August 16, 2017

Sowing Sunshine

Helianthus annuus 'Mammoth Grey Stripe' - sunflower

Janine Pineo Photo | Helianthus annuus ‘Mammoth Grey Stripe’ – sunflower

Little is as rewarding as a sunflower, especially Helianthus annuus ‘Mammoth Grey Stripe.’ This heirloom can grow even in poor soil, although you will get the biggest plant and best flowers when planted in better conditions. With the possibility of reaching 12 feet in height in just a matter of weeks, this sunflower is the classic one, with petals the color of golden sun. A brown center disc attracts pollinators which leads to the formation of the “grey stripe” seeds, meaty and edible for both humans and wild animals. If you leave the seedheads alone, birds and squirrels will strip them as they mature. And in case you don’t know, sunflowers grow best in full sun. Sunflowers are native to the Americas, and there is evidence that the first domesticated sunflower in the area of the United States was found in Tennessee, dating to around 2300 B.C.