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Imagine the slender rows of powerful plants that meet the morning sun and turn their beautiful hats behind its rays. This helianthus, known to us under the name "sunflower" - the most light-loving culture. If you think that you can meet it only in the fields where the sunflower is grown on an industrial scale, then you are deeply mistaken. In decorative floriculture Helianthus does not take the last place. Thanks to the work of breeders, many hybrid varieties with an interesting coloring are derived, and unpretentious culture and its proud royal appearance attract the attention of lovers of simple, but original forms.
Decorative sunflowers are often used for making bouquets, after all, after cutting, the plant remains fresh for 2 weeks.
Growing helianthus is a pleasure. He develops practically without the help of a person, without the need for daily care. Even a single plant on the flower bed becomes the center of attention, and group compositions from different varieties of sunflowers, and in combination with other flowers, create a unique masterpiece. We offer a closer look at the decorative sunflower and its popular species, as well as learn about the peculiarities of cultivation, so that everyone could choose a plant for himself and decorate his own plot.
Its scientific name was given to the sunflower due to the shape of the inflorescence resembling the sun, and the Greek language, in which "helianthus" means two words: "sun" and "flowers". That is why it is often called the "flower of the sun".
What is a decorative sunflower?
Helianthus is the representative of the family of astroids (Compositae). All of its hybrid varieties are derived from the wild sunflower of a one-year-old plant with a height of up to 1 m with a large number of inflorescences in the form of hats-suns. The inflorescence itself is a basket with small tubular petals inside, and large linguistic petals - along the edge. At the end of flowering, the petals wither and fall, and under them mature black faceted seeds.
Sunflower seeds have very good germination: even after 3 years they are able to germinate.
Variety variety helianthus
To date, there are almost 200 types of helianthus that are used in decorative floriculture, but breeders do not stop at this, inventing new varieties of this unique plants. There are among them as dwarf specimens, not exceeding 30 cm in height, and the real giants are more than 3 m tall. the color of the hats is less varied: from the characteristic yellow color, to the unique white petals and even dark purple. What to say about terry varieties - their stuffed lush heads will be an ornament of a flower bed.
The scientists also worked on the very form of the inflorescence, producing varieties similar to dahlias, chrysanthemums or gerberas. And the very shape of the petals differs from the standard kind of sunflower - they can be round or oval, curved or twisted.
It is worth noting that most modern hybrids are absolutely sterile. They do not have pollen, respectively, an allergic reaction to a sunflower bouquet is excluded.
Depending on the shape of the plant, these species groups of the helianthus flower are distinguished:
- variegated (with a pattern on the leaves);
- Californian (with full inflorescences);
- multiflora (inflorescences in plural quantity are located along the entire stem, giving the sunflower the appearance of the pyramid).
The total height of the bush is:
- giants "growth" from, up to 3 m with large hats up to 30 cm in diameter;
- medium-height sunflowers with a height of, m;
- Dwarf varieties not exceeding 60 cm in height.
Among the most beautiful types of helianthus it is worth noting such varieties:
- Moulin Rouge with a velvet cap of burgundy color;
- sunflower giant Titan;
- dwarf Teddy Bea;
- Moonlight with lemon petals;
- san King;
- Vanilla Ice with lemon petals and a big black heart.
Where and when is it better to plant a sun flower?
The main thing that must be considered when growing helianthus - this plant is very fond of the sun and just live without it can not. If your site has the lightest and warmest place, it is simply intended for a sunflower. In addition, such a site should not be flooded with meltwater.
To admire the colorful hats to the frosts, you can plant the plant in several visits, beginning in April and ending with August.
Planting of helianthus is carried out mainly with the help of seeds, laying them in the holes for 2 pieces. The second seed is usually used as a reserve option, in the case when both grow, one plant can always be transplanted. In general, sunflower seeds have good germination. Strongly deepen the seeds do not need, it is enough and 2 cm - in the future, powerful roots themselves will firmly settle in the hole.
The distance between the holes depends on the particular variety and averages about 40 cm. If it is an erect view, which branches little, the holes can be made closer to each other. Lush, abundantly branching shrubs should be planted less often, so that they have enough room for development.
If you decide to grow helianthus seedlings (and this is possible), it is worth considering that he does not tolerate the transplant.
Dwarf varieties can be planted as pot plants, exposing containers for summer in the open air in the garden. Reproduction of helianthus perennials is carried out by dividing the bush, which is carried out for the third year after planting in early spring or autumn.
Care of the decorative sunflower
Despite its size and powerful structure (rarely what is still a garden flower has such a strong trunk, not counting shrubs), helianthus is the most unpretentious plant. Almost all the basic measures for its cultivation are carried out at the stage of planting. Choosing a suitable place for culture, care for helianthus in the future will not cause trouble, because by its nature the sunflower possesses good vitality, taking it from its ancestors. Its developed root system firmly fixes the plant in the soil, whether it be compact species or tall varieties, and is able to get food from the lower layers.
As for irrigation, Helianthus prefers moderate humidity. Fill the planting is not necessary, so that the roots do not start to rot, but in the arid hot summer will need to pour more under the bushes vodichku.
During the season it is desirable to feed the decorative sunflower twice with mineral fertilizers in order to make up for the balance of nutrients that the powerful root system of the plant has chosen from the soil. But even if this is not done, helianthus does not disappear, just can not reveal its beauty in full force.
After the sunflowers in the next season, only legumes can be planted, because they severely deplete the earth. Even after application of fertilizers, the soil can be fully restored only after a few years.
After the inflorescences fade, they need to be cut out to prolong the general flowering of the bush (the largest hats should be left to collect the seeds). In addition, pruning will help relieve the strain on the stem, and it will not bend. Tall helianthus varieties need additional support.
To approximate flowering helianthus, some summer residents use one trick: they pull out stepchildren and small buds, growing under the central one.
If everything is clear with regard to annuals (they must be planted annually), then a few words should be said about the long-term decorative sunflowers. This concerns the wintering of the flower in the open ground - when growing perennials in cold regions, they may require shelter, especially if the winter is not very snowy. In the rest, care for perennial crops is no different from breeding one-year helianthus.
As you have already seen, the sun flower is really very compliant and incredibly beautiful. Stock up on seeds and grow on your site this universal plant. Tall giants with their large hats will reliably hide your dacha from neighbors, miniature crumbs with lush heads decorate the summer veranda, and perennial sunflowers will meet you at the gate for a long time, nodding their heads in a sign greetings.