The Plant of the week is 'Hellianthus annuus' The Sunflower!

The Plant of the week for the week of June 24 is The annual Sunflower. This family of about 70 species is a great wildlife plant. Although they are not quite blooming yet I thought I would mention them early. The Hellianthus group are responsible for feeding a lot of birds and other wildlife. The Jerusalem Artichoke is Helianthus tuberosus and is eaten by man as well as Pigs and is a fast growing food source. I love to have sunflowers growing around my property as they are a lovely flower a great cut flower and a great attractant for insects and birds. Once you plant them and leave them for the birds to harvest there will be lots of seedlings shooting up next year and so you never have to plant them again. I just hoe out the ones in bad positions and keep a few that look good. I love to watch them grow I swear each day they must grow 3-4 inches taller. I like to plant the Mammoth variety as it gets to be a giant sunflower often 10 ft or so and I plant it on the top of a retaining wall above where I sit to accentuate the plant to look even bigger! Oh ya! they also give you sunflower seeds! at least the large ones do. The mini flowered types come in different colours and can be cut and displayed in a vase. They branch out into a large plant so be aware the mini part is the bloom not the plant. I hope you enjoy sunflowers as much as I do. Ken Salvail