I have Golden Toasted sunflowers in the vegetable garden, with big fat seeds for eating, and I have half a dozen other varieties of sunflower in other places around the property.
Sunflowers don’t like the wind here, and they tend to grow short and stocky or to fall over unless they’re staked or well protected from the wind. Still, I plant them wherever I can.
Sunflowers serve many purposes in my garden, beyond the seeds for eating. The blooms look great in the garden—pale yellow through orange to deep russet—and make stunning cut flowers, too. They also attract lots of insects. Though there are many pollenless varieties, I steer toward the varieties that produce copious pollen, because they are more attractive to insects. Pollen provides important protein for—bees flies, parasitic wasps, beetles, ants, and many other insects.
The pollen attracts some insects, and they, in turn attract others. Preying mantises regularly visit my sunflowers.
When autumn comes and the blooms are spent, the sunflowers (the entire plant), make a nutritious snack for the goats.
Beauty, food for me, food for my livestock, and food for the wildlife—what more can you ask of a plant?