Many a first foray into gardening — whether in childhood or much later in life — has involved sunflowers. Sunflowers top our short-list because they germinate in under two weeks, require only a few months before they’re ready to harvest, and consistently produce cheery blooms enjoyed by all.
Sunflowers come in a variety of forms, and varieties, but for our purposes we’ll focus on the one type known to excel as cut flowers — single-stemmed sunflowers.
Scoring first-place for quality and reliability, single stem Sunflowers are a one-cut deal — producing one sturdy, high-quality stem per seed or plant. In addition to their easygoing ways and high-quality blossoms, single-stemmed varieties offer quick, dependable production time (relatively few days to maturity). They are also easy and quick to harvest — cut the single stem at your desired length and strip a few leaves — no need to bend over or reach up to hunt for stems.
Single-stem varieties are available in a number of shapes and colors. The classic, golden yellow with dark centers are popular for bright or earthy high-summer and autumn bouquets, whereas those with green centers or lemon-colored petals are useful for fresh-looking spring and early-summer bouquets. The California sunflowers are a favorite of mine for their unmatched, size and wide range of colors, and graceful booms.