08 July 2007

Seeing Sunspots

Miniature sunflowers are a great summer flower for the small garden beds found here. A variety called Sunspot was the first dwarf sunflower variety I tried a few years ago. It did great and I always come back to it. The plants are about 4 feet tall (1.2 m) and produce a single flower, but the flowers are fairly large. The stalks do not flop over. It is also fast growing. Slugs like to chow down on the leaves.

I tried 'Pacifico" and a green variety, and both did not do well. The Pacifico was interesteing because the catalog promised multiple blooms in a drawf plant. Well, the plant did produce multiple blooms, but they were not appropriate for cutting which is what I had in mind. Pacifico grew one main stalk like a normal sunflower, then shot out 'mini' stems about 1 or 2 inches long (25 to 50 cm) from the main stalk with mini flowers on them. Some of the flowers were oval shaped, looking like they were malformed.

The green variety had trouble with small anemic looking leaves that attracted a lot of mites during the hot summer months. They also needed help standing up after heavy summer rains. After doing some research, I find that there are no good varieties of green sunflowers, yet...