Sunflowers – or Helianthus Annuus by their traditional name – are blooms that we grow up knowing and recognising from a very young age. They have many symbolic associations with them, and as we learn to identify flowers like these from infancy, they also have a childlike innocence that surrounds them. The yellow colour, large head, and elongated stem of the sunflower, makes it very individual, and often the focal point of any arrangement due to its forceful appearance. This means that you have to be very careful when including it in a bouquet, as it often works well sitting alone in a vase. An arrangement simply made up of this beautiful flower truly does bring light and sunshine into a room because of the vibrant shades of yellow. However, as detailed in our floral home decor article, this strong an arrangement may not work for every house. A large, second hand jam jar filled with the flowers may be well-suited to a window sill in a country cottage, but perhaps a single stem in a tall, glass designer vase may work better in a contemporary apartment. However, there is always a way to make sunflowers work for your home!
Although not traditionally thought of as an appropriate flower to be given as gifts, due to their wildflower roots, sunflowers have specific meanings that can only be graciously accepted as compliments. The ancient Chinese symbolism associated with this happiest of flower is long-life and good luck. This truly means that they are a gift worthy of any occasion; a birthday present for an ageing family member, a reunion with an old friend, or even a wedding gift; wishing luck should be done at all stages in life. The happiness that is also associated with the large, yellow head is befitting of most occasions, and the affiliation the bloom has with this joyful childhood atmosphere, puts a smile to most faces.
The trickier situation comes when we try to incorporate the sunflower into a bouquet or arrangement, as they tend to take up space, and overpower other flowers. The best port of call is to use its dominance to work for your arrangement. Often, creating an arrangement full of tall stemmed flowers is necessary, or perhaps incorporating long greenery to reach the full height of the sunflower. However, the head can also be cut from the stem and used in a smaller bouquet with shorter flowers. In terms of colouring, there are a couple of options; using complementary oranges and yellows can have a lot of aesthetic appeal. However, by contrasting the bright yellow with pinks and purples, more attention can be drawn to this unique and happy flower which –depending on what you are working with – can catch the eye beautifully, creating an appealing arrangement.