Sunflower Maintenance and Roses

(Question)

We have a lot of large sunflowers that look like they’re done for the season.  Do I just cut them down at them down, I assume I have plant new ones next year? In addition, when do I cut back the roses, and how much?

 

 

(Answer)

Sunflowers and sunflower stalks can be cut down and composted when they are finished like any annual or perennial in the garden. Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) are perennial sunflowers and Helianthus annuus are annual sunflowers. Both types are perfect for attracting wildlife and birds into your garden. I would encourage you to save the seeds of any sunflowers planting. They are also delicious when roasted or eaten raw. You can deter wildlife from seed eating by placing a paper bag on the heads of the sunflowers before harvest time. Beware, Helianthus tuberosus has weed potential but can be dug up and is edible.

If you are growing Jerusalem artichoke and they have been planted in soil safe for vegetable growing, they produce a large tuber that is edible and tasty when steamed or cooked like a potato. Sunflowers have an interesting history as well as culinary provenance. Native American tribes and First Nations people have made and still currently make traditional flutes called stalk flutes from sunflower stalks and the stalks of other plants such as yucca or agave. Ethnobotonists have studied numerous examples of these instruments and the myths and legends surrounding the stalk flutes are captivating.

Please refer to our fact sheet on roses for your rose inquiry. You will need to identify the kind of roses you have and then decide how or when to prune them. See our fact sheet below.

Pruning Roses