What's in a name?
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Why do they do this, you ask?Facing the sun allows the flowers to stay warmest, making them more appealing to pollinators, like my favorite, the honey bee.
A study from professors at UC Davis and UC Berkeley found that facing the sun brings the flowers 5 times the number of pollinators. Once the flowers are mature, they stop tracking the sun and stay facing east, where they'll get morning sun.
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A few varieties of sunflowers reach over 10 feet tall, and others stay as small as 2 feet tall.
As you probably guessed, sunflowers grow best with plenty of sunshine. Just push a seed or two directly into the soil in a sunny spot and water to get them started.
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Pro tips for sunflowersPlant sunflowers in your vegetable garden to draw in pollinators, and use them to shade plants like tomatoes and peppers from hot, afternoon sun in the summer, thereby extending the growing season for those plants.
Edited to add: I follow California beekeeper/entrepreneur, Hilary Kearney, from Girl Next Door Honey on Facebook/Instagram. She mentioned in a post that some sunflower varieties do not produce pollen (an important source of food for bees) because they were bred to be less messy for florists. I recommend planting multiple varieties of sunflowers, so you'll be sure to have some good food available for bees.
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