Sunflower Waooh!: Helianthus annuus
- Multi-headed easy-to-grow sunflower
- Great for large patio containers
- Sow after last frost
- Harvest: July-September
Waooh is a Dwarf variety of sunflower, ideal for patio containers or pots in small gardens growing to about 60cm tall and will attract bees and butterflies. Suitable for cutting and given the RHS Award of Garden Merit.
Sow: After the last frost. Sow 20mm deep April to mid June after last frost, direct into the flowering position. Spacing between plants around 40cm (16") or one per container. Lightly cover seeds, and keep moist. For early blooms sow indoors in April, carefully acclimatising to outside conditions before planting out mid-late May. Grow in a well manured soil in a sunny position and keep moist.
Grow: Prefers sunny very fertile soil. Keep soil moist. Water deeply and infrequently. Rarely feed.
Harvest: July to September. Cutting flowers and deadheading will encourage more blooms.
History: The story of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is indeed amazing. The wild sunflower is native to North America where the American Indian who domesticated the plant into a single headed plant with a variety of seed colours including black, white, red, and black/white striped.
Seed was ground or pounded into flour for cakesor bread, cracked and eaten for a snack. Non-food uses include purple dye for textiles, body painting and other decorations. Parts of the plant were used medicinally ranging from snakebite to other body ointments. The oil of the seed was used on the skin and hair. The dried stalk was used as a building material.
Christopher Columbus brought the plant back to Europe and it soon became widespread throughout present-day Western Europe mainly as an ornamental plant but over time some medicinal uses were developed. By 1716, an English patent was granted for squeezing oil from sunflower seed.