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All About Sunroots

By dave
April 6, 2011

Easily grown and impossible to kill, the sunroot is an amazingly useful and beautiful plant that belongs in every garden.

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Name: Katie Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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katie
Jun 13, 2011 4:14 PM CST
I love sunroots.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Jul 5, 2011 12:04 PM CST
It has been many years since I grew Sunroots. They are delicious, even the children loved them.
My question is, do they produce seeds? I can't remember. Told you it was many years ago. *Blush*
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 5, 2011 12:08 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

As an experiment once, we let them "go to seed" and we produced something similar to sunflower seeds, but they never germinated. They propagate so easily from the tubers that we never tried again. Confused
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 5, 2011 2:19 PM CST
I was just wondering if they would provide bird food if left to mature. : )
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 5, 2011 2:33 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

The seeds were likely empty of a germ so the birds wouldn't get any benefit from it. It's a shame, though. That would be perfect since the plants are so vigorous.

There are lots of great shrubs and trees that you can grow that provide food for birds. Maybe I should write an article about that! Hurray!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jul 5, 2011 3:34 PM CST
That would be an awesome article. Right now I grow several different viburnum, poker lilies, Blackeyed Susan, Cone flowers, a number of different nectar type plants, and of course they love to share out figs, raspberries and blueberries. : )
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 5, 2011 3:43 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I'll add it to my "to write" list. Smiling

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Patti1957
Jul 6, 2011 1:27 PM CST
Dave, I love them, great article!
Thumb of 2011-07-06/Patti1957/2dff12
Thumb of 2011-07-06/Patti1957/c83be4


Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 6, 2011 1:57 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Beautiful!! Don't you just love the vibrant yellow that they throw?

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Patti1957
Jul 6, 2011 4:05 PM CST
I can't stop looking at them and I am constantly out taking pictures of them when they are blooming! The pictures I posted above are from last year, I am anxiously awaiting bloom time for them this year.


Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 6, 2011 4:36 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I grow them all over my place. Wherever I have a bare spot I plop some in. They are an excellent plant with so many uses. I even have them growing out in the edges around my pastures.

This year I fear I may lose some to the drought, if you can believe it!
Name: Becky (Boo)
Phoenix, AZ 85022
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Boopaints
Jul 7, 2011 1:36 AM CST
They are so happy looking!
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Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
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Ridesredmule
Jul 7, 2011 2:58 PM CST
Wow! I've not heard them called Sunroots but I do see why. They are a very good plant, it has been years since I've had any. You can slice them and eat them raw too, I think....
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Jul 7, 2011 3:02 PM CST
Nice write-up, Dave.

I grew sunchokes/sunroots years ago. In our red clay soil they grew just fine for years but didn't really take hold. Of course now, I kept pulling up my share of them for eating and selling. My bad! :>)

I think I'll start some at the edge of my "west garden" where Bermuda grass is trying to move it. If you say it'll stop that I'll go for it! I also tend to grow peas up my leftover okra stalks from the year before so I can just see peas/beans using the sunroots for the same reason. Plus, I'm a bit on the lazy side and love getting double-duty out of garden/food plants!

Thanks for the informative article!
Shoe
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 7, 2011 3:35 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

You and I see things quite similarly, Shoe. I believe that the sunroots will do what you want. Especially on the bermuda, it's a hard contest but I believe the sunroots will win. Smiling
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Jul 7, 2011 3:50 PM CST
Okay, that does it. Will get some more growing.

You think the sunroots have allelopathic qualities that will inhibit the Bermuda? Or will they tend to spread and smother the grass out? If you do an article that might be a great point to make, eh?

Shoe...off to close up.
Thanks for the nice site to play in!
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 7, 2011 7:36 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I don't know about any allelopathic properties of sunroots. It's the smothering/barrier effect that helps it win against the invasives.

At least, that's what my research has indicated. I haven't tried it myself. Smiling
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Jul 7, 2011 8:29 PM CST
Okay, thanks. We'll find out for sure. Maybe I can get some going soon.

Shoe (off to shell cowpeas)
Name: Marilyn
Northern KY (Zone 6a)
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Marilyn
Sep 4, 2012 10:24 PM CST
What's the height and spread of one plant?

Thanks!

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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Sep 5, 2012 7:13 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

For me they get vase shaped and about 8 feet tall.

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