The Lemon Queen sunflower has been a mainstay in gardens and floral bouquets for decades – and for good reason!
The Lemon Queen sunflower is a multi-branched sunflower cultivar with pale yellow flowers that blooms in the late summer and early fall. These annual plants are easy to grow in full sun and are generally low-maintenance in the garden. The Lemon Queen sunflower is also well-known for its attractiveness to beneficial pollinators such as honeybees.
Read on to learn all about the Lemon Queen sunflower.
Lemon Queen sunflower basics
The Lemon Queen is a sunflower cultivar that is known for its lemon-yellow, pointed petals and chocolate-brown center. The pale lemon yellow blooms are known to attract bees and butterflies, which are essential pollinators for many gardeners. They are also known to deter certain pests, such as snails, deer, and rabbits.
This sunflower plant grows multiple branches, meaning that a single plant can grow dozens of flowers. The Lemon Queen Sunflowers are known to grow very quickly and can reach tall heights. This sunflower variety can grow to about 5 to 7 feet tall with a spread of about 6 feet in about three months.
Areas that have a long gardening season can sow multiple seeds of the Lemon Queen Sunflowers so that there can be multiple blooms. This cannot be done in all of the hardiness zones, especially those that have a shorter time frame between the last and first frosts of the season.
How to plant Lemon Queen sunflowers
To plant a Lemon Queen sunflower, ensure that you have had the last frost of your season. If there is any frost, you risk killing your Lemon Queen flowers since they do not do well in cold weather. While very small sunflower seedlings can sometimes survive a light frost unaffected, larger seedling plants can be severely damaged by a hard frost.
For those that live in a location that has mild winters, sowing the seeds between April and June works great. For those that live in locations with harsher winters, you should consider sowing the seeds in late May or June.
Choose well-draining soil if possible. If you’d like to plant it in a pot, choose a big one (at least 10 gallons if possible). Make a little 1/2-inch deep planting hole. Then, place one seed inside the hole. Cover lightly with soil.
It is also important to check how much light you are getting wherever you decide to plant the sunflower so that it is getting enough sunlight every day, especially the warm afternoon full sun. They are usually heat tolerant and enjoy such atmospheres.
Once the seeds start to germinate (usually in about a week) ensure that each Lemon Queen flower is planted 12 inches apart from its neighbor so that the sunflowers have room to grow.
How to grow Lemon Queen sunflowers
Once the Lemon Queen sunflower seeds have started to germinate, it’s crucial to protect the seedlings from any pests. Sunflower plants tolerant to some dryness, so expect to only give about 1 inch worth of water to each plant every single week.
Be sure to water deeply to create strong roots so that the sunflowers can withstand wind and storms while they are growing. Here is a detailed guide all about how to grow sunflowers.
A fun fact about sunflowers is that they will turn their heads towards the full sun in a process called heliotropism. This is why it is so important to grow these sunflowers in an area with enough sunlight.
Once a Lemon Queen sunflower has bloomed (usually at around 85 days) then they can be cut to be harvested when the flowers have fully bloomed.
How fast do Lemon Queen sunflowers grow?
Lemon Queen sunflowers are known to be fast-growing sunflowers, as they can bloom anywhere between 55 to 100 days after the seed has been planted. Use this table timeline to see the stages of how a sunflower grows (link):
|Number of Days||Stages of the Plant|
|1||Seed is planted|
|10-35||Seedling develops leaves and plant|
|35-65||Bud begins to grow|
|65-85||Flowering and pollination|
Of course, sunflowers may grow differently depending on the weather and growing conditions. This table shows how the sunflower may grow in perfect conditions.
Reasons to grow Lemon Queen sunflowers
There are a number of reasons that you should consider planting a Lemon Queen Sunflower in your garden.
- If you are prone to having rabbits, deer, or snails in your garden and would like to fend them off, you should consider growing Lemon Queen sunflowers since they are resistant to these pests.
- They are great bee attracter. In fact, the Lemon Queen is the type chosen to be used in the Great Sunflower Project to track the native population of bees in different locations. They are honeybee magnets!
- You can eat the seeds and early buds of the Lemon Queen Sunflower. The immature buds are known to taste similar to artichoke hearts due to the flower’s bitter flavor. The flower buds can be used in salads or eaten alone.
- Another reason that you should consider growing Lemon Queen sunflowers is they are great for cut flowers. That means that they can be used as focal flowers for bouquets and other floral arrangements.
Does Lemon Queen sunflower come back every year?
No, the Lemon Queen Sunflower is an annual plant. It completes its life cycle in one year. These flowers are planted in the spring, bloom in summer/autumn, and die as cold winter weather arrives.
That said, sometimes the sunflower seeds that fall out of the dried flower head can sprout on their own the following spring.