Flowers & Blooms

How to Use Sunflowers

Sunflowers are some of the most famous and popular plants. They grow in the wild, they are used in the food industry and there are also some people who like to grow them in their gardens and homes.

If you like sunflowers you will be happy to learn about so many different uses for this plant. Perhaps this will make you decide to grow them in your garden.

Here are some of the most popular uses of sunflowers.

In the Home

  • Ornamental plants. Many people choose to grow sunflowers in their homes as ornamental plants. They can provide warmth to your home and they make unique ornamental plants you can keep.
  • Cut flowers. As cut flowers, sunflowers are rich, beautiful and large enough so they will sure stand out. You can make different arrangements with them and you can use them for many different occasions.

Food

  • Oil. Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds and it’s used for cooking or as a carrier oil. It’s also used to produce margarine and biodiesel. It’s also cheaper than olive oil.
  • Sunflower butter. It can be used as a good alternative to peanut butter. Very tasty and it can be eaten in many different ways.
  • Snacks. The sprouted sunflower seeds, when roasted, can be used as healthy snacks. Or you can eat them raw in salads and sandwiches.
  • Tea. It’s possible to boil the seeds and use them as tea. This tea is effective when it comes to relieving coughs and inflammation of the kidneys.
  • Salads. You can use the raw buds in salads. Or you can steam them and use them as an alternative to globe artichokes.
  • Chicken food. You can use sunflower seeds as chicken food. There are indicators showing that chickens increase the egg laying when they consume the whole sunflower seeds.
  • Natural bird feeder. Sunflower seeds left on the dying plant will make a natural bird feeder for the wild birds.

Industries

  • Rope making. You can use fibrous pith to make ropes. Sunflowers have been used in China for centuries to make coarse and delicate silk ropes.
  • Paper making. The fibrous pith can also be used to make paper.
  • Skin cream. Pressed sunflower seeds can be used to make very effective, natural skin creams.
  • Dyes. Sunflowers can be boiled to produce dyes.
  • Latex industry. Sunflowers can be used to make latex.

Sunflower

Other uses

  • Deterring rising damp. When planted against a wall, sunflowers will do a good job to deter rising damp. They will also help drain the ground.
  • Reclamation of marshlands. Maybe you don’t know, but sunflowers are sometimes used for reclamation of marshlands because their capacity for water absorbing is very good. They are especially used for this purpose in the Netherlands.
  • Alternative to potash. You can use sunflowers as a good alternative to potash in the garden. It’s necessary to burn them and use the ashes in the garden.

Also, while not really a use in the strict sense, it’s interesting to note that the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine.

Photo credit: MTSOfan via photopin cc