Sunflower Seeds

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Sunflower 'Giant Yellow Single'
Helianthus annuus
Sunflower

Introduced from the Americas in the 16th century. This is the largest form and may attain a height of over 3m in ideal conditions.

You can enjoy both the buds of sunflower plants and the petals of mature blooms. The greens are also edible. Sunflower sprouts are delicate, while the older leaves can be a little tough and fibrous. 

Average height: 2-3m
Aspect: Full Sun 
Soil type: Grows in most soil types
Sowing period: March-May
First signs of blossom: 6 to 8 weeks
Average flowering period: 4 months
Contents: Approximately 50 seeds

Sunflowers have been proven to be excellent plants to attract beneficial insects, including pollinators. 

Harvesting
Sunflower sprouts taste fresh and green, perfect for salads or a topping on stir fries and soups. Use the older leaves as you would other greens: boiled, steamed, sautéed. Remove the center rib before cooking, as it can be pretty tough. 

The petals of sunflowers are also edible. Pluck them individually to toss into salads. The flavor is unique, described as bittersweet or a little nutty. They make a nice contrast to other flavors in salads. When eating sunflower petals, leave them raw so you don’t lose the flavor and texture.