Spotlight On: The Sunflower

With the arrival of summer, we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about the sunflower. Not only are they fantastic summer flowers, they also hold a special meaning. According to Native American tradition, sunflowers symbolise happiness, adoration, loyalty, longevity, and good luck.

Origins and History

Sunflowers are an ancient crop originating from North America in 1,000 BC. These flowers are recognised for their delightful petals, also known as ‘rays’, portraying the image of the sun itself.

Sunflower seeds were an important food crop to Native Americans, as they would grind the seeds into meals – for making bread or eaten as porridge. They would squeeze the seeds for the oil, which they would then use on their hair and skin, or use the hulls of the seed to create dye for clothing and war paint.

Sunflowers at sunset

Greek Mythology

Legend has it, in Greek mythology, a maiden fell in love with Apollo. She would stand in her garden and stare at Apollo as he passed in his “fiery sun chariot”, but Apollo did not like people on Earth looking at him, and he grew tired of the girl.

One day, he decided to throw an arrow at her, turning her into a sunflower, but even now she faces East as the sun rises and West as it descends, still following Apollo’s path.

Types of Sunflower

There are two different types of sunflowers; Single-headed and branching. Single-headed is usually larger varieties and produces an edible seed head. They are the result of cultivation and breeding over the centuries to produce a large seed for food and oil.

The branching varieties tend to be on the shorter side, but they can have up to 20 flowers per stalk. The branching types are more closely related to the wild types we see today in fields, on roadsides, and in native prairies.

Planting and Care

Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers you can grow from a seed. Plant the seeds in moist well-drained soil, 1 inch deep and 1.5 inches apart from one another. With adequate sun and moisture, they are fast growers, with seedlings emerging in a week to a week and a half.

Group of green sprouts growing out from soil

To Consider

As sunflowers grow very fast, if the conditions are right, they can grow between 8-12ft tall in six months.

Sunflowers develop best in summer, according to the amount of sun they get per day. Typically, you will find this flower in yellow, but some other varieties can be found in orange and red. Sunflowers are great choices for weddings as they fill a room with sunny charm and happiness, but they are also a perfect choice for bridal bouquets as it symbolises good luck.

Here at Jungle World, we have an array of corporate flowers indoor and outdoor, to suit your business environment all year round, including in summer, such as the tulip. Get in touch with a friendly member of our team who will be more than happy to provide you with more information on what we offer.