Sunflower: Houseplant of the Month for June
Radiant yellow and totally summery: the sunflower now also comes as a houseplant to shine everywhere in your home with its big flowers.
It doesn’t grow as tall as the garden variety, but it does offer those unique cheerful bright yellow flowers and the dark heart of a real sunflower with attractive dark green leaves below. Perfect company for on the kitchen worktop, the (garden) table, your desk and anywhere else in your home where you want to bring a touch of summer. Place a couple together in a container or in a group to make your home feel like a flowering field. You can add a touch of lilac or purple to visually offset all that yellow.
Buffer and feature
The upgrading of sunflowers from a stunner in the garden to an indoor feature fits within the current zeitgeist’s desire for ambition, wanting to better yourself and creating more balance between mind and body. It’s no surprise that the sunflower is the international symbol of the environmental movement and of the vegan (plant-based) lifestyle. Technology is expected to play an ever greater role in homes. A sturdy blooming archetype like the sunflower has the fresh, contemporary look that fits with this and simultaneously offers a bit of natural counterbalance.
Keep the styling of the sunflower simple to achieve the maximum surprise: transparent glass, cool white ceramics and iridescent effects here and there as a subtle reference to the ever-advancing microchips.
The sunflower (its official name is Helianthus) grows in North and South America. Native Americans planted the seeds on the north side of their fields as the ‘fourth sister’ of the familiar combination of maize, beans and pumpkins – plants that help one another to grow. Spanish sailors brought the sunflower to Europe in around 1530. The seeds grew easily and so sunflower seed became part of our food: it was eaten, roasted and turned into oil. The flower has been transformed from a garden giant into a houseplant, but has always maintained its familiar appearance.
- The sunflower was an icon for the Incas: the people revered the flower as a symbol of their sun god because the head always turns towards the sun and turns back to the east at night. This is called heliotropism.
- The symmetrical pattern in the heart makes a mathematical figure that is related to the Fibonacci series (perfect numbers) and the Golden Ratio, a formula for the most attractive visual proportions.
- The sunflower has been incredibly popular in Russia since the 18th century. It provided one of the few oils that can also be used during fasting periods according to the Russian Orthodox Church.
- The series of still-lives with sunflowers which Vincent van Gogh painted in 1887 and 1889 are amongst the world’s most famous works of art. The field of sunflowers that inspired him most was near Arles in France.
Handy to know
The houseplant does not produce pollen. This means that the sunflower keeps looking beautiful for longer and flowers for considerably longer than the outdoor variety: the flowers continue to shine for several weeks. It also has a long availability period for a flowering plant, up to the end of August. However, the houseplant does not produce seeds and once it has finished flowering that really is the end for the indoor sunflower.
- As the name suggests, the sunflower loves sunshine and can tolerate a lot of light.
- The plant needs a lot of water. The soil should always be a bit damp.
- Wilted flowers can be removed to give the new buds more space.
- A bit of plant food once a week keeps the flowering going.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 28 Maio 2019