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Sunflowers

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Sunflower Plant      

The large, cheerful heads of sunflowers are associated with goodwill, friendship, and happiness. Beautiful in small groupings in a garden, planted over large plots of land, or growing wild, these flowers native to the Americas give every person who sees them a reason to smile.

Sunflowers, as their name implies, require full sun to grow. They prefer soil that drains well and plenty of mulch. As some varieties of sunflowers can grow up to 12 feet tall, plant sunflowers away from windows, in the rear of garden beds, and wide open spaces. When preparing to place sunflowers in relation to other garden flowers, be wary of competition in the garden, as sunflowers may leave smaller plants in the shade. Dwarf sunflowers may b preferred by growers who do not have the space for the taller varieties.

Sunflower seeds (in actuality, the fruit of the plant), can be eaten, but if you've planted your sunflowers as a part of a kitchen garden, watch out! Birds and animals love sunflowers' tasty seeds as well and may get to them before you do. Either cover the sunflower head with cheesecloth while you wait for the seeds to ripen, or cut the sunflower heads and hang in a cool, dark place until dry (place a pan underneath the flower to catch falling seeds or place a paper bag with holes over the flower head and secure with twine).

Sunflower seeds have the added benefit of being quite rich in Omega 6 fatty acids. As a matter of fact, sunflower seeds have more Omega-6s than other seeds like flax / linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and pine nuts. So eat up!

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