There’s an emerging trend for sunflowers in the Philippines. As a money-making opportunity, sunflower varieties are targeted for home gardens. It is unlike in foreign countries where the crop is grown commercially in wide areas for the production of seeds for human consumption and for bird seed. Sunflower oil is also extracted from the seeds.
The trend in the Philippines works fine. That’s because even the micro-entrepreneurs can participate in the business. And that is helping achieve what the politicians are mouthing as “inclusive economic growth.” Of course, corporate operators can also grow the garden sunflowers for the bigger markets.
Four varieties are becoming the favorites of growers of garden sunflowers for three purposes. One is for landscaping not only in the home but also in resorts, commercial building premises, golf courses and the like. Another is for the production potted plants for sale that are also used as portable decoration for various occasions. And the third is as cut flower for floral arrangement.
Three varieties are for landscaping as well as for cut flower production. They are not as tall as the varieties for seed production. Most of them are just less than a meter. That is fine because they are more manageable than the very tall ones. The three are almost of the same height. One variety, Vincent’s Pomelo, has light yellow petals with yellow center. The second is Vincent’s Fresh which has darker petals with green center. And the third is Vincent’s Choice lighter yellow petals with dark center. The three are equally attractive and are equally well liked by growers.
A fourth garden sunflower is a really dwarf one. It is called Sunbright Kid and stands at only six to eight inches tall with big flower head. This is particularly good for the production of potted sunflower. One potted plant in bloom can fetch P100 or more, which is cheaper and better than an ordinary flower arrangement. It is better because it is a live plant that will not wither for weeks.
Rowena Bienes of Allied Botanical also explains that as cutflower, the sunflower lasts much longer than other varieties used for floral arrangements. The reason is that the flowers are not pollinated.
MULTIPLE FLOWERS – Most of us know that sunflowers produce single heads at the top of the plant. But did you know that multiple flowers can be produced from the very bottom of the plant up to the very top. How is that done? Miss Bienes of Allied Botanical says that it is very easy. All you have to do is delay the planting of the seedlings in the ground. Plant old seedlings that are two months old or older. In February 2015, Allied Botanical had showcased the technique at its annual open house in Tayug, Pangasinan where the company has a 23-hectare experimental farm.
Well, if that is grown in a pot, more buyers may go for it because it is something unusual. There is one more advantage, according to Ms. Bienes. Say, you cut the upper two feet portion of the plant with multiple flowers, you just attach an appropriate ribbon and voila! You have an beautiful bouquet for graduation or for other occasions.