Sunflower 'Claret' Helianthus annuus 'Claret'
'Claret' is a robust annual with dark stems bearing single, black-centred, deep red-brown flowers to 15cm across
About this plant
Common Sunflower, Claret Sunflower, Red Sunflower, Velvet Queen Sunflower.
Color of leaves
6 feet (1.83 meters)
2 feet (0.61 meters)
- General Benefits
- Attracts pollinators – Sunflowers are great for attracting bees and other pollinating insects to your garden, which benefits the overall health of your garden ecosystem.
- Aesthetic appeal – With its deep red to burgundy petals and dark centers, 'Claret' adds striking color and visual interest to any garden space or floral arrangement.
- Easy to grow – Sunflowers are known for being easy to cultivate, requiring minimal care once established, which makes them suitable for novice gardeners.
- Drought-tolerant – Once established, they can tolerate drought, making them an ideal choice for gardens in drier climates or for water-wise gardeners.
- Edible seeds – The seeds of sunflowers can be harvested and eaten, providing a nutritious snack packed with essential fatty acids, protein, and fiber.
- Wildlife friendly – The seeds also attract a variety of birds, particularly in the fall, adding to the biodiversity of your garden.
- Soil improver – Sunflowers have deep roots which help to break up compacted soil, and they can improve soil health by accumulating nutrients.
- Privacy screen – Because of their height and dense foliage, sunflowers can be planted to create a natural privacy screen in the garden.
- Companion planting – Sunflowers can be used in companion planting strategies to benefit other plants in the garden by providing shade or serving as support for climbing plants.
- Educational plant – Sunflowers can be used as an educational tool for children, teaching them about plant growth, pollination, and the importance of insects in the garden.
- Medical Properties
This plant is not used for medical purposes.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Dye Production: The petals of the sunflower 'Claret' can be used to create a natural dye for textiles, yielding hues that range from yellow to light green.
- Companion Planting: Sunflowers can act as companion plants in the garden, often used to attract pollinators or to serve as a natural trellis for climbing plants such as beans.
- Livestock Feed: The entire sunflower plant, including leaves and stems, can be used as fodder for livestock, particularly for ruminant animals like cows and sheep.
- Crafts and Decorations: Dried sunflower heads and stems can be used in floral arrangements or as part of wreaths and other rustic crafts.
- Biodegradable Pots: Smaller sunflower stalks can be hollowed out and used as biodegradable planting pots for starting seeds.
- Soil Remediation: Sunflowers are known for their phytoremediation properties and can be planted in areas to help extract heavy metals and other pollutants from the soil.
- Wine Making: Some vintners use sunflower petals to infuse certain types of wine, giving the beverage a unique floral taste and color.
- Bird Habitat: Sunflower fields can provide habitat and food sources for birds, especially as the seeds begin to mature and attract species such as finches and chickadees.
- Insulation Material: Sunflower stalks, which have a natural fibrous and hollow structure, can be used as a natural insulation material in eco-friendly construction projects.
- Photography and Art: The striking appearance of the sunflower 'Claret' makes it a popular subject for photographers and artists looking for dramatic colors and shapes in natural subjects.
- Feng Shui
The Sunflower is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
The Sunflower is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Adoration and Longevity: The Helianthus annuus, commonly known as the Sunflower, signifies adoration due to its tendency to tilt its head towards the sun throughout the day, symbolizing deep loyalty and adoration. The 'Claret' variety, with its rich, deep red blossoms, enhances this meaning with a sense of enduring affection. Its ability to stand tall and vibrant for a long time also symbolizes a long life filled with sunny moments.
- Positivity and Strength: Sunflowers are often associated with positivity due to their bright and cheerful appearance. The 'Claret' sunflower, despite its darker hue, still conveys a sense of optimism and strength, representing the ability to withstand and rise above life's challenges.
- Seeking Truth and Enlightenment: Sunflowers are known to follow the sun in a behavior known as heliotropism. The 'Claret' sunflower, with its sun-seeking movement, symbolizes the search for truth and enlightenment, guiding individuals towards a path of intellectual and spiritual discovery.
- Fertility and Bounty: In various cultures, sunflowers are seen as symbols of fertility and abundance due to their prolific seed production. The 'Claret' variety, with its abundant and large flower head, represents the idea of a bountiful harvest and the generation of new ideas or projects.
- Friendship and Support: The sunflower's sturdy stalk supports its heavy flower head, just as a good friend offers support in times of need. The 'Claret' sunflower serves as a metaphor for standing by someone's side, suggestive of strong, supportive friendships.
The common sunflower requires regular watering, especially during its peak growing season in the summer. It's best to water deeply once a week, supplying the plant with about 1-2 gallons of water each time. Ensure that the soil is moist but not waterlogged, as the roots need time to breathe between waterings. During exceptionally hot or dry periods, the watering frequency may need to increase to prevent the soil from drying out completely.
Sunflowers, by their very name, thrive in full sunlight. The Claret variety of sunflower needs to be placed in a spot where it can receive a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of direct sunshine daily. The more sunlight these flowers receive, the better they will grow and the larger their blooms will be.
Sunflowers prefer warm conditions and are best grown in temperatures ranging from 70°F to 78°F. They can withstand minimum temperatures down to 50°F and a maximum up to around 90°F, but prolonged exposure to temperatures outside this range can be detrimental to their growth.
Pruning sunflowers is generally not necessary as they are usually grown as annuals and will only last for one season. However, if you are growing a multi-branching type, you can deadhead spent blooms to encourage further flowering. The best time for this limited pruning is once the flowers start to wilt and before they set seeds.
The common Sunflower 'Claret' thrives best in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. A mix consisting of garden soil, compost, and coarse sand or perlite can enhance drainage and fertility, crucial for robust growth and blooming.
Sunflowers, including the 'Claret' variety, are typically grown as annuals, so they do not generally require repotting. Instead, they are sown directly where they are to flower, or started in biodegradable pots that can be planted into the soil to avoid root disturbance.
- Humidity & Misting
Sunflowers such as the 'Claret' variety are adaptable and do not require specific humidity levels. They are quite tolerant of different conditions and thrive in outdoor environments where humidity levels are reflective of the local climate, without the need for adjustments.
- Suitable locations
Sunflowers, like 'Claret', need bright light and room to grow when planted indoors.
Plant 'Claret' Sunflowers in full sun, give ample space, and water deeply.
The Sunflower 'Claret' is suitable for USDA zones 2-11.
- Life cycle
The life of the common sunflower 'Claret' (Helianthus annuus 'Claret') begins with the germination of its seed, which requires warm soil and full sun. Upon germination, the seedling emerges with its initial leaves (cotyledons) and begins to establish its root system. As the plant grows, it develops a strong stem and broad, ovate leaves, entering the vegetative growth stage where it focuses on accumulating size and strength. The sunflower then transitions to the reproductive stage, characterized by the formation of a large flower head with dark red petals and a dark center disk; this stage also includes pollination, often facilitated by bees and other insects. Once pollination occurs, the plant begins to produce seeds in the flower head, marking the maturation stage. Finally, after seed maturation, the plant wilts and dies, completing its life cycle, although the seeds may fall to the ground or be harvested to produce new plants in subsequent growing seasons.
Spring to early summer
The most popular method for propagating the common sunflower, Helianthus annuus 'Claret', is by seed. This should ideally be done in the spring after the last frost when soil temperatures reach around 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 29 degrees Celsius). Sow the seeds at a depth of about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) into well-draining soil, spacing them about 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) apart to allow for proper growth. Water the seeds gently but thoroughly to ensure good soil contact and maintain moisture until germination, which typically occurs in 7 to 10 days. Sunflowers tend to have a fast growth rate and given the right conditions, they will swiftly rise and eventually flower in the late summer.