In 2000 Soraya was the only sunflower to have been awarded the prestigious All America Selection, the botanical mark of excellence. Since then 2 more have followed, one a dwarf variety - Suntastic Sunflower and the other a very colorful variety - Ring of Fire Sunflower. Soraya is still the first sunflower in AAS history to win the coveted award. One of Sorayas hallmark qualities is its vibrant orange petals, most sunflowers have golden yellow petals, soraya stands out among the pack in this respect. The orange flowers encase a chocolate brown center housing the seeds. Soraya sunflowers send out several branches from the main stem which is topped off by a vigorous 4- to 6-inch blooms the long stems also produce additional blooms. Dead Heading is not recommended as there are no real advantages with this plant, it would do more harm than good.
It is prized for use in floral arrangements, cut flowers. Soraya will flower in about 80-90 days from seed. Plants don't generally need staking, they are considered self supporting but if you live in a very windy locale it can't hurt. They reach five to six feet in height and do need full-sun. The seeds are fine for human consumption, some folks like to let the flowers dry on the stem for the birds and tree rats to have a go at them. During the growing season it serves as a Pollinator Friendly plant.
Soraya is suitable for container gardens as a potted plant so long as a large enough pot with adequate drainage is used. Direct seeding is the best way to start this plant. You can start indoors from seed in pots or cell packs but be aware that sunflowers do not transplant well, so you will more than likely loose some in the endeavor.
Breeder: Benary Seed
Germination 5-10 days.
Height: 4-6 feet
Width 18 - 24 inches
Bloom Time: Summer / about 12 weeks from sowing
Bloom Color: Orange, brown / Bicolor
Bloom Size: 4-6 inches Average of 15 to 20 per plant
Spacing: 2 feet
Soil temperature: 70 - 75 degrees f
Full Maturity: 95-100 days
Although they are drought tolerant, that doesn't meant drought is a good thing. Regular watering is necessary for optimal performance.
Fertilizer is not necessary, although a little couldn't hurt. Take it easy on the nitrogen in the plants early phases as excess nitrogen could delay flowering. A little organic mulch is a good idea also.
If you are Harvesting Seeds check the blossom heads for maturity. The back side becomes a yellowish brown instead of its youthful green. The smaller petals that were covering the seeds will have dried and begin falling out. Some of the blossom heads may be leaning downwards. When the blossom head in fully mature 'snap' it off and remove and separate the seeds by hand. This can be a tedious task - you can also rub harvested heads together which helps to dislodge seeds.