I haven’t planted sunflowers in many years, but one of my goals this year is to plant a row of Lemon Queens. Lemon Queen is an open-pollinated heirloom variety that provides ample nectar and pollen. It is widely known to attract an amazing variety of pollinators, including many types of bees and butterflies.
Lemon Queen sunflowers grow six to ten feet tall and produce blooms 10 to 12 inches across from mid-summer into fall. They do best in well-drained soil in full sun throughout USDA hardiness zones 3-9. The plants have a central stalk with several side stalks that each produce a flower. The blooms have lemon yellow petals and chocolate-colored centers.
For the last several years, Lemon Queen has been the flower of choice for the Great Sunflower Project, a citizen science project that is accumulating data on bee populations across the country.
Amazon.com carries the seeds from a number of different vendors. You can scroll through the list and choose between just a few seeds or seeds by the pound, depending on what you have in mind. Personally, I’m thinking of buying the quarter-pound and then passing them around to my friends. I’m not being altruistic, hereI’m hoping my bees can steal back the nectar.
If any of you decide to plant Lemon Queens, let me know. I’d like to compare notes or photos with anyone doing the same.
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