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Standfast Sunflower

Helianthus annuus

Grown by: Zoe Jeka & Wren Lansky in E. Calais, VT

  • $4.00

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Gigantic, beautiful flower heads with very large seeds sit atop sturdy, 5' tall stalks. This variety was selected for large seeds by Will Bonsall of the Scatterseed Project in Maine, and they are great for  snacking. 

Sunflowers originate in North America, where it's seeds and pollen have been an important food crop and plant relative for indigenous people for thousands of years. Perhaps due to prohibitions against eating butter and lard during lent in the Russian Orthodox Church, Russians and Ukrainians grew fields and fields of sunflowers by the 1800s, and began breeding it for higher oil content. Consider welcoming this Transylvanian giant back home to North American soil as a striking pollinator- and bird-friendly backdrop to your farm or garden.

Days to maturity: 70 to flower, 100 to seed

Seeds per pack: 40

Germination rate: 60% on 01/17/2022

Planting / harvesting notes

Sow seeds directly in full sun, keep soil from drying out, and thin seedlings to 18-24" apart. This species is an annual in most of North America, but may self-sow in subsequent years. Harvest the dried seed heads on the early side before they bend and topple to the ground, and allow them to complete drying under cover!

Seed keeping notes

To harvest the seeds, cut the dried, browned flower heads into a paper bag. Dislodge the seeds by breaking apart the seedheads/flowers. Use a strainer to sift out the larger chaff. Use your breath, wind, or fans to winnow off lighter weight chaff. Birds will likely start eating the seeds as they develop, so consider how much you'd like to leave for them, and how much you would like to save for yourself. Best harvested for seed during a dry spell.


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