Lemon Queen Sunflower Seeds - (Helianthus annuus)
- Seed Count:
- Approx 50 seeds per pack
- Days to Germination:
- 10-14 days @ 70-85F
- Plant Spacing:
- Light Preference:
- Full sun
- Soil Requirements:
- Well-drained soil
- Heirloom, Non-Hybrid, Non-GMO seeds
Lemon Queen Sunflower - Garden Royalty
The Lemon Queen Sunflower is a very prolific, popular sunflower with unique lemon-yellow pointed petals having chocolate brown centers up to 4-5" across.
Sought after for their bright creamy lemony yellow flowers and their ability to attract pollinators by the droves. We have seen honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, and several kinds of butterflies visiting throughout the day. Plants are multi-branch have multiple flowers grown along the main stalk - and grow up to 6 ft. tall. Plant with taller or shorter sunflowers with darker blooms for dramatic contrast.
The wild sunflower is native to North America but commercialization of the plant took place in Russia. It was only recently that the sunflower plant returned to North America to become a cultivated crop. Sunflower was a common crop among American Indian tribes throughout North America. Evidence suggests that the plant was cultivated by Indians in present-day Arizona and New Mexico about 3000 BC. Some archaeologists suggest that sunflower may have been domesticated before corn.
These are very popular as cut flowers, sold at many farmers markets in fresh bouquets. The seeds produced are small and black; local small birds love snacking on them as soon as the seeds are ready. If you are planning to save seed, keep an eye out!
The large, composite flowers are magnets for bees of all kinds, especially bumblebees, as well as attracting a myriad of pollinators into the garden, from different bees to butterflies and even hummingbirds.
Once the seeds mature, they bring in tiny finches and myriad other birds who delight in pulling the seeds out of the head and feeding on them one by one.
Sunflowers have one of the most aggressive root systems known, drilling down through hardpan or clay. We’ve used them as the first stage in cover cropping a new area, opening up the soil making it easier for the next cover crop mixture. They also work great to pulverize a hard spot in the raised beds or flower bed, making it perfect for next season.
Their roots have one of the most aggressive allelopathic effects on seed germination we’ve seen. The allelopathic effect inhibits other seeds from germinating in the same soil, and is one of the reasons when weeds pop up first – everything else has a hard time growing. Sunflowers are used to put the hurt on weed seeds.
Sunflowers make an excellent windbreak in our southwestern climate, we plant them on the south and west sides of the garden to slow down and filter the near-constant winds to something our tomatoes, peppers, and corn can handle.
The taller varieties provide shade for vegetables that appreciate some afternoon shade like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. We transplant the vegetables after the sunflowers are about 1 - 2 feet tall to avoid the seed germination inhibition.
Sunflowers make good companion plants for cucumbers and melons – planted after the melons and cukes have sprouted to avoid the allelopathic effect. They provide shade, wind protection, and shelter for the vegetables.
Sunflowers make an excellent trap crop, attracting sucking insects like the stink bug and leaf-footed bug away from tomatoes and peppers. Learn more about what trap crops are and how to use them in our trap cropping article.
Plant in clusters so that they will support each other in high wind areas, or provide staking if planting individually.
Lemon Queen is one the sunflower varieties being grown for a multi-year bee count project to gather information about native bee populations. More than 100,000 citizen-scientists across the U.S. and Canada are participating in the research by counting the number of bees that visit their Lemon Queen plants. Sign up, see and learn more at The Great Sunflower Project.
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