Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
James H. Schutte
HELIANTHUS annuus 'Moonshadow'
This is one of the prettier sunflowers for cutting. The striking, small to medium-sized blooms of ‘Moonshadow’ have dark brown centers surrounded by creamy white petals with hints of yellow. As the flowers age, they turn paler in color. Plants are relatively compact and well-branched.
The sunflower is one of the most cheerful and distinctive garden flowers. Its big bold daisies track the sun, hence the common name. This warm season annual is uncommonly easy to grow and economically important for the production of sunflower seeds, cooking oil and cutflowers. It is a New World native that exists throughout the whole of North America down to Central America. Natural populations can vary widely in height but most are tall, upright with multiple side branches that extend from a sturdy central stem.
Sunflower leaves are very distinctive. They are large, medium green and heart-shaped with a rough, slightly hairy surface. Flowering typically occurs when temperatures are warm and nights short. Mature plants produce huge daisies that come in an array of sizes and harvest colors. The fresh flowers draw lots of insect pollinators, including bees and butterflies. It is important to allow the mature flowerheads to dry because the seeds within feed wild birds and mammals.
Grow sunflowers in full sun and average soil with good drainage. It is best to directly sow the seeds in the ground in the late spring. Tall plants with few side branches may require staking—sunflowers often fall when subjected to high winds and heavy rain. After flowering and setting seed, these short-lived annuals will die. If you desire continuous summer sunflowers, plant seeds every two weeks in succession from mid-spring to early summer. These outstanding annuals make superb additions to cutting garden or vegetable plots. Children also love them because they are fun to plant and grow. Sunflower heads can also be cut with their seeds intact, dried indoors and brought outside to feed wildlife in winter.
Sunflowers emit a substance from their roots and germinating seeds that inhibits the germination of other seeds around them.
12 - 1
A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
4'-5' / 1.2m - 1.5m
2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m
Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Indeterminate
North America, Mexico, Central America
Clay, Loam, Sand
Drought Tolerant, Average Water
White, Yellow, Brown
Chocolate, Ivory, Black
Cutflower, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border, Wildflower
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