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The colorful decorative sunflower is a close relative of the well-known oilseed sunflower. Both plants belong to the same species, and both are heavily used in garden design.
Decorative sunflower, planting and care
which will be described later, represents more than 100 varieties with special features. All varieties differ both in size and color, and in the nuances of cultivation.
Description and features
The sunflower belongs to the Aster family and combines a variety of species, most of which are decorative. Plants differ from each other, but they also contain common characteristics:
- high straight stems from 0.6 to 3 m;
- tough large leaves;
- inflorescences in the form of baskets with several rows of encircling petals;
- fruits are represented by compressed achenes.
Ornamental sunflower includes both annual and perennial varieties. The differences are in the height of the plants and the color of the petals, which can have different shades:
The homeland of the plant is the South American continent. It is believed that the first sunflowers appeared in Europe after Columbus returned from Mexico. The appearance of the flower influenced the appearance of its name - helianthus, which can be translated as a sun flower. In Russia, sunflowers appeared at the beginning of the 18th century. first as a decoration for gardens, and later as an agricultural crop.
Sunflowers can be sown directly into open ground, but it is preferable to use the seedling growing method. It is advisable to purchase seeds in stores and nurseries, although you can collect it yourself, but this method does not guarantee the preservation of the original characteristics of the plant.
Sowing time directly depends on the timing of planting seedlings in open ground. For sustainable development in a permanent place, the plants should be 3-3.5 weeks old. On average, seeds are planted between late April and early May, but varietal requirements may shift this date.
The soil for growing ornamental sunflower needs loose and very light. The best option would be sandy loam soils. The land must be prepared for planting at least 24 hours in advance. The site should be dug up, dense clay soil or loam should be diluted with sand.
High indicators of decorativeness are associated with moderate moisture and nutrient content of the soil. And the presence of high acidity and salinity has a negative effect on the appearance of sunflowers.
Ornamental sunflower varieties are not particularly resistant to frost, so it is recommended to plant seedlings after warm weather has established. Plants are usually planted starting in the second half of May. With seedless cultivation in the southern regions, seeds are sown in late March or early April, and starting from middle latitudes and further north, the period shifts to the end of May.
Sowing sunflower seeds in open ground can be carried out not only in spring, but also in autumn. However, in this case, seedlings appear in spring only in warm climates with mild snowy winters.
The distance between individual seedlings depends on the sunflower variety. Low-growing plants are located no closer than 0.3 m from each other. The tall ones need even more space, and it is optimal to distance the specimens by 0.7 m. No more than 3 shoots can be placed in each hole, but a tight planting leads to a decrease in the size of the flowers.
Sunflowers do not have high maintenance requirements. The most important condition is the abundance of sunlight; plants should not be placed even in partial shade. Strong stems are not afraid of the wind, but undersized varieties are best planted in sheltered places.
Flowers need abundant regular watering. It is impossible to allow both the drying of the soil and the stagnation of moisture at the roots. Plants are watered weekly, and in the sultry heat - daily. The sunflower needs water especially strongly during the period of leaf formation, as well as during the appearance of buds and during flowering.
Loosening and weeding
The soil must be loosened after each watering, as well as after rain. This stimulates the vegetation of the plant and saturates the roots with moisture and oxygen. At the same time, weeds are removed, which takes food from the sunflower and shades the seedlings.
The decorative qualities of sunflowers are enhanced by the presence of nutrients in the soil. A month after the appearance of the first shoots, the plants can be fed with nitrogen fertilizers; during flowering, complex mineral fertilizing or phosphorus-potassium mixtures can be used.
Pests and diseases
Ornamental sunflower can be affected by insects and bacterial diseases. Dangerous infections:
- Downy mildew. Pests and high humidity stimulate the development of the disease, from which a white bloom appears at the bottom of the leaf. The diseased parts of the plant must be cut off, and the plantings must be treated with fungicides or soapy water with the addition of copper sulfate.
- Brown spotting. The disease causes the appearance of dark drying spots on the leaves in conditions of high temperature and humidity. For treatment, drugs "Vectra" or "Strobi" are used.
- Rust. The fungus forms orange pustules filled with spores; you can get rid of the disease with the help of fungicides.
Caterpillars of a sunflower moth or moth infect plant leaves. You can get rid of insects with the help of insecticides, but there is no prophylaxis against these pests, in addition to weeding.
These beetles lay eggs in the stems of the sunflower, and the larvae destroy its structure. Proper care and removal of weeds will protect plantings, and chemicals will kill insects.
The pest lays eggs in the leaf axils, and the larvae quickly penetrate into the stem. Deep digging of soil and removal of dry shoots is a good prophylaxis of the fight against the shyponoska. Plants can be treated with "Vantex", "Fufanon" or similar products.
Cutting off faded inflorescences
Sunflowers do not always bloom at the same time; for the re-emergence of baskets, it is recommended to cut off the previous ones immediately after the loss of attractiveness. This procedure will stimulate the plant to re-develop flowers. In autumn, the shoots of perennial varieties are cut off completely.
The genus sunflower includes at least 50 species of plants with decorative characteristics. The most common:
- annual or oilseed;
- tuberous or Jerusalem artichoke;
The main difference between this species is the formation of tubers in the underground part of the plant. External characteristics:
- shoot height up to 3 m;
- the stem is poorly covered with leaves;
- small baskets from 2 to 6 cm;
- petals are golden yellow.
A common decorative appearance is characterized by:
- plant height 1.5 m;
- dark green leaves;
- flowering from the second half of August to late autumn;
- simple or double inflorescences;
- petals are golden or yellow-lemon.
There are a lot of varieties of decorative sunflower, as well as hybrids. Plants vary according to size, climatic requirements and external characteristics.
All varieties, both pure and hybrids, have a delicate, pleasant smell, attract bees and are honey plants.
- used for bouquets;
- simple basket shape;
- vanilla petal color.
External data of the plant:
- shoots up to 1 m;
- double flowers about 22 cm across;
- bright yellow petals;
- long flowering.
Characteristic features of a sunflower:
- height no more than 2 m;
- long flowering;
- red-brown color of the petals.
Flowers of this variety are different:
- the center of the petals is burgundy red;
- the edge is light;
- the core is dark.
- height about 5 m;
- shoots are prone to kink in the wind;
- use as a hedge.
Procut Red Lemon Bicolor
The appearance of flowers of this variety is characterized by:
- black core;
- inside the petals are red;
- the edge of the flower turns yellow.
Features of the variety:
- height up to 1 m;
- inflorescences are simple;
- petals are lemon yellow.
Special features of these sunflowers:
- height 2 m;
- large baskets;
- simple form of inflorescences;
- petals are golden.
External differences of the variety:
- light, almost white petals;
- dark center;
- simple basket shape;
- high growth.
The foreign variety is characterized by:
- fast growth rates;
- the center is almost black;
- the middle of the petals is red-cherry;
- edges are light yellow;
- no pollen.
Features of these sunflowers:
- used in bouquets;
- the central half of the petals is burgundy;
- the edges of the flowers are yellow.
Black Magic F1
- the height of the shoots is 1.2 m;
- rich maroon color of the baskets;
- use in bouquets.
Use in garden design
In the decoration of garden plots, both single plantings of a decorative sunflower and a combination with other flowers are widely used. The plant decorates flower beds and hedges, creates a bright accent and forms a rustic interior.
When forming a joint flower bed, it is worth planting yellow sunflowers in combination with blue, purple or white flowers. Large inflorescences are in good harmony with chrysanthemums, lavender, small wildflowers, white liatrix and delphiniums.
Decorating fences, compost heaps, buildings
Low-growing sunflowers can be planted along the edge of garden paths and at the edge of hedges. High grades look good against the background of blank walls of buildings. Lush plants can hide unattractive compost heaps from view. Sunflowers also make a good backdrop for rustic garden designs.
Not too large bright baskets of sunflowers are used by florists to create original bouquets. The inflorescences create a good harmony with roses, gladioli, asters and chrysanthemums. Sunflowers keep their freshness for a long time and do not overpower other flowers.