Sunflowers Info

General Info

Domesticated for food production over 3000 years ago, the Kansas state flower derives its name from its oversized flowerhead, which looks like the sun. Brought to Europe in the 16th century by early European explorers, the sunflower quickly became a much-used ingredient in cooking. Today, it is an important crop with leaves being used as cattle feed, fibrous stems being used for paper production and sunflower oil, which is extracted from the sunflower seeds, also used in biodiesel. Young sunflowers demonstrate heliotropism (phototropism) or sun tracking, and change orientation during the day to follow the sun’s course from east to west. When the sunflower matures and stems and leaves stop growing, it stops exhibiting phototropism and remains in place. Many consider their meaning to be one of “adoration.” In 1903, the wild native sunflower, also known as the common sunflower, became the official state flower of Kansas. In their legislation, lawmakers praised the sunflower as a symbol of the state’s “frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies” as well as the state’s present and future.

Care and Handling

  • Prune at an angle, under water about 1 inch off the stems. Cutting the stems opens up the flower’s pores, allowing them to drink water better, while the angle makes it easier to absorb the water.
  • Mix one packet of floral food and room temperature water together in a vase.
  • Remove any foliage off the stems that will drop into the water. Foliage in the water can muddy it up, as well as suck up too much water, leaving none for the blossoms.
  • Re-cut stems, change water and add second packet of flower food on day 3 or when the water has turned yellow and cloudy. Bacteria has grown in the water if it has changed colors. This bacteria will cause the flowers to wilt faster.
  • Your flowers should always be kept away from direct sunlight, heat and drafts. They will live longer if they are in a room set at a cooler temperature.
  • Remove exhausted flower heads and leaves to keep bouquet looking fresh longer.

Average Lifespan

  • The average vase life of sunflowers lasts anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks.

Seasonal Availability


Quick Guide

Symbolism: Adoration, Longevity
Native Origin: North America
Blooming Season: Summer, Fall
Average Life: 1 to 2 Weeks