The sunflower originates from North America and was first cultivated back in 3,500 BC by American-Indian tribes. In the late 16th century Spanish explorers brought the sunflower to Europe where it was widely cultivated for its oil and striking beauty, making it a popular flower for decoration in homes and gardens, which it still is today.
Sunflowers are so named because they are heliotropic, which means they slowly turn throughout the day to face the sun as it goes from East to West. In Greek mythology, this is explained by the legend that when the sun god Apollo refused to reciprocate the love of the nymph Clytia, she died of a broken heart and was transformed into a sunflower so she could continue to follow her beloved even in death.
Scientific name: Helianthus
Common name: Sunflower
Availability: May-October with limited availability during the rest of the year.
Vase life: Approx. 7-10 days.
Colour range: Pale yellow, bright yellow, orange, tawny red.
Note: Get a second life from your sunflowers by removing faded petals and foliage as these often fade before the sunflower head.
For the Home
Sunflowers look fabulous displayed in a tall vase on their own or combined with other brightly coloured flowers such as cerise roses and purple lisianthus.
Sunflowers are also an easy flower to dry out, so if you want to preserve your arrangement simply hang the flowers upside down in a cool place with good circulation for between two and four weeks.
Striking and individual in appearance, sunflowers are a wonderful way to inject some cheery sunshine into your wedding day. The smaller headed varieties will add a dash of colour to tied posies and table vases, while their taller relations would look impressive arranged with strong foliage to show off their beauty.
"Sunflowers are a favourite among many brides. They're a perfect choice for rustic weddings and have colour and charm in abundance. As they have such large and striking flower heads they can be budget-friendly too as you don't need to use very many to make a statement."
Steve Betts, Wedding Flowers Expert
The Meaning of Sunflower
Different faiths and cultures may put a different emphasis on the meaning of the sunflower but it is widely accepted that sunflowers symbolise admiration, loyalty and longevity.
Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun.
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