Do Sunflowers Face Each Other On Cloudy Days? (Find Out Now!)
Photographs and memes of bright sunflowers facing each other have long circulated the internet and been the subject of many chain emails. The memes suggest that when the weather is cloudy or, overcast sunflowers will turn to face one another. Sunflowers can feed off each other’s energy by facing each other, or so the belief and widely circulated memes tout. But is this true?
Sunflowers will follow the sun throughout the day and do not turn to face one another. These flowers are like other plants and derive their energy from photosynthesis and not from fellow flowers. Sunflowers may appear to turn to face one another as they track the sun’s location, even on cloudy days, but this is simply a part of their natural movement.
Although sunflowers do not have any special powers and will behave just like any other flower or plant following the sun’s path, they are still great plants. These flowers are always a great addition to any garden. Adding a sunflower to your garden is a fantastic way to bring some color and welcome pollinators to help keep your garden lively and well-nourished.
The Heliotropism of Sunflowers
Plants rely on a complicated process called photosynthesis to convert sugars in their leaves into useable energy to grow. Like all plants, sunflowers rely on the sun to provide enough sunlight to complete this process. Having sunshine on their leaves and blooms is essential for survival.
Sunflowers are one of many different plant species that make optimal use of light by turning towards the sun. Heliotropism, also known as phototropism, is basically solar tracking. This characteristic is most evident in immature sunflower buds, as these plants lose their flexibility of movement as they develop.
Many adult sunflowers are happy to stay stationary with full bloom and simply receive the sun’s rays available to them, even on a cloudy day. Many adult sunflowers will remain fixed in an Eastward facing position.
There is a flexible stem segment positioned just below the main flower which responds to pressure in the motor cells, resulting in the sunflower turning toward the sun. The main purpose that these plants track light is to improve photosynthesis. Though, this is isn’t the only important attribute of heliotropism.
Why Heliotropism Is Important With Sunflowers
It does not matter whether or not sunflowers are positioned where they will receive direct sunlight. What does matter is their heliotropism, which is the main factor in determining the directional growth of a sunflower.
Heliotropism aids in photosynthesis, as the mechanism works with the sunflower’s photosynthesis components facing the heat source. During this process, light energy is absorbed, and then used to convert CO2, water, and minerals into oxygen (O2). This enhances the amount of energy inside of the flora’s organic compounds.
In order to obtain more energy from the sun, sunflowers directly face it throughout the day. As a result, the more energy they receive, the stronger and quicker their photosynthesis process becomes.
Scientifically speaking, the warmer a flower is, the more pollinators it attracts. For example, in the morning hours, sunflowers facing the sun will get more heat. Therefore, they may also receive up to five times the number of pollinating insects as flowers that face east.
How Are Sunflowers Beneficial?
Sunflowers are bright, colorful, and a regular staple for any garden. Although these flowers tend to grow quite large, taking up plenty of real estate in your garden, they are a great addition with several added benefits. Sunflowers can bring just as much joy to your life as they can bring life and enjoyment to the other inhabitants of your garden.
This flower has a large blossom and is an excellent way to attract pollinators. Many bees are commonly drawn to the large flower. Bees are a welcome sight for any gardener because they can then visit other plants and flowers, providing much-needed pollination to continue the plants’ blooming and growing cycle.
Further, sunflowers can help attract desirable birds to the garden. Birds feed on the seeds provided by a sunflower after the plant has bloomed. Birds can not only help to provide beautiful color and song in your backyard, but they can also help to keep insects under control. Many beneficial bird species will feast on invasive and damaging insects that can wreak havoc in your garden.
How Much Sun Does a Sunflower Need?
Sunflowers are big and beautiful flowers that generally require full sun. This requirement means that the plant should be exposed to at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day. Additionally, a sunflower requires good drainage in the soil. Too much water can cause the roots to rot, killing the plant.
Be sure to space sunflowers at least 2 to 3 feet apart in the garden. Remember that these are very large plants that need plenty of space. The blossom on a sunflower is quite large and can potentially block the sun from reaching smaller plants located below the sunflower. Be particularly careful to put plants tolerant of shade directly below sunflowers. You do not want to pair other full-sun flowers too close to a sunflower, only to have them deprived of much-needed sunshine.
What Can I Do with Sunflowers After They Bloom?
Although sunflowers are great additions to any garden as they grow, they can be even more beneficial after they bloom. Once the back of the blossom turns brown, the seeds are ready for harvest. Cut the sunflower about a foot down from the bottom of the flower. The sunflower seeds inside the bloom will appear plump, and will easily fall out of the flower, so be ready to catch them in a container.
Carefully rinse the collected seeds in a colander. This process will remove any tag-along plant debris. Once rinsed, spread the sunflower seeds out on a cloth or paper towel to allow them to dry for several hours or even overnight. Planting sunflower seeds that are still wet can cause them to mold and not germinate properly.
Sunflower seeds can be used for multiple purposes both in your garden and at home. Collected sunflower seeds can be dried and replanted again next summer to populate your garden with beautiful flowers once more. Sunflower seeds can also make a nutritious snack for backyard birds if packed into homemade suet cakes. Even better, sunflower seeds can be roasted in the oven to create a natural and delicious snack for friends and family to enjoy, just perfect for summer.
What Do Sunflowers Do on Rainy Days?
Sunflowers rely on the sun to give them enough energy to power a plant process called photosynthesis. This process helps the plant grow and bloom. It may still look like your sunflowers are moving on rainy or cloudy days but, in reality, a sunflower is merely trying to track the sun’s location as it moves through the sky.
Even though the sun may be hard to see and covered with clouds, the sunflower still knows where its approximate location is in the sky. Through a rainy day, a young sunflower will continue to move, tracking the sun. At night, after the sun has set, a young sunflower will reposition to its initial location, turning Eastward to anticipate the sunrise of the coming day.
So, Do Sunflowers Face Each Other on Cloudy Days?
As we’ve previously described, the weather outside has no influence on a sunflower’s heliotropism pattern. So, sunflowers do not face each other on cloudy days. Even on days where the sun may be shielded by clouds, this does not mean there is no sunlight. Plus, sunflowers operate on their own biological clock.
Therefore, the direction of sunflowers does not change on a cloudy or rainy day and they will continue to track the sun.
How Many Sunflowers Can I Have?
Really, space is the only limitation to how many sunflowers you can add to a garden. These are huge flowers that will require about 2 to 3 feet of space between each flower. For smaller gardens, just one flower may be enough. For larger gardens, space is no limit. Be sure to always plant sunflowers in full-sun areas.
What Can I Plant with Sunflowers?
If you are considering adding sunflowers to your garden, think about what other plants may compliment a sunflower well. Sunflowers require a full day of light, so they should be planted with other light-seeking flower varieties.Some common sunflower accompaniments can include marigolds, daisies, impatience, and geraniums. These are all full-sun plants that will do well in the same area of the garden. These plants also do well to maintain soil moisture, preventing the need for continuous watering that can be detrimental to the sunflower. Additionally, nastugens and delphiniums can make a great addition to any sunflower garden.Not only do these plants enjoy the same type of weather conditions, but they also work together to help encourage pollination through the garden. These flowers will attract pollinators like butterflies and bees while preventing pests from entering your garden. Choose to put these flowers and plants near a vegetable garden to reduce the occurrence of nuisance pests.
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