With their sunny yellow petals and cheerful demeanour, a sunflower embodies all that is summer and makes the perfect uplifting gift.
There's much to be admired about this popular garden flower, not least the fact that it's so clever it turns to face the sun each morning in a process called Heliotropism and has been known to grow up to 20ft tall.
The sunflower is most commonly found in a bright yellow colour, but with over 70 different varieties available, they range from pale yellow to rustic oranges and deep reds.
The sunflower originates in North America and was first cultivated in 3,500BC by the American-Indian tribes, who would use it in variety of different ways from creating flour for cakes and bread to making dyes and tribal body paintings.
In the late 16th century, Spanish explorers brought the sunflower to Europe where it was widely cultivated for its oil and its striking beauty made it a popular flower for decoration in homes and gardens, which it still is today.
Botanical Name: Helianthus. Availability: May - October, with limited availability during the rest of the year. Vase Life: 7-10 days. Colour Range: Pale yellow, bright yellow, orange and tawny red. Flower Meaning: Haughtiness and adoration.
Re-cut stems at an angle at least 2cm from the bottom and place in clean, fresh water with a packet of flower food.
Make sure all foliage that comes in contact with water is removed as they will soon start to rot.
Sunflowers are big drinkers, so regularly add fresh water and change it if it starts to look cloudy.
You can get a second life from your sunflower by removing fading petals and leaving the attractive brown centre.
Avoid using sunflowers in floral foam because their stems do not take up water easily.
With proper care, cut sunflowers should last between 6 and 12 days.
Expert tips, from expert florists.
Did you know?
The sunflower is the national flower of Russia and Ukraine.
The cheery bloom was worshipped by the Incas of Peru due to their resemblance to the life giving sun.
Sunflower seeds are full of calcium and other important minerals.
The tallest sunflower ever recorded was 8.23m (27ft). It was measured in Kaarst, Germany on September 4th 2012.
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