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  • Writer's pictureLilla Schottner

The Multiple Benefits of Sunflowers

Updated: Feb 6

If you like to improve the look of your garden, sunflowers are a great way to do so!

They add color and vibrancy to an area, and their multiple benefits are fascinating.

-Wildlife loves them; they attract and feed pollinators and birds such as

blackbirds, sparrows, doves, and chipmunks.

-Research shows that the "sunflower family (Asteraceae) both reduces infection of a common bee parasite by 81–94% and markedly increases the production of queen bumble bees. One of the big breakthroughs in helping pollinators, and especially bees, is the discovery that certain species of flowers can help pollinators resist disease infections and that sunflowers are particularly effective at combatting a widespread pathogen that lives in a bee's gut called Crithidia bombi."

-Their deep roots help to break up compacted urban soils, which helps with soil aeration, and their leaves add organic matter to the soil as they decompose—all these help create a healthy environment for other plants to grow in.

-They are drought tolerant; this is essential in the hot Portuguese climate.

-They remediate urban soil contaminants - absorb toxic heavy metals – lead, arsenic, zinc, and uranium from the soil.

-They are excellent compost crops, adding carbon to the soil

-The sunflower seeds are also rich in Vitamin E, Manganese, Pantothenic acid, Potassium, and Copper, while they also contain significant amounts of Vitamin B6, Folate, Niacin, Zinc, Iron, and Magnesium.

-The roasted seeds of sunflowers are delicious and they are used as a coffee substitute.

How about planting more of these beauties?

Sunflowers in my Washington, D.C garden.

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