The sunflowers are planted and starting to grow. Warm weather, timely rains, and plenty of sunshine will ensure a bountiful crop of bright yellow blooms. Check back for updates as the field grows this summer. Also follow us on facebook to find out when the field will be open for photos and picking.
The idea that sunflowers always track the sun is a little bit of an exaggeration. It’s only the young the flower heads that track the sun before they fully bloom. Once the sunflower reaches maturity it then fixes into a single position and faces east permanently rather than following the sun across the sky.
Native Americans grew and selected sunflower varieties for flour, food, and oil. The Spanish brought this new-world plant to Europe in the 1500s and by the 1700s and 1800s the Russians were growing them in large quantities. It eventually made its way back to North America in the form of Russian varieties that we still grow today, such as ‘Mammoth Russian’. Canadian and American farmers now grow sunflowers primarily for oil production, but plant hybridizers also started creating attractive varieties for the garden as well.
Butterflies, beneficial insects, hummingbirds and birds flock to sunflower heads for food, pollen and nectar. Mexican sunflowers are particularly good at attracting Monarch butterflies as they migrate through the country. Butterflies and insects enjoy the flower pollen and nectar while birds feast on the seeds.