BEST OF THE BUNCH - Sunflower (Helianthus)
Want to get your kids interested in gardening? These famous statuesque, bright, bold annual beauties are the perfect plant to start them off.
They have large seeds at sowing time, ideal for little fingers, and then produce stunning flowers in dazzling yellows through to burnt oranges in the summer. They can grow to more than 1.8m (6ft) tall or you can grow smaller, bushier varieties in containers to perk up your patio.
Good varieties include H. ‘Velvet Queen’, with its velvety red petals with chocolate centre, growing to around 1.5m (5ft) tall, and ‘Pastiche’, in mixed reds, yellows and buffs, its flowers appearing on multi-stemmed plants.
Sunflowers like fertile soil in a sunny spot and should be well-watered.
Leave the heads on when the flowers are past their best as they provide seed for the birds.