This sunny flower came to Europe very far - from the steppes of North America. And the closest relative of sunflower is Jerusalem artichoke (earthen pear). The wild sunflower was significantly different from the one we all know. It is a bushy and branchy plant, up to a meter high, each plant has up to 20 baskets with a diameter of about 8 cm. The Indians ate wild sunflower seeds, used it as a medicine, and made dyes from it. The Incas worshiped the sunflower as a sacred flower.
The sunflower was domesticated over 1000 years before the birth of Christ. The plant was introduced to Europe by the Spaniards around 1500. But sunflower came to Russia during the reign of Peter the Great and became widespread around the 1860s. The second birth of sunflower took place in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. He has acquired the same look to which we are accustomed. From Russia, already renewed, the sunflower returned to Europe, then to the USA, Canada, Argentina and further around the world.
Since the 1970s, varieties from Europe and the USA have been replaced by the first sunflower hybrids, including decorative, which can now be found in the most exquisite bouquets. Its varieties are diverse in the shape and color of the inflorescences: golden, lemon, bright yellow, orange, red, burgundy and brown. In addition, scientists have developed attractive varieties of decorative sunflowers with simple, semi-double and double flowers, with an exquisite petal shape. For a small garden and small flower beds, there are even compact terry sunflowers.
Ornamental sunflowers bloom profusely and for a long time - from July to September. These are very unpretentious plants, it is not difficult to grow them. True, both food and decorative varieties love light, warmth and are afraid of frost.
Sunflowers reproduce by sowing seeds directly into the ground in spring, and perennial species by dividing the bush (in spring or autumn). For sowing sunflower, a sunny place is chosen, well-drained soil is desirable. The sowing depth of seeds is 2–2.5 cm. The distance between plants depends on their future size. For decorative purposes, small plants in group plantings are usually placed 30-50 cm apart. The distance between large and giant plants is 70 cm or more.
The use of sunflower in design
From a tall sunflower, you can successfully grow a garden wall-screen, which will protect the garden from the wind, but in this case the crops are made thicker. If you plant sunflower seeds in fertile garden soil, you don't need to fertilize the plants. Sunflowers grow well without any additional feeding.
But the decorative sunflower, which is grown only in special greenhouses, is a real long-liver. It stays fresh for up to two weeks and does not stop twisting its yellow head after the sun.
By the way, once in Russia the sunflower was considered more a flower than a food plant. And not only in Russia, but also in other European countries, for a long time, sunflowers grew in flower beds and adorned estates. But later, many already thought it strange that such a garden food crop could be planted in a flower garden.
But now the fashion has come to us to decorate flower beds with sunflowers of various colors. Imagine such yellow terry beauties under your window. At the same time, eight solar balls can bloom at once on one plant - a luxurious bouquet on a stem as tall as a person. By the way, its seeds are the same black seeds, only smaller in size.
There is a popular belief that one should always have golden flowers in the courtyard as a symbol of prosperity. It has long been believed that it is the golden flowers that attract him to the house.
"Ural gardener", No. 6, 2020