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10 Ways To Use Sunflowers In Garden Design

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The sunflower, despite the active expansion of the palette of purely decorative varieties, for many remains a plant simple and boring. Garden design does not always take advantage of the many talents of the plant, which is sunnier to find. This genuine garden optimist with a bright palette of golden colors and unusually large flower-heads is able to surprise always. After all, sunflowers cope with even the most unconventional role in a flower bed or patio.

10 ways to use sunflowers in garden design
The use of decorative sunflowers in the garden. © Kathy Diemer

Different sunflowers - different possibilities

Sunflowers only make their full appearance in the second half of summer. But such a show is worth waiting for. It is initially a rather modest plant, but no one can compete with it in the size of baskets of inflorescences and in the brightness of the palette.

Decorative varieties of these amazing plants can become the main star of any garden. But many varieties of ordinary sunflowers, giving a generous harvest of tasty seeds, are not inferior to their beauty. For example, the magnificent variety 'Sunbright', the color of the petals of which cannot be called other than sunny and dazzling. Even though the core with black seeds occupies almost the whole inflorescence area, the brightness of the color of the lingual petals in the narrow outer circles makes up for this disadvantage.

But still the favorite sunflowers are not fruiting, but decorative. The choice of available options includes varieties different in both size and structure of inflorescences, and in the degree of macerness, and even in color. The latter option, of course, is limited to sunny colors - yellow-orange-red spectrum of monochromatic and two-color variations. The sunflower varieties are by no means uniform.

The Teddy Bear, a dense-blossom German sunflower with golden-orange color and so many petals that it really looks like a plush flower, became legendary. Its yellow pompom heads can't help but make you smile. The charming transition from the red-veined center of the linguals to the dazzling yellow tips adds charm to a semi-maxillary variety of large-flowered sunflower with a massive black peduncle, the 'Ring of Fire', one of the most showy fire-flowering plants.

In addition to the compact potted varieties, there are also decorative potted sunflowers that can grow huge plants with record numbers of flowers from just a few seeds. One such variety is, for example, 'Sonja', a variety that is hard to outshine for its classic beauty of a perfectly balanced core to halo ratio. The only competition is the legendary 'Pacino' with its one and a half meter high sunflower and its very large, densely arranged leaves which give it an impeccable appearance.

10 ways to use sunflowers in garden design
Wall of sunflowers in the flower bed

Special potted sunflowers

If you are a sunflower fan, you have long appreciated the range of not only conventional, but also the so-called caddock or potted varieties. And for those who just want a new perspective on perfectly familiar plants, there are many pleasant surprises. Sunflowers in pots offer the most opportunities for use in garden decoration - and also the most decorative ways. Not only are they able to become a magnificent decoration of any resting place and a luxurious accent, but also one of the most beautiful living bouquets - for home, balcony, terrace and ... a gift.

We do not consider sunflowers as full-fledged competitors of favorite summer plants - petunias and co - yet. In many countries of the world they are sold in potted form literally on every corner, but in our country so far the only option to grow sunflowers in a pot is to do it yourself. Fortunately, the range of available seeds of decorative varieties of sunflowers is constantly expanding and they cannot be called difficult to obtain.

Unlike many much more capricious plants, potted sunflowers will not require from you complex care at all. All they need is a good site selection and regular watering. Like sunflowers in open soil, potted sunflowers remain sun-loving, draught- and weather-tolerant plants. The care of the plants is reduced to watering, maintaining a constant, at least light moisture of the soil and fertilizing during budding and flowering with a frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks.

Trimming and shaping are carried out as desired, but for tall varieties it is better to remove all side shoots, and for low ones - at least a partial stepgrassing. The most difficult thing is to prevent drought. Complete drying of the soil will lead to the fact that your sunflowers will not recover.

10 ways to use sunflowers in garden design
Potted composition with sunflowers. © floradania

5 uses for potted sunflowers:

Framing and separating a summer vacation nook. Several containers with luxurious and terry or variegated sunflowers can create a really summer atmosphere around a small corner where you like to sit with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Just put them in a row or in a corner and the atmosphere just takes on a life of its own. In a corner, surrounded by these optimists, you will be able to charge a special energy, and the rest will be fundamentally different from the terrace or a large sitting area.

Temporary screen. If you choose large varieties (they are often indicated on the package as a caddy) of decorative sunflowers, their powerful bushes can be used for protection from prying eyes. It is enough to put plants in front of a table, a lounge chair or on the side of your favorite swing - and you will immediately feel the difference. In addition, such a screen will amaze and the number of inflorescences, and its catchiness and cheerfulness.

Optimist to a meal. If you like to dine in the open air or on the terrace, add at least one pot of sunflowers to the table setting. Not only will it fit perfectly in compositions with different kitchen utensils and dishes, but it will add a whole new, joyful atmosphere to meals. The sunny yellow color of sunflower inflorescences stimulates imagination and appetite, chases away boredom, cheers up and gets rid of stress and sadness, and the rich color of the leaves will balance this effect. Contemplating such an unexpected bouquet on the table is sure to add a twist to meals.

New heights for the potted garden. If your collection of potted plants on your patio or balcony lacks some zest or doesn't feel like the different plants create a unified composition and resonate with each other, feel free to introduce a couple of sunflower containers into the collection of pots and pots as well. They are a contrast to any other plant and will get rid of boredom, even if the foliage or color concept of the other crops is the same.

In addition, the large size of the inflorescences and leaves will help to structure the composition better than any other means. Sunflowers both literally and figuratively qualitatively change any potted garden.

Color salvation. Sunflowers are some of the brightest color accents you can add anywhere in a potted form. If you lack brightness of colors or some corner of the garden seems boring, just put a pot of sunflowers there. It will put playful, cheerful, saturated and lively accents wherever you want. Put it in the middle of clumps of perennials in the flower bed, on the stairs, in front of the gate or at the front door. This is the easiest way to make the garden bright and cheerful without extra money.

10 ways to use sunflowers in garden design
The use of sunflowers in a vase for garden design. © Pamela

The classic option is sunflowers in open soil

Decorative sunflowers are the classic annuals that are still more often grown directly in the ground today. Many gardeners do not even bother with seedlings, sowing them simply wherever they wish to get a cheerful picture with sunny baskets. Planting in the open ground is not difficult, but it allows you to create powerful accents of color and optimism in your garden design. However, it is worth remembering that when planting in the ground, sunflowers are better placed in a group: one plant in the wild will not cope with the "work" that it can do in a pot.

10 ways to use sunflowers in garden design
Columnar garden with sunflowers. © Jamie McIntosh

5 best ways to use sunflowers to beautify the garden when planted in soil:

Sunflower hedge. With a variation of varieties from low to tall giants with shoots of several meters, you can create stunning hedges - both separating areas one from another, blocking a fence or building, and creating an effective camouflage. A row of tall sunflowers in the back and the crumbs in the foreground, masking all the shortcomings of the "bottoms", look stunning in any setting.

Sunny flowering from July until frost. By just stretching your sunflower planting a few steps, dividing the seeds by a couple or three weeks, you can stretch their blooming to an amazing time frame. If you dream of continuous flowering with minimal means - sunflowers will help you do that.

Sunshine on the lawn. If you do not have the space to experiment with summer plants, allocate for sunflowers a separate flower-island in the lawn. Different varieties in height, color, shape of inflorescences will create a stunningly beautiful accent. On a bright green carpet, the sunny company will look simply stunning. And you won't get such a contrast of textures and such a revelation of the plant's character anywhere else.

Accent in the vegetable garden. Whether your beds are decorative or classic, there is simply no more spectacular means of making them irresistible than placing decorative sunflowers. A strict row with curious heads as a divider-fence or a few plants in the center as a tall peak - it's up to you to choose. To keep sunflowers from harming the inhabitants of the bed, they can also be placed between beds as "medallions." Living bouquets in the middle of salads and vegetables will forever change the way you think about the possibilities of the vegetable garden.

Back to vertical boredom. The best means to diversify the vertical structure of the garden is rightly called vines, and the best fast means has long been recognized crops of annual climbers. But not at all worse than sunflowers will cope with the task. Tall and even giant varieties planted as a group can replace even a shrub in terms of massiveness. If some decorative composition in your garden seems boring, flat, uninteresting - plant there 3-5 sunflowers and your garden will be transformed.