product FRESH FLOWER
Versatile and long lasting, these delightful beauties are favorites
of florists and consumers alike.
Known botanically as Helianthus annuus (hee-lee-AN-thus AN-yoo-us),
these flowers are more familiarly known as common sunflower, mirasol
and marigold of Peru.
it's greek to me.
The genus name Helianthus is derived from the Greek helios, meaning
“sun,” and anthos, meaning “flower,” reflecting these flowers’
heliotropic nature of turning toward and following the sun. The
specific epithet annuus means “annual,” referring to the plant’s
one-year life cycle.
Helianthus is a
member of the huge Asteraceae/Compositae family. Close
relatives include chrysanthemums, Gerberas, Dahlias,
Zinnias, Asters, marigolds, bachelor’s buttons and
size 'em up.
Sunflower blooms range
from about 2 inches in diameter to 10 or more inches, depending on
cultivar. Most varieties average about 6 inches across while
miniature varieties range from 2 to 4 inches. Stem lengths generally
range from 2 to 5 feet.
Sunflower blossoms are
made up of ray flowers (“petals”) that surround central disks
comprising yellow, brown, green or even deep purple flowers. Some
varieties (e.g., ‘Teddy Bear’) appear to not have any disk flowers.
Ray-flower length and quantity, and disk diameter, vary among
show your colors.
More than 60 varieties of
sunflowers are available as cut flowers. Natural hues include
yellows, from pale lemon yellow to bright golden yellow; bronzes;
browns; reddish-browns; oranges; creams/tans; and bicolors.
Stem-dyed sunflowers have grown in popularity in recent years.
now and forever.
Sunflowers are available
year-round, but production peaks from June through October. Some
varieties, especially novelties, are available only during the peak
Buy sunflowers with fully
open blooms, but make sure the centers (disk flowers) are tight or
only partially developed and not showing any pollen. Watch for
yellow, wilted, dried out or otherwise aging leaves. Leaf health is
a critical indicator of sunflower longevity—more so than bloom
quality. Finally, check stems for rot, slime or bruises.
jump on it.
Remove sunflowers from the
shipping boxes immediately upon their arrival. (They are highly
susceptible to water stress.) Next, remove any stem bindings as
well as any leaves that would be under water in storage containers.
Because sunflowers are often field grown and have “hairy” stems,
they capture debris easily, so rinse stems under tepid running
handle with care.
Recut stems with a sharp
blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately dip or place
stem ends into a hydration solution (particularly important with
sunflowers), then place them into clean, disinfected containers half
filled with warm (100 F to 110 F), properly proportioned flower-food
Research indicates that sunflowers do not benefit
nutritionally from flower food, but it should be used because the
bactericide in flower food helps control the growth of bacteria in
After processing, place sunflowers into a floral cooler at 33 F to
35 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before using
concerns about ethyl.
Some cultivars of
sunflowers are sensitive to ethylene gas, but many are not. Exposure
to ethylene can cause the ray flowers (petals) to drop, so make sure
your purchases are treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the grower
level or during transportation, and keep them away from sources of
ethylene (fruit, cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust).
change is good.
Recut stems, wash
containers and change flower-food solution every other day to
prevent bacteria buildup and keep water flowing up the stems.
time of their life.
Sunflowers typically offer
five to 14 days of vase life, depending on cultivar, environment and
care. Advise customers to recut the stems and to change the vase
solution every other day.
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