I love the strength, grace and beauty of sunflowers. They’re one of my favorite summer flowers and a must in my garden. They stand tall, erect and they’re showy. They tower above everything else in the garden and their bright color makes an impact. There are different varieties to grace your garden and they all grow to various heights. This particular variety is the Russian Mammoth, which has grown to about 10 or 11 feet. The fence in the background is 6 foot.
Sunflowers make a statement, but did you know that every part of the sunflower can be used. It’s actually considered the cash crop because the seeds, petals, stalk, leaves and roots can be used in various ways. Here are a few:
1. Seeds – Humans eat the seeds raw, roasted or dried. They are a healthy snack and a great source of protein, Vitamins A, B, E and iron. I love the seeds raw in salads and roasted to snack on.
2. Commerical Use – Sunflower seeds are used in a variety of birdseed mixtures. I actually leave the majority of my sunflowers in the garden for the cardinals and finches to enjoy. You will find black oil sunflower seeds in my bird feeders during the winter.
3. Petals – The petals can be dried and used along with other natural items for summer or fall potpourris.
4. Leaves – The leaves of sunflowers can grow quite large and tasty. They can be used to feed livestock or seeped to make tea.
5. Stalks – The stalks of sunflowers are strong. I actually use some of my sunflowers stalks as a trellis for my cucumbers. You can cut them off at the base and allow them to dry over the winter. Next season you have a great source of poles to use as a trellis for your veggies. You can also break them in sections, dry them, and use them in fire pits or wood stoves over the winter.
6. Roots – The roots of a sunflower can grow quite deep and large. It is often used to make herbal medicine.
7. Dried Flowers – The flowers can be dried and used in floral arrangements. Quite pretty in fall arrangements or on wreaths. The best flowers for dried arrangements are those that are just opening. They will continue to open as they dry.
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