Asteraceae (family name)
Forage for Pollinators: Nectar and Pollen is produced and foraged by Honeybees, Bumblebees both long and short-tongued, Solitary bees and flies. The pollen is especially sought after in autumn when there are few sources of pollen available. Sunflowers are rarely self-pollinated and most need pollen transferred to them from other sunflowers. Seed yield of sunflower crops is significantly increased by taking honeybee colonies to them. There are also extrafloral nectaries in bracts and upper leaves.This can be a major source of nectar and pollen in warmer climates than the UK, such as France, yielding 30-100 pounds of honey per acre, and 200-250 pounds of pollen.
Flowering time: July, August, September.
Growing information: ANNUAL growing to 3 m (9ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in). Open pollinated variety ‘Giant Yellow’ is an old, tall cultivar. Sow a couple of seeds into pots and plant out when roots start to appear through the base of the pot, and by this time they should be large enough to outgrow any slug attacks, planting out about 18 inches apart. If you want really tall ones, find a sun trap in your garden such as a south-facing wall and be vigilent with those slugs (you will find them at night by torch-light)!
If we leave the sunflower heads after flowering, we leave a nice treat for wild birds in autumn.