What Is Special About The Sunflower - The National Flower Of Ukraine
The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine
I love the sunflower because it is a very special plant with amazing characters. Now, it is even more special to the whole world because the sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower.
Ukraine is the world's largest producer and exporter of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil. The sunflower has been a symbol of peace, unity and hope in the hearts of Ukrainians for a long time. Since Russia invaded the country, the sunflower has become a global symbol of resistance and solidarity.
I alway believe that all conflicts should be resolved in a peaceful way, I hope that the war will end soon and Ukrainians will get out of their darkest times in their life and continue to thrive.
As a sunflower lover, I’d like to share with you the secrets of the sunflower that explain why the sunflower is such a special and amazing plant that can thrive in harsh environments in nature.
Where do sunflowers face at night?
Most people know that the sunflower moves with the sun and always faces the sun during the day. But where do sunflowers face at night when the sun is gone? I’m curious to know that. After searching on the internet, I found my answer and much more interesting facts about the sunflower that I’d like to share with you and your curious kids if you’re a parent.
At night, the sunflower head will turn back and face east to anticipate for the sun to rise in the dawn. During the day, the sunflower will follow the sun to get as much sunlight as possible for photosynthesis in order to grow. But not all sunflowers move with the sun. Only young sunflowers track the sun and face the sun throughout the day. Shortly after blooming, sunflowers will become rigid and stop moving with the sun when they are mature. Matured sunflowers will remain facing east.
Why do sunflowers face east?
It has been a mystery for a long time why sunflowers face east until not long ago. Scientists finally found out the answers for this unique behavior of the sunflower from their research on sunflowers. They found that east-facing sunflowers are stronger, happier and more productive than those sunflowers facing other directions because the rising sun will warm them up in the cold morning and make them more attractive than other plants for their pollinators. Because in the early morning, most bees and other pollinators prefer warm flowers.
Furthermore, the warmth from the morning sun will help east-facing sunflowers release pollen about 30 minutes earlier to attract more bees and other pollinators. It may be one of the important reasons why east-facing sunflowers grow healthier and produce more and bigger sunflower seeds.
Sunflowers are special and amazing flowers for pollinators, such as honey bees, butterflies and hummingbirds who are also regular visitors to my garden and enjoy eating nectar from the flowers on my cape honeysuckle and other plants, as well as the sunflowers that I planted last summer in my garden.
How to grow bigger sunflowers?
I bought a bag of mixed sunflower seeds online. When I opened the bag, I saw these sunflower seeds look very interesting. They were quite different in sizes and shapes, some sunflower seeds were very big and fat and the others were quite small. I planted about a dozens of them and they grew pretty well.
Choosing healthy sunflower seeds to grow bigger sunflowers
The most important thing for you to grow bigger sunflowers is to choose the bigger and healthier sunflower seeds, they will grow into taller and stronger sunflowers, because the sunflower’s genetic makeup is the primary factor for the growth of a sunflower.
Secondly, in order to grow bigger sunflowers, the growing environment and time are also important. If you plant sunflower seeds in the ground directly, they will be able to grow stronger roots and get water from deep ground and absorb nutritions easier. If you plant your sunflower seeds in a container, they will be shorter and thinner like the ones that I planted in a big pot last summer, but still looked amazing.
Third, to grow bigger sunflowers, you need to plant sunflowers in a sunny spot and avoid overwater them. Sunflowers prefer a drier environment and can grow as tall as 15 to 20 feet. The world record sunflower was over 30 feet tall! Sunflowers are also adapted to wet environments too, but they won’t grow as tall as the sunflowers on dry land.
There is another thing we can do to grow bigger sunflowers even if you have planted your sunflowers in a container like I did. We can use what we have learned about why sunflowers face east, and turn the container to the right direction to help our matured sunflowers face east if they have failed to do so on their own.
The most amazing secret of sunflowers - Fibonacci sequence
I’m a sunflower lover as well as a big fan of succulents. I was very curious about this interesting spiral succulent at a botanical garden I visited. Like I mentioned in my post about finding the secrets of job descriptions, I started to search about this succulent and was pleasantly surprised about the secrets of the sunflower that I bumped into.
Another reason why the sunflower is so special and unique is the most amazing secret hiding in the sunflower’s head, the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio - the hidden mathematical rules in nature. The seeds of the sunflower form two sets of spirals, called parastichies, both start from the center of the sunflower and extend to the outer edge, one set is clockwise, and another is counter-clockwise. Count these two sets of spirals, you’ll get a pair of numbers in the Fibonacci sequence, such as 34 and 55. Looking more carefully, you’ll find the seeds packed at a golden angle that follow the golden ratio.
This is Mother Nature’s optimal design for the sunflower so that each of the hundreds or thousands of tiny florets in the sunflower head can get the most sunlight possible without interfering with each other, and to pack the seeds most densely and evenly in the sunflower’s head.
The sunflower is amazing and special plant
The sunflower has more amazing characters that make it very special, for example, its yellow color makes people feel happy and energetic and makes it a great gift for anyone you care about. This actually involves psychology which is my favorite science that I wrote about on my career blog MichelleYouBiz.com. If you’re curious about that, you can learn more from a book about color psychology.
Sunflowers are special and amazing plants that have adapted and evolved really well to thrive in tough environments nature. I believe that Ukraine is a strong country and will survive and thrive in this difficult world full of conflicts, because the sun will always rise again from the east after the darkness.
I hope that this post is helpful for you and you have learned something new and enjoy the video below. You’re welcome to follow us for more interesting garden posts and free career advice, and leave us a comment about your thoughts on this topic and share your experiences with us. The comment area is open for everyone for now and may be closed after a period of time in the future.
YouTube video - grow my sunflowers from seeds in a pot
Enjoy more reading here and have a wonderful day!
“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
- Albert Einstein
Birdwatching at home all year round on this tree about hummingbirds