Sunflowers are my all time favorite flower. They seem to me to be a happy flower , always looking towards the sun. Sunflowers are typically an annual plant, however the Maximilian Sunflower is a perennial (meaning you don’t have to replant every year).
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.”
~ Helen Keller
Whether your looking for something that deters deer in the garden, blooms pretty and late, has edible parts, attracts birds, creates a green mulch, stops grass invasion or is very low maintenance – I would recommend looking at the Maximilian Sunflower.
This stunning beauty is more than it appears (as with all plants in permaculture). This particular strain of sunflower grows 5 to 7 feet tall and sports 4 inch yellow blooms in the late fall. Giving fall a spectacular splash of color when most everything else is gone.
- Deer won’t eat them – the stems are covered with a coarse fuzz that the deer do not like. Therefore the deer are greatly discouraged in poking their heads (and bodies) through a thick screen of blossoms. If you trim the stalks in the winter to about 4 feet tall, the deer absolutely dislike them then. (This can be a bit of an eyesore in the winter – think about it, a bunch of cut stalks with no leaves sticking out of the ground.)
- The Maximilian Sunflower isn’t invasive, although it does grow thickly creating a beautiful barrier for the rest of the garden.
- In the early spring, trim the stalks to the ground and you have a fantastic mulch base, or compost
- The Maximilian Sunflower is a relative of the Jerusalem Artichoke – which means its edible. The sunflower produces edible shoots that can be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds can also be harvested and used to make sunflower oil – you will need an oil press get a good one (you get what you pay for).
- The seeds attract birds to your garden
- With a hardiness to -30 degrees Fahrenheit I’d say it’s a plant to have just about anywhere.
- It’s very drought tolerant and grows in all types of soils (even in yucky red clay).
- It also blocks any unwanted grasses or weeds from encroaching into the opposite garden side. (Because we ALL know how grass and weeds like to travel to unwanted areas.