The sunflower is an amazing plant that means summer, warmth, inexhaustible energy, joy, and optimism. Such an optimistic and delightful gift leaves no one indifferent. There is a feeling of something magical, festive when you look at the bright yellow carpet of flowers. They are also a source of seeds, which are used for the oil or simply roasted and packed in a wrap, and also used as decorative flowers.

Although it looks like just a plant, it still has something to surprise you. Few people know that there are more than interesting facts that you will learn about sunflowers with the help of our article. We guarantee you will have even more reasons to give this flower more often after reading!

1. The Tallest Sunflower Recorded Was 30ft. 

Tallest Sunflower

    As a rule, these flowers can grow from 1.8 to 3 meters in height, depending on the variety. Giant sorts can even reach a height of 20 ft and dwarf varieties - 20-30 inches. However, there are sunflowers of abnormal sizes. The plant, over 30 feet tall, was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Germany and even entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2014! Note that his path to this achievement was thorny. In particular, its record-breaking sunflowers were damaged by bad weather and hail. Despite this fact, the plants were very resistant and continued to grow. Moreover, Hans-Peter Schiffer is an experienced gardener who has broken his own record three times: in 2009 (26 ft), 2012 (27 ft), and 2013 (28 ft). 


    2. The Unique Structure of the Flower

    Structure of the sunflower

      A sunflower is not just one flower as it might seem at first glance. In fact, it contains from 1,000 to 2,000 small flowers. Each petal of a sunflower head is called a ray flower by botanists. And the middle of the sunflower is made up of a flower disk, which is woven into fascinating pictures of many spirals. Only disc florets develop into seeds. Furthermore, these plants are very good and long-lived flowers due to their structure. If you pick a sunflower and put it in a vase, it can stand in the house for up to 12-14 days.


      3. The Unexpected Origin of the Plant

      Origin of the sunflower

        One of the facts about sunflowers is that the plants are native to North America. It is known that as early as the 3rd century BC, sunflower seeds were used as food by Indian tribes living in Mexico. This plant appeared at the beginning of the 16th century in Europe, where it was originally grown in botanical gardens as an exotic flower. Currently, cultivated sunflower species are grown all over the world! In addition to growing flowers as decorative "sun finders", Europeans tried on the sunflowers for quite practical purposes. They mastered cooking and baking their baskets on charcoal like artichokes and attempted to replace coffee beans with roasted seeds.


        4. The Plant is Used in Food

        sunflowers for food

          Although, at first glance, the idea of ​​the Europeans seemed ridiculous, they still found an excellent use for this plant. The flower seeds are rich in valuable fats, plant compounds, and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium, which help protect body cells from inflammation and free radicals. We know that its seeds can be eaten, which can also be used to make oil. But the seeds are not the only edible part of the plant. Its petals can also be used in food! They have a bitter-sweet taste and are usually added to salads or make beautiful side dishes. 


          5. The Sunflower Plants in Art

          Sunflower Art

            One of the most famous sunflower paintings is Vincent van Gogh's 'Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers'. March 30, 1987 - Van Gogh's birthday - his still life went under the hammer for a then-record price of $39.9 million! In addition, sunflowers have appeared in art by the famous French artist Paul Gauguin made more than one painting depicting this plant: 'Still Life with Hope' (1901), 'Still Life with Sunflowers on an armchair' (1901), 'Sunflowers and Mangos' (1901). Claude Monet, a famous French painter, painted Sunflowers in 1881. The meaning of sunflowers in artwork, as well as a gift, includes peace, summer, brightness, and acceptance.


            6. Sunflowers Can Fight Radiation

            Sunflowers for Radiation

              Due to natural soil deactivators, they can remove toxins such as lead, arsenic, and uranium from contaminated soil. Sunflowers have been used to clean the soil in places where have occurred some of the world's largest environmental disasters - Chernobyl, Hiroshima, and Fukushima. In the course of the experiments carried out by Japanese scientists, it turned out that the cultivation of sunflower in contaminated areas would not help in decontaminating the land. And yet, there are no alternative plants with a higher degree of radiation absorption compared to the sunflower. Also, not all plants can survive after absorbing radioactive nuclides - many of them die from poisoning. But not sunflowers - they can keep growing even after toxic substances enter the roots and stem.


              7. Sunflowers Follow the Sun

              Sunflowers follow the sun

                Such phenomenon is called heliotropism. Heliotropism is the ability of plants to take a certain position when influenced by sunlight. The explanation for this phenomenon is quite easy. The movement of the sunflower inflorescence occurs due to the uneven growth of the plant. One side of the stem grows faster than the other one, causing the inflorescence to turn. A young sunflower faces East in the morning, where the Sun is rising, and then slowly turns to the West, where it is set. At night, the sunflower slowly turns to the East to start the cycle again in the morning. But when the plant reaches maturity, its flowers are turned in one direction - to the East. 


                8. Sunflower is Not Only Yellow in Colour

                multicolor sunflowers



                  There are approximately 70 types of sunflowers and information about other different wild species. Here is a table with the most common flower varieties:






                  Velvet queen

                  Characterized by the intense raspberry colour of inflorescences with a brown core

                  It grows up to 7 feet tall

                  Red Sun

                  Has flowers of rich red colour, the core is black

                  Strong plants reach 5–8 feet tall


                  Orange flowers with a dark core

                  The tallest representative of the species grows up from 10 to 16 feet

                  Morning sun

                  Has large bright inflorescences with petals, painted red closer to the centre and yellow along the edge, the core is usually black

                  Can be up to 4 ft.

                  Ruby Eclipse

                  Has lemon-yellow inflorescences and a black core

                  Each plant will stand to a mature height of 4 to 6 feet tall.

                  Paquito Colorado

                  Has large baskets-inflorescences of juicy golden colour, closer to the middle of red-brown

                  Can reach 18-24 inches

                  9. Sunflowers Have Travelled to Space

                  Sunflowers in space

                    This is quite a fun fact about sunflowers. In 2012, American chemical engineer and NASA astronaut Don Pettit went to the International Space Station and took sunflower seeds with him to study plant development in zero gravity. From December 2011 to July 2013, astronaut Don Pettit monitored the growth of plants as part of the ISS-30 and ISS-31 missions and, in parallel, maintained the Letters to Earth blog. "Diary of a Space Zucchini" is one of the most popular rubrics. The author writes on behalf of a zucchini sprouted on the ISS. With the help of these plants, including the sunflower, it was possible to obtain the long-awaited results of the experiment - weightlessness does not affect the performance of auxin (growth hormone in plants).


                    10. Sunflower is the Best Sedative

                    Sunflower as a sedative

                      The seeds of this plant are known to have a calming effect on the nervous system. This is due to the high content of magnesium. The seeds of this microelement are 6 times more than in black bread! Magnesium is part of almost all drugs that help to avoid stress. Also, the fibre of sunflower seeds stimulates digestion, removes toxic substances, increases the absorption of nutrients, and strengthens the immune system. And as we know, the state of health especially affects our perception of stress. Therefore, it has a doubly positive effect on the mental health of any person.

                      Bottom Line

                      Each of the facts shows how special the sunflower is. Therefore, you should not avoid them when making a flower arrangement. With their durability, unusual shape, and useful properties, you will make a bouquet a truly unique gift!



                      How long do sunflowers last?

                      Sunflowers can last up to 2 weeks in a vase with proper care.

                      Do sunflowers grow back every year?

                      Not all sunflowers can grow back year after year. The annual sunflower variety will grow in the first season and produce petals that may self-germinate, but the following year will deliver no flowers.

                      How many times does a sunflower bloom?

                      The number of times a sunflower bloom depends on the variety. There are annual and perennial sunflowers.

                      Are sunflowers easy to grow?

                      Growing sunflower plants is easy because they're heat tolerant, pest resistant, and fast-growing.

                      Do sunflowers follow the Sun?

                      Yes, sunflowers follow the Sun. But after the sunflowers fade, they stop turning towards the Sun.

                      Are sunflowers edible?

                      Yes, sunflowers are edible. You can eat both the buds and greens of sunflowers and the petals of mature inflorescences.


                      Read Also: 

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                      Interesting Facts about Roses: Myths and Legends

                      September 06, 2023 — Alexandr Oleynik