No Joke Sunflowers

IMG_5720I planted these cheery sunflowers because my teenage daughter loved the name — The Joker. (She’s an admirer of the late Heath Ledger.) But now that they are blooming, I can see they are more than a fancy name. Helianthus annuus ‘The Joker’ grows up to 7 feet tall (mine are about 5 now), and produces several large blooms on a single stalk. The blooms start out with bright yellow petals, but gradually a deep reddish brown color emerges near the seedhead of the bloom. ‘The Joker’ is a pollenless variety that’s primarily grown for cut-flower arrangements — so I’m not sure if there will be any seeds on these. (I planted a different variety in our meadow area for the birds.) Like all sunflowers, ‘The Joker’ likes a sunny spot with fairly rich soil — mine are planted near my former compost pile, but near some tall shrubs so they may not be getting all-day sun.

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