Much to my husband's amusement, I started saying 'Feed Me Seymour' everytime I checked the sunflowers for growth over the past week. So I grabbed a punnet out, and showed him. After seeing them, he understood. Some of them are angled, so with the seed still attached, they seriously do remind me of Audrey 11 from 'Little Shop of Horrors. How quickly their roots are forming, is probably not helping matters. These babies will have to go into the garden very very soon I imagine. I know that once they flower, they will be far from scary. Or will they?
While at the hairdressers this morning, I was flicking through a gardening book and there was an article on sunflowers. It was enlightening to say the least. Up until now, I have always seen them as these almost magestical giants that attract bees into the garden.
If you weren't already aware, sunflowers were used to as part of the clean up with Chernobyl. They can help extract metal compounds from deep in the soil and transport them into the stem, leaves, and flower heads. Not all sunflowers are effective as others, and not all metals are extracted. They are particularly good with nickle, lead, zinc and cadmium. This process is called phytoremediation. Hyperaccumulating plants such as sunflowers are ofter used to clean up the environment, and are disposed of accordingly afterwards. Interestingly, while they seem to have many benefits, they can also supress the growth of other plants by secreting biochemicals that inhibit the growth of nearby seddlings.
I am now thinking back to when I have planted sunflowers in the past, and whether or not they have hindered the growth of surrounding plants. I will certainly be taking note this year while I watch Audrey and her siblings grow.