Sunflower meaning

Sunflower meaning

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Solarity and joy

The first and most obvious meaning of the sunflower is connected to the obvious physical characteristics of the flower, to its resemblance to the sun that shines. Sunflower is the flower of solar being, of joy and vivacity. We think of its colors: the golden yellow that fades into the orange of its petals, the dark orange or brown of the central part, the green of its broad leaves and the bust. There is no doubt that if someone gives you a sunflower it definitely wants to emphasize your joyful and cheerful character and the smile with which you face life.
Moreover, as we well know, the sunflower due to the phenomenon known as heliotropism, turns its head (the inflorescence) towards the sun following it throughout the day from east to west. This particular aspect can be translated into the desire to spend a certain period of time together with a loved one (or a dear friend), a whole day or even a lifetime. As the sunflower follows the sun in its daily movement, so whoever gives the flower wants to follow, stay together with the loved one for an important time of their existence.
Sunflower can also express a deep sense of admiration, respect and gratitude. This certainly applies to people but also to Nature itself. For some time the sunflower has been taken over by associations and ecological movements as a symbol of promoting respect for nature and the environment. Already Vincent Van Gogh, the great Dutch painter who painted sunflowers in many of his famous paintings, wanted to convey not only his ideal of love between lovers through the image of sunflower (exploding vitality), but also love and admiration he felt towards Nature itself.

Passionate and sometimes unrequited love

Well before the pre-Columbian civilizations that celebrated the Sun God adorning their temples with sunflowers, Greek mythology, through the metamorphoses of Ovid, tells us the story of the nymph Clizia, the god Apollo and the sunflower. Apollo, according to myth, as the god of the sun crossed the sky with his fiery chariot while the nymph-in-love Clizia followed him incessantly with his gaze. So it was that Apollo, not interested in the love of the beautiful nymph Clizia, transformed it into a sunflower after nine days. Therefore, on the one hand the sunflower can mean a profound attachment to another person, as a symbol of constancy, dedication and absolute loyalty. On the other hand, it can also underline an unrequited love (following precisely the history of the Greek myth) and, according to the circumstance, it can also symbolize a fixation or a real obsession.

Celebrate a success

We all observed the fields where sunflowers are grown at least once. We admired their height, which normally exceeds one meter and even touches two meters, the elegant, proud and even a little superb way in which the plant stands upright at its peak in the middle of the day. This is why the sunflower can easily be given on several occasions in which you want to celebrate a success, a victory, an important goal achieved (a degree, a promotion, a victory in a sports competition). Careful though to choose the recipient well! If you donate a sunflower to your head that, notoriously, sins of pride and pride, these could read in your gesture a wish to underline just these little flaws.

The flower of the sunflower

We have seen some of the most curious meanings and implications that this flower can have but as we have pointed out, much of the symbolism of this flower is due to its very botanical characteristics. The color in the first place is an aspect that strikes and that immediately radiates joy and radiance in those who look at this flower.
It is no coincidence therefore that many painters have chosen sunflower as a symbolic flower for many paintings. One above all, also known to those who don't know much about painting, it is surely Van Gogh who painted some of the most beautiful sunflowers in history.
The heliotropism of this flower is another highly valued and very symbolic aspect of this flower, which follows the sun throughout the day. These are all special and particular aspects of this flower, but from a morphological point of view, the flower of the sunflower, how is it done? First of all in the sunflower, what we usually consider as a single flower is actually an inflorescence (also called flower head) or a set of flowers. The sunflower in fact has the floral structure of the Asteraceae, a genus of plants known because of the presence of a peduncle to which the bracts are attached on which are inserted the flowers of the disk and the flowers of the petals.

The sunflower as a carrier of light

As we understand the presence of a sunflower in a room can make you feel good on its own. So why not give a sunflower to someone who is in a state of suffering, sickness, or just loneliness? Bringing the "flower that follows the light" can liven up an environment but certainly also the people who live there. We think of lonely people and the elderly in particular.
Moreover, in eastern cultures the sunflower often assumes the meaning of longevity and even immortality, probably because, compared to other flowers, once cut sunflower is preserved for many days before it dries up. We therefore offer this flower wishing the recipient a long and peaceful life.
Still following this sunflower symbolism as a light bearer, we can finally associate this flower with the birth of a new life. Giving a sunflower to a couple of new parents can surely be a good omen so that there is always light in the life of the child and he, through his love for his parents, is always a source of joy and pride for the latter.

How to grow sunflower

The sunflower is an extremely cheerful flower and of very simple cultivation. It can be taken into consideration by anyone who wants to give solarity to the garden or even just to their own balcony. On the market you can find a large number of varieties, of different sizes and colors, suitable for all locations. We can use them in pots, in borders, create rows in the garden or use them for colorful annual hedges, alone or combined with other essences. It is also, for the ease of germination, one of the most suitable flowers for introducing children to gardening.

Family and gender
Compositae, Helianthus annuus
Type of plant Annual herbaceous
colors Yellow, orange, bronze, brown, red
Exposure Sun / partial shade
Rusticitа Not rustic
Ground Rich, possibly clayey
Culture Simple
irrigations Popular
Composting Bottom with manure; then granular and liquid for flowers
Soil humidity Always fresh
Height From 50 cm to 3 m
Propagation Sowing

Sowing sunflower

It can be performed in the ground, in pots or in alveolar trays (which allow the subsequent transplantation at home). This last solution is to be preferred if we want to anticipate its birth. You can proceed in any case between March and April: we choose containers that are already rather large because the development will be fast immediately. The ideal seeding depth is about 1 cm. For a quick germination, in addition to giving a lot of light, we maintain high humidity and constant temperatures around 20 ° C.
The transplant can be carried out from May: the sunflower bears this passage well because it has a branched but rather superficial root system.

Sunflower soil

They are less demanding plants and grow well almost everywhere. The best results are obtained, however, in soils rich in organic matter and provided with a good quantity of clay, able to remain fresh for a long time. The ideal is to always work the area well in advance (even the previous autumn) by incorporating organic soil improver.


For a vigorous growth, a very sunny exposure is necessary. In the Center-South, however, it grows well even in slight shade.
At the time of planting we always keep in mind the path of the sun: let's try to avoid that the flowers look on the wrong side for most of the day!


Sunflowers are extremely water-hungry plants: at all stages of their growth, irrigation must be abundant. In summer, even in the open ground, daily work may be necessary. We pay particular attention to the foot of the plant, very easy to rot: we distribute the water always at a certain distance.


It definitely needs plenty of food. In addition to basic fertilization, it is important, at the time of planting, to add a slow release granular fertilizer in which phosphorus and potassium are prevalent. A further aid can derive from the administration of a liquid product for flowering plants: it can be distributed every 10 days or, extremely diluted, in all irrigations.

Meaning of sunflower: Pot cultivation

Pot cultivation is not at all difficult. The ideal is to choose dwarf varieties, which do not exceed 50 cm in height. Many different types can be found: with multicolored, large or small, single, double or full corolla corollas. However, we always choose large containers: the sunflower in fact requires a large amount of land. We will also be a little less frequent in irrigation. A good substrate can be obtained by mixing soil for flowering plants with field soil. Some handful of manure will also be a valid help.
The biggest effort will be watering, which will have to be very frequent.
Other care
Large sunflowers may require the use of supports, especially if we live in a windy area or where there are violent storms.
Pests and diseases
Sunflowers are quite resistant to disease. They only fear the rot of the collar, to be prevented by irrigating at a certain distance.
Newborn plants can be easy prey for snails and slugs: let's protect them with special products, preparing ash barriers or beer-based traps.
Care of cut flowers
These annuals are perfect as cut flowers: they last really long (even more than 3 weeks) and are able to bring a great joy to the environments. Cut them when they are still in bud and let them open in a vase, changing the water often and adding a few drops of ammonia.
Seed harvesting
Sunflower seeds are a real treasure. When autumn arrives the flowers will begin to dry and the seeds will ripen in the center. Let's keep some of them for sowing next year. We can also use them as food for the birds during the winter or to flavor baked goods.
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Sowing March-April (inside), May (abode)
Transplant May
Flowering June to October
Composting May-August
Seed harvesting October