The bright and cheerful sunflower is the state flower of Kansas. Kansas might be most famous for being the home of Dorothy and Toto, but it is lovely in its own right. Rolling hills of farmland and open skies are native to Kansas and in the month of September, the roadsides and hills of Kansas are covered in blankets of yellow. In September, sunflowers bloom brightly and these flowers are aptly the state flower of Kansas.
The official state flower of Kansas is the Common Sunflower, an annual with a long, productive history. The sunflower can be any color in the family of reds, oranges and yellows although it is commonly thought of in yellow. The sunflower can grow to heights of ten feet and in the bud stage the plant can even follow the sun across the sky, always facing the sun. This ability and its bright yellow face are responsible for the name of the smiling flower.
The State Flower of Kansas
The sunflower might be the official state flower of Kansas only in recent history, but the flower has a history in the United States, including Kansas, dating back thousands of years. The Native Americans cultivated sunflowers as a food source and worked with the seeds of the plant to produce the giant species of sunflowers we think of today. Grown as a food crop for over a millennia, the sunflower is still grown in fields today.
While the wild versions of the sunflower cover hills and medians throughout Kansas and other plains states, the common sunflower is often used as an alternative product in fields as farmers rotate crops to keep soil healthy and productive. The seeds and oil of the sunflowers are harvested when the plant is mature.
Sunflowers are a wonderful part of a garden. The large varieties of sunflowers can dominate a garden and are best used with other large plants. Sunflowers require direct sun and face the Eastern sun as they mature into a stationary plant. Plant sunflower seeds far apart to give the roots space to grow deeply. When planting the sunflowers, be sure to cover the seeds with a net as the birds enjoy the delicacy a great deal and will make a point of digging them out of the loose soil before they have a chance to grow.