One sunflower plant equals fifty sunflower plants next year:

This is a true statement. I was a bit worried when my wife started ripping out dead sunflowers from one of the planter beds in late summer, but never thought all of those seeds hitting the ground during the removal process would germinate. Boy howdy, was I wrong. As you can probably tell from these photos, I'm the proud owner of a small sunflower forest -- which continues to grow at a rather rapid and alarming rate. I thought that the winter freeze would kill the new plants off. Hah! Sunflowers laugh at freezing temperatures. All of that green you see? While it's true that some of them are weeds, the vast majority of plants inside and around the planter bed are, in fact, sunflowers that germinated from seed that fell to the ground during the removal process during the late fall.

2. Sunflowers are "plant friendly" and grow well in mixed beds:

WRONG! Sunflowers take over every square inch of space and knock out the hardiest of vegetable and/or flower plants. They are a curse upon all gardeners. They cannot be contained.

3. Sunflowers make excellent cut flowers in vase arrangements:
FALSE! There is no such thing as "vase arrangements" when it comes to sunflowers. "Vase Arrangements" implies flowers other than sunflowers. What other flowers are available after the sunflowers kill everything off? A vase full of sunflowers looks good. A "vase arrangement" of sunflowers is an oxymoron.

4. Sunflowers require good soil, fertilizer and love to thrive:

FALSE! Sunflowers will grow in asphalt! They'll grow straight out of concrete! Good soil, bad soil, rocky soil, rocky asphalt, a bowl of acid, it doesn't matter. Sunflowers take over.

5. Once you grow sunflowers, you'll always have sunflowers, whether you want them or not:

TRUE!!! Sunflowers laugh at Roundup, blowtorches, plutonium and nuclear weapons. The scientist who predicted that only cockroaches would survive a nuclear holocaust obviously never met a sunflower.

6. Sunflowers are a gardeners best friend:

FALSE! A more true statement would be "sunflowers are a gardener's best curse!" Now that I have stated the lesson of the day, does anyone, perchance, need sunflower starter plants or sunflower seeds? I appear to have too much of both.


Anonymous said...

I would LOVE some sunflower starters! Email me at

These sound like my kind of plant... can't be killed, super-hardy, survives both the Sacramento winters AND summers. I moved here four years ago from the coast, and I still can't seem to get anything to grow. Sunflowers may be my only chance!

Anonymous said...

I just put some seeds in the ground.. not have much luck with any other flowers last year, I figure these will grow! Yay..kind of excited.

I will be more than happy to take some starters off your hands!

krishna kashyap av said...

Great psot.
It was really intersting and
useful post.
Thanks a lot for sharing.
Work from home India

Janelle James said...

I would REALLY love some sunflower starter seeds. The two storm and up to 70 mph winds and rain killed my beautiful sunflower plants. They are destroyed now. They were growing beautifully. I do not know what to do to protect them when a storm hits. I am so new to gardening. I have a two year old son and I rarely have time to do any research. I woke up just now to look for Sunflower info on Google and happened to run across this. Any help will b much appreciated.

Alexis Madrigal said...

I just planted some sunflower seeds in a young but thriving perennial garden and now I'm scared!!! If I let them blossom, is there any way we I can remove the seedheads before they start dropping their seeds?

Bill Bird said...

Just keep a good eye on them, Alexis!