Annuals forum: Pollenless Sunflowers

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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Apr 9, 2015 1:28 PM CST
I've been getting a bit obsessed with annual sunflowers lately. Luckily I have a lot of land to plant all of the seeds that I've ordered. Hilarious! I've noticed that many of them are listed as pollenless, which is great for cut flowers. I just can't figure out how a company is able to provide massive amounts of seeds for a named variety of pollenless flower, if that flower can only be pollinated by a sunflower that produces pollen. The seeds from the pollenless flower would then be hybrid seeds, and wouldn't necessarily look like the plant that the seeds were growing on, if they are anything like many other flowers. I would think that it should be very reasonable to expect that the seeds would not come true. Is that correct? I suppose that all of the seeds are provided from clones, in order for the seeds to be supplied for sale. Or, maybe I'm wrong about that? Last year was my first year growing sunflowers, so I know practically nothing about them, other than I love them.

I've ordered a few pollenless varieties, only because they are pretty. I am not one to keep cut flowers in the house, but I do love collecting seeds! It will be interesting to see what comes from the seeds, if I get any, and if I'm able to grow them out next year. Have any of your grown seeds from pollenless sunflowers, and did you get anything totally different than the parent plant?
Natalie
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
May 8, 2015 9:08 AM CST
Hey Natalie. Heavens, it's a month since you posted this question and nobody replied? I am no help because I'm growing sunflowers from seed for the first time and I was just looking for a thread about sunflowers. It sounds like you're going to have to do your own research on this, or maybe ask the seed source people?

But I have a question - I planted a packet of decorative sunflowers under my birdfeeder because not much else will grow there - possibly all the sunflower shells are making the soil inhospitable? Anyway, my reasoning was that at least sunflowers will grow there so I went for it. They are growing like crazy, nearly 3ft. tall now but not branching yet. Since I'm growing them for flowers, I'd rather have more, smaller flowers than one big one on each plant. So is it ok to pinch out the growing tip to make them branch?
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Elaine

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Sep 6, 2018 2:56 PM CST
I was wondering if it's pollenless, how do they sell seeds to produce the same color? A hybrid using other sunflower pollen should produce something different, yet these seeds are the same color. Is there perhaps a pollen version only breeders have that is the same variety just with pollen?
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Zinnias Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Spiders! Hybridizer Garden Photography
Vegetable Grower Tomato Heads Native Plants and Wildflowers The WITWIT Badge Daylilies Dog Lover
keithp2012
Nov 25, 2018 11:39 PM CST
keithp2012 said:I was wondering if it's pollenless, how do they sell seeds to produce the same color? A hybrid using other sunflower pollen should produce something different, yet these seeds are the same color. Is there perhaps a pollen version only breeders have that is the same variety just with pollen?


Bumping this for help
Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Dec 9, 2018 2:29 PM CST
Hi Natalie. Since you aren't getting much response...I will attempt to try. Have you ever had a 'seedless' watermelon, before? It works on a somewhat similar priinciple.. Except that sort of watermelon is a fruit, but it does need pollen exposure, on the female flower, yet only for it to produce the melon.
I suppose the flowers last longer in these varieties. Some flowering plants are hybridized to produce results they want, but that are sterile, & can be parthenocarpic, like most bananas (have no seed) . That s to say, with with those sort of sunflowers, they produce a hybrid seed/seeds but the progeny only need exposure to pollen, yet there isn't any actual pollination/fertilization, which is normally required for viable seed to occur.
Chromosome numbers & genetics can play a role, as can exposure to chemicals (e.g. colchicine, or GA3) as well as self (in)/ compatability. Then you get into topics like 2N, 4n, or diploid & triploid, etc... (Now I wish I had studied in plant Biology!)
So, if a hybridizer wants to cross two different species,with the end results being sterility, they achieved a Sunflower that may last longer, but doesn't cause the unwanted effect of an area beneath, where it makes for other plants more difficult to germinate or grow..... For comparison, a similar process, is even found in animal husbandry, as it can also be accomplished... The name for the sterile result,; is a mule!
I have created sterile hybrid flowers before, but if it isn't perennial, then you have no root to divide to multiply & those sterile annuals just flowers away & then dies, without any seeds, from my observation..


Brisbane, QLD, Australia
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LittleBigMountain
Dec 12, 2018 10:23 PM CST

New Member

I love growing sunflowers, I get crested cockertoo birds that love chopping the heads off thou. My evening sunflower hasn't bloomed yet but have got a few of the Giants plus one is a multi header
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Hampton, Virginia (Zone 8b)
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ShawnSteve
Dec 12, 2018 10:35 PM CST
@Natalie. I think the sunflowers you grew from these hybrids may not produce any seeds at all. Unless there is some type of pollen from another sunflower variety that has any pollen capable of actually pollinating it. Nearly the whole point of offering Sunflowers like this, was mainly so as to not be bothered with having any seeds produced whatsoever!
Some people may not want to attract birds, squirrels, or especially any other rodents.

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