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EFN EXCLUSIVE. We love sunflowers, but have had trouble growing them before due to pest pressure. Despite our doubts about our ability to successfully grow sunflowers for seed, we decided to try growing a hand-labeled packet of "tubular" sunflowers we got in a seed exchange. As it turns out, these had no problems with pests whatsoever. We also learned that the "tubular" refers to the ray petals (actually flowers), which are indeed tubular in this rare and interesting variety.
The "tubular" trait — shorthanded by people who study plant genetics as "turf" for "tubular ray flower" — is not common, but it has been studied quite extensively by plant geneticists, especially over the past decade. While some have noted a reversion back to non-tubular form (perhaps indicating some epigenetics at play), this variety is apparently stable, as we've noticed no loss of the tubular trait two years in a row.
These are not the tallest sunflowers, nor are the seeds very big (though they are tasty and no doubt would make good oil), but they are very beautiful and the pollinators love them. You'd be hard-pressed to find another source for these unique flowers.
Seeds were grown by our original source, the great and wonderful Lisa Bloodnick of Bloodnick Family Farm in Apalachin, NY. We are told the seeds originally came from a happenstance mutation in a garden in France.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed after danger of last frost or transplant healthy plant starts after danger of last frost. Plants should be spaced at least six inches apart. Prefers full sun.