One of the easiest plants to grow from seed, and with spectacular flowers are the Sunflowers.
They are native to North America they grow well over a wide area. However it is the cultivars that are widely grown in gardens today.
You do not need a special soil, just a sunny spot in the garden or a large container or pot in a sunny position.
How to Grow Sunflowers from seed
Sunflowers are best sown directly into the ground, rather than started in pots and then planted out. This is because they do not respond well to transplanting.
When to Plant
You can plant tham as soon as the weather warms up in spring and they can also be planted in sequence, some seeds every 3 -4 weeks. This staggers flowering. If you can find a position sheltered from strong winds they will not need staking.
Dig over the soil in late winter to early spring and wait until the frosts are over, this is the best time to plant sunflowers seeds.
Where to plant
They are best sown in a sunny open and we do like large clumps.
- The seed needs to be planted around 1/2” deep.
- Water in well with a liquid seaweed fertilizer.
- Keep moist until the seeds germinate.
- After that, sunflowers generally ‘do there own thing’ and thats grow tall and flower.
- We plant in clumps and this means the soil is shaded a little. We also water a little when they begin to droop, however mostly we leave them alone.
- Plant in a well dug soil after last frosts
- Water until seeds germinate
- Occasional watering may be required
- Use a liquid fertilizer if you wish, or if the soil is very poor.
- If growing in containers look for the shorter growing types.
Where to buy sunflower seed
- You can buy seeds of named cultivars Online, this will get you the colors and size of plant you are looking for.
- You will also find that sunflowers grow well from the ‘sunflower bird seed packets’, usually yellow flowers.
How to collect seed from last years crop.
- You need to watch the seed formation in the flower head. Once the seeds ‘look like seed’ you will need to act quickly to beat the birds to them.
- Use a fine mesh bag to tie over the flower heads, this will keep the birds away while the seeds ripen.
- The seeds will eventually start to come away from the flower head.
- You are ready to cut the flower head off, shake out the seed, let it dry and store it in a cool dry place until next spring.
The appeal of sunflowers is the quick growing nature, easy care, ability to grow with little water, and of course the pretty as a picture flowers.
If you were under the impression that all sunflowers were tall and yellow then think again. Over many years the sub species have been hybridized, we have red flowers, yellow flowers
Grown as an annual, although with some hybridization, perennials varieties can also be found. Sunflowers can reach great heights, some up to 12 ft in good soil and good conditions. You can also find dwarf varieties that are suited to growing in containers.
Sunflowers are excellent plants for children to grow, they are fast, reliable and the brilliant flowers reward and encourage kids for the effort.