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Sunflower
Sunflower

Sunflower is a beautiful large flower. It is important as a garden flower and also as a crop for oil production. Any way to both requirements needs a beautiful healthy flower. In here I am going to discuss general information about the plant and care of them.

Sunflower has originated in Mexico. Now it is a very famous plant in the world. As I previously said it is impotent as an ornamental plant and an oil crop. As an oil crop, it is hugely growing in Russia, Rumania, turkey, and Bulgaria like countries. Because of the economic importance of a crop, it makes a good income. The plant belongs to the composite family and the scientific name is Helianthus annus. So let’s see how to grow sunflowers.

Economic Importance
This consists of many of the florets. One flower provides many of the seeds. Those seeds help to make oil. Oil has a high-quality value and used to make foods, margarine and soap production.

The composition of the oil is changed according to the type of the verity. Oil is light yellow in color. It is also used to make paints, perfumes, and varnish. The seeds are used like peanut after frying them.   

Floret’s petals are yellow in color. They are used to make yellow, pink color dye. They consist of carotene like pigments. The residuals after making oil are used to make animal feed.

Ex: - for poultry feed (consist of 35% proteins)
Also, the whole plant can be used to make silage and plant can fix atmospheric nitrogen.

Climatic Requirement to Planting Sunflowers


The plant can be grown in any climate but preferred a temperate climate. The plant can be grown even in hill areas above 2500 meters. When it is cultivated in areas below 1500 meters, it gives more oil harvest and also the time for maturity is increased when cultivating in higher areas. Preferable PH is 7.5-8. If it is acidic harvest is reduced. There are many verities like turkey – 251993, turkey- 170420, Uruguay – 162454, Spain. Mostly they are improved verities. Therefore big flowers and oil content is good. 

  

Land Preparation and Planting Sunflowers


Firstly you have to plow the land up to 15 – 20 centimeters. It is not necessary for a home garden, but if you do it as a large cultivation you need to follow these steps. After plowing or making a pit you have to place the seeds. The depth to plant seeds is about 2 1/2 - 3 ½ centimeters. Before planting they need to be treated with a fungicide like captan or thiram.

The space between rows should be 60 centimeters and space among the plants should be 25 centimeters.13- 16 Kg seeds needed with these spaces for a hectare. After 2 weeks, need to be done a thinning out for seedlings. So, in one place should have only one plant.

Weeding


Seedlings cannot compete with weeds in their first stages. So need to keep the field in clean to avoid the weeds. Control the weeds at least one time for a month. It is easy to manually remove the weeds from your home garden but in a large cultivation may have to use a weedicide or any other favorable method to control them. 

Irrigation


Irrigation is an important one to have a good harvest. The plant has an ability to resist the drought conditions. But when there is a good water supply plant do not have a tension to grow. The result is more protein and oil synthesis. But over moisture content is not good. The root system of the plant is spread over the top of the soil. So the plant may be fallen. Mostly Little plants are faced with this problem. 


After germination, there is a rapid growth of until 7-8 weeks. So the water requirement is high in this period. If rain is not available, irrigation should be done.


Fertilization


Sunflower plant can be stored nitrogen in the body and use them later. The maximum utilization of phosphorus and potassium can be taken if nitrogen is available. So nitrogen makes a huge role in the plant. Urea ha/kg: TSP ha/kg: murate of potash ha.kg 120:120:120 is recommended as base fertilizer.

Harvesting

Harvesting can be done after 50 weeks of planting. The maturity is depending on the verity, moisture content, and temperature. Normally, 70-120 days are taken for this. If you harvest in your home garden you can manually do it if not need to use a combine harvester. In good conditions 1000 – 1500kg of harvest is easily available.

Pest and Diseases


The most common pest are mites, thrips, moths, and birds. But the damage is not that much sever. Brown mildew, Head rot, Root rot are common diseases for sunflower plant. Good sanitation and seed treatment must be done to avoid these diseases. 

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