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Flower Care Guide: Sunflowers

Woman in a yellow and white checked jumpsuit admires sunflowers

When you think about sunflowers, your mind probably conjures up a thousand images. Maybe you imagine a gorgeous sunflower field that stretches further than the human eye can see (IG pic, anyone?). Perhaps you think of a quaint farm or the Wizard of Oz. Or maybe you think back to chomping on sunflower seeds during ball games with your dad.

Wherever your mind happens to wander, we can pretty much guarantee that thinking about sunflowers brings you feelings of nostalgia, familiarity, and joy. Those cheery sunflower vibes are irresistible, after all.

So, whether you want to keep a sunflower Bouq fresh as long as possible or you want to grow these fabulous flowers yourself, we have all the information you need to care for these sunny yellow blooms properly. Let’s take a look at everything you should know about sunflowers.

The History of Sunflowers

Sunflowers aren’t just a bygone relic of Americana—they’re still in. Michael Jackson loved sunflowers so much that his family requested they be placed on his burial site when he passed away in 2009, and his daughter, Paris Jackson, got a sunflower tattoo in 2016. In 2017, Katy Perry’s controversial sunflower dress resulted in her being banned from China, and Jennifer Garner showed off her giant sunflowers in 2020.

There are no two ways around it, sunflowers are special, and if you ever get your hands on some, it’s vital you give them the attention they deserve.

After we get into how to care for sunflower bouquets and how to grow sunflowers yourself, keep reading to dive into what exactly makes sunflowers so cool, including their exquisite appearance, rich background, and deep symbolism.

How to Care for Sunflower Bouquets

With a few exceptions, taking care of a cut sunflower in your home is very similar to any other flower. If you follow the steps below, you’ll no doubt be able to give your lovely new sunflowers a full and happy life in their new home. If you follow all the instructions on how to care for sunflower bouquets, you can expect your sunflowers to last between 6-8 days.

Expose to Sunlight

If there is one thing we can tell you about sunflowers, it’s that they love, love, love sunshine. Once you receive your sunflower Bouq, it’s vital that you expose the unopened buds to sunlight. But don’t leave them in exposed sunlight for too long or they’ll end up dehydrated.

Fill a Vase

Once your sunflowers have started to bloom, it’s time to get those beauts and all their yellow glory into a vase. So grab a tall vase and clean it with hot water and soap. Then fill with warm water. But don’t put them in quite yet. There’s still a little bit of housekeeping to take care of!

Cut Stems

Next, use a sharp pair of garden shears to trim off one inch of the bottom of the sunflower’s stem at a 45-degree angle while holding it under room temperature water. This will allow your sunflower to absorb water with ease.

Get Rid of Excess Foliage

Before sticking your sunflowers in the vase, remove any leaves that would rest under the waterline. Those little guys can introduce harmful bacteria to your vase and leave your sunflower feeling under the weather. Don’t let that happen.

Time for a Swim

You heard us! Put those darlings in the vase and let them soak up all that delicious H2O.

Give Them Nutrients

If you want to give your sunflower a full life, it’s advisable to give them a much-needed nutritional boost. This means tossing the flower food that comes with your Bouq into the vase. You also might want to drop a teaspoon of bleach in there as well to fight off any pesky bacteria.

Find the Perfect Home

Okay, so you’ve got your water-filled vase adorned with stunning sunflowers. Great! But, don’t get too ahead of yourself. Now is the time to find them the optimal spot to showcase their beauty.

Of course, this means picking a place where they’ll wow your guests and add joyous vibes to your casa. But also make sure your sunflowers are away from any hot or cool drafts, fruit, and direct sunlight. Take our word for it; they’re not big fans.

Recondition Every Day

Sunflowers require a bit more attention and care than other flowers. This means you should re-trim their stems and change their water every day, rather than the typical 2-3 days. They’ll love you for it!

How to Grow Sunflowers

As long as your yard gets enough sun, sunflowers are quite easy to grow. They aren’t picky about the soil and are somewhat drought tolerant. And with varieties ranging from 1 to 16 feet tall, you can fill your garden with sunflowers of every available size and color.

Here are our top tips for growing sunflowers.

When to Plant Sunflowers

Sunlight: Sunflowers thrive in full sun

Soil: Any, as long as it isn’t too compact – sunflower roots need plenty of room to grow

Hardiness Zones: Perennial varieties typically thrive in zones 4-8; annual sunflowers can be grown just about anywhere

When to Plant: Sunflowers grow best from seeds. If you have a short growing season, you can start sunflower seeds indoors. Otherwise, sow sunflower seeds directly outdoors once the threat of frost has passed

Spacing: Plant sunflower seeds 1-2 inches deep and 6 inches apart for smaller sunflower varieties and 2-3 feet apart for giant or seed-producing flowers. You can also plant multiple seeds together, then pull out the weakest sunflower seedlings and let the strongest ones grow.

Growing Sunflowers

Fertilizing: Sunflowers only need fertilizer if you have exceptionally poor soil. In that case, you can use a slow-release granular fertilizer, but too much nitrogen can inhibit flowering.

Watering: Sunflower seedlings need to be watered daily so the soil is moist, but not soaked. Once the sunflowers become established, you can drop down to one deep watering per week that uses several gallons of water.

Staking: Sunflowers with large, heavy heads or that grow more than 3 feet tall may need to be tied to bamboo stakes with twine or cloth to prevent them from flopping or breaking.

Varieties of Sunflowers

  • Dwarf sunflowers grow to be 1-4 feet tall with flower heads 2-10 inches across.
dwarf sunflower

Dwarf Sunflower

  • Giant sunflowers feature blooms 10-14+ inches across and grow to be 9-16+ feet tall.
giant sunflower

Giant Sunflower

  • The ‘Mammoth’ sunflower variety is the classic giant sunflower and can grow more than 12 feet tall.
  • Perennial sunflowers grow 1-10 feet tall with blooms 2-5 inches across.
  • ‘Sunrich Gold’ sunflowers are ideal for bouquets, as they grow to be about 5 feet tall, produce a single 4-6 inch golden-yellow bloom, and are pollen-free, so they’re less messy.
  • Double sunflowers have a soft, fluffy, or fuzzy texture, grow 2-6 feet tall, and have blooms that are 4-8 inches across.
  • The ‘Teddy Bear’ sunflower variety is only 2-3 feet tall with fluffy, 5-inch, deep-gold blooms.
teddy bear sunflower

Teddy Bear Sunflower

  • Specialty sunflowers feature blooms that are 4-8 inches across, grow to be 4-7 feet tall, and are available in a variety of colors beyond simple yellow.
Maroon sunflower

Specialty Sunflower

  • ‘Autumn Beauty” sunflowers grow up to 7 feet tall and feature multiple 6-inch flowers in hues of bronze, yellow, and mahogany.

Sunflower Fun Facts

Sunflowers aren’t just cute looks and zero substance. Their beauty and usefulness stand on their own. We’ll prove it! Here are ten can’t-miss facts about sunflowers:

  • Sunflowers—like tomatoes, potatoes, and corn—are native to the Americas and were domesticated over 3,000 years ago.
  • Sunflowers can range from 6 inches to 12 feet tall. The tallest sunflower ever was over 30 feet tall.
  • Each sunflower is actually thousands of tiny flowers.
  • Each sunflower contains 1,000 to 2,000 seeds.
  • Sunflowers have a curved neck, and during their early life, they track the sun as it moves from east to west across the sky—a process called heliotropism.
  • Millions of sunflowers were planted to heal the soil in the aftermath of the radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
  • Not all sunflowers are yellow. Some varieties have striped petals and differently shaded buds.
  • The head of a sunflower is so tough and durable that it can be used as a natural scrubbing tool.
  • The petals of a sunflower are actually called rays, you know…like sun rays.
  • Sunflower oil is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin D, calcium, and iron. And in the past, it was used to soften leather, condition hair, heal wounds, and as cooking oil.

Sunflower Symbolism

The sunflower’s scientific name is helianthus—which comes from the Greek word “helios,” meaning sun, and “anthos,” meaning flower. As you probably already guessed, sunflowers not only resemble the sun but carry much of the same symbolism, such as warmth, power, positivity, harvest, bounty, and rebirth.

Native Americans were known to place sunflower seeds on the graves of the dead. The Incan Empire was said to worship sunflowers, and Incan priestesses wore them on their robes. In China, the sunflower is a symbol of good luck, while in Victorian times it was seen as a representation of gratitude. In Greek mythology, the sunflower is a sign of adoration.

A sunflower’s meaning can also change depending on its specific color:

  • Yellow sunflowers symbolize happiness, a long life, friendship, vitality, and intelligence.
  • Cream and white sunflowers represent innocence.
  • Orange and red sunflowers signify strength, positivity, and passion.
  • Brown sunflowers symbolize loyalty.

Keep Love Blooming With Sunflowers From The Bouqs Co.

So there you have it! Now that you know how to care for sunflower bouquets, all you have to do now is order sunflower delivery and see for yourself. See ya at The Bouqs Co., where we simplified buying flowers online so you receive farm-fresh and long-lasting bouquets.

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