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Eight years work produces new Sunbelievable variety

PUBLISHED: 08:57 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:57 20 December 2017

Undated handout photo from horticulture firm Thompson & Morgan, who has said its experts have bred a sunflower which keeps flowering long after the sun stops shining. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday December 18, 2017. See PA story CONSUMER Sunflower. Photo credit should read: Thompson & Morgan /PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Undated handout photo from horticulture firm Thompson & Morgan, who has said its experts have bred a sunflower which keeps flowering long after the sun stops shining. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday December 18, 2017. See PA story CONSUMER Sunflower. Photo credit should read: Thompson & Morgan /PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

New Sunflower variety keeps blooming until late November, says Ipswich horticultural firm.

Thompson & Morgan plant breeder Charles ValinThompson & Morgan plant breeder Charles Valin

A Suffolk horticulture firm says its experts have bred a sunflower which keeps flowering long after the sun stops shining.

Thompson & Morgan, which is based in Ipswich, says sunflowers have normally stopped blooming by the time September ends.

But bosses say their new “Sunbelievable” variety flowers from June until the arrival of the first winter frosts.

A spokeswoman said in trials the new variety, which is the product of eight years’ work by Thompson & Morgan’s breeding team, had bloomed until late November.

She said head plant breeder Charles Valin had wanted to breed a variety which was “long-flowered” and could be used as a bedding plant as well as in containers.

“I was always disappointed by the garden performance of traditional pot sunflowers,” said Mr Valin.

“I’ve crossed the very best with the very best to really boost the plant’s performance.”

I still can’t believe how many flowers this plant can produce! I also realised that it was the energy that the plant put into setting seed that was preventing it from flowering for long. So I aimed to create a new hybrid that would not set seed and would therefore carry on flowering all summer long.”

Paul Masters Thompson & Morgan’s head of horticulture, added: “Sunbelievable is an amazing breakthrough in decorative plants for the garden in an area that has been distinctly lacking in innovation in previous years.”

Sunflower plants can be ordered for delivery in April 2018.

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