Sunflowers brighten a room with their smiling faces. Blossoms range in size from 12 inches across--plants raised primarily for their seeds--to miniature blooms no more than 3 inches in diameter. Colors range from pale champagne to burgundy.
Sunflowers have sturdy stems and heavy heads, so your container must be tall and sturdy to prevent them from tipping over. The container should be two to three times as tall as the diameter of the blossom head; if the flower head is 6 inches across, the container should be 12 to 18 inches tall. A vessel with a wide bottom and narrow mouth will support the flower. Milk bottles, wine carafes, wine bottles and soda bottles all make appropriate vases.
Place the sunflower stem in the vase. Weigh down the vase by filling it halfway with pebbles, sea glass or gravel. This will also stabilize the stem within the vase and keep it from flopping to one corner. Fill the vase with water.
Tie raffia in a fluffy bow around the narrowest part of the vase, or tie it on the stem of the sunflower right above where the vase ends.
Cut off the top of a 6- to 8-inch-diameter pumpkin as if to make a jack-o'-lantern. Remove seeds and strings. If necessary, cut a thin slice off the bottom so the pumpkin doesn't wobble; the pumpkin will last longer as a vase, though, if it's not cut on the bottom.
Cut the stems of a bunch of sunflowers 1 inch longer than the height of the pumpkin. Arrange the sunflowers in the pumpkin so the stems crisscross and support each other. The heads of the flowers should be just barely above the rim of the pumpkin. Fill in with contrasting colors of mums and fall leaves.
Tall Fall Arrangement
Use a clear glass vase at least 12 to 15 inches tall. Fill it one-third of the way with medium-size lemons. Arrange six sunflowers in the vase using the lemons as anchors for the stems; the lemons should hide the stems from view. Fill the vase with more lemons, poking them down and around the stems. Fill the vase with water. Complete the arrangement with stalks of wheat, fall grasses and foliage.
Miniature Apple Arrangements
Use three sunflowers no more than 3 inches in diameter for each miniature arrangement. Use a large Granny Smith apple that stands upright and doesn't wobble. Cut an opening in the top of the apple and remove enough of the fruit so that a glass votive candleholder will fit snugly inside. Fill the candleholder with water. Cut the sunflowers to the same height as the candleholder so the heads just peek over the top.
Keep Flowers Fresh
Change the water in the arrangement every day to keep the sunflowers fresh. Every third day, snip off a half-inch of the sunflower stem to reopen the cells for water intake.
- "Flowers for the Table: Arrangements and Bouquets for All Seasons;" Ariella Chezar and Shaun Sullivan; 2002
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