The Sunflower Project
The tale of the sunflower is an interesting one with twists and turns.
Native to North America, the wild sunflower was commercialised in Russia and only fairly recently returned to North America to become a cultivated crop. However, the domestication of the plant into a single flower headed plant in a variety of colours, was thanks to the American Indian.
The American Indian tribes had many uses for sunflowers – creating flower for cakes; combining it with beans, squash and corn; squeezing the oil out of the seed to make bread; textile dyeing; body paint, etc.
The cultivation of the sunflower increased in the 18th century. This was mostly credited to Peter the Great. The manufacture of sunflower oil on a commercial scale and the non prohibition of sunflower oil by the Russian Orthodox Church led to its gain in popularity.
By the late 19th century, Russian sunflower seed found it’s way back to the US, advertising the “Mammoth Russian” in seed catalogues. From there, sunflower breeding followed in Canada.
If you want to read more about the history of the sunflower, head on over to The Bee Effect’s blog “Sunflowers for Honey Bees“.
Sunflowers for Honey Bees
We know bees need food to survive. They get their food from flowers in the form of pollen and nectar and both are important for their health and survival. Sunflowers are not the richest in either of these categories, but they do provide bees with a medium nutritional level of pollen as well as nectar.
Interestingly, inbreeding as well as a shortage of rain can cause nectar levels to be low.
Sun ● flow ● er — even in the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight.
GIANT Sunflower Kits
You might have seen giant pumpkin growing kits before, but now there’s a new kid on the block!
We have secured seed of one of the few giant sunflower varieties available worldwide and created a growing kit with all the essentials included to grow your own giant sunflower.
Complete with a fun instruction guide and everything you need to grow your own GIANT sunflower, our growing kits make the perfect gift and will instil a sense of wonder in anyone who watches it grow!
We have a range of sunflower seeds available to choose from. Click below for more information.