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Tips on How to Grow Sunflowers From Seed
sunflower(sunflower) is a fascinating plant, especially for children. Whether growing for competition or for recreation, following the tips below will help provide your sunflowers with optimal conditions for good growth and health.
Choosing a Sunflower Variety to Plant
The first step in growing sunflowers is deciding what variety you wish to grow. There are 67 species of sunflowers in the world with single or multiple stems, growth height, head size and color. Read through the details of each popular species below to help you make an informed choice about the sunflowers you plan to grow.
music Box A well known dwarf variety that reaches a maximum height of 28 inches and is suitable for container growing.
teddy bear A sunflower that is smaller than a music box and grows to around 12 – 18 inches.
italian white Sunflower, also a small variety, but has an attractive cream-colored bloom.
autumn combination Unlike the above, it typically grows to 6 feet tall with yellow and rust-colored flower heads 5 – 6 inches in diameter.
largest sunflower variety The Russian giant, for example, stands over 15 feet tall and has a head diameter as high as 20 inches. Obviously, the larger sunflower varieties require more space than the other aforementioned varieties. If you have the space to grow them, they are so much fun.
What is the best place to plant sunflowers
Plant sunflowers in soil that is exposed to direct sun and sheltered from wind. Once the sunflower reaches 1 foot tall, protect your sunflower by supporting the stem with bamboo stakes. This will help the stems grow straight and protect the sunflowers from wind damage.
When sunflowers are mature, the head weight on tall stems is heavy, making sunflowers vulnerable to wind damage. Because wild sunflowers are only between 2 and 6 feet tall, the risk of wind damage is much lower than domestic sunflowers.
What kind of soil is best for growing sunflowers
Plant the seedlings in a good quality soil, such as my personal favorite Miracle Grow potting mix, which has good water retention and is rich in plant nutrients. Always make sure the soil is moist and prevent it from drying out completely. Consider adding fertilizer to the garden soil where you plan to plant seeds or seedlings.
Tips For Germinating Sunflower Seeds
If you wish to germinate your sunflower seeds before planting, spread out at least 10 absorbent kitchen roll towels on a plate and soak them in water. Spread the seeds evenly on damp paper towels, and place them in a warm space such as a fume hood. The more paper towels you use, the better their water holding capacity, which means they will need to be watered less often.
Checking the seeds with regular watering will keep the paper towels from drying out, especially in warm environments or out of direct sunlight. When your sunflower seeds start to germinate, plant potting compost mixed with fertilizer into your garden to a depth of 2 inches and spaced 1 – 2 feet apart.
Sowing sunflower seeds in pots
If you are germinating sunflower seeds in pots, sow one seed in each pot to a depth of 1 inch in 3-inch diameter pots. Use a high-quality potting compost, such as Miracle Grow potting mix, and cover the pot tops with clear plastic wrap.
When green leaves appear above the soil after germination, remove the film and place the pot near a window, if possible, so it gets the most sunlight throughout the day. Rotate the pot 180 degrees in the morning and again in the evening, checking to make sure the soil remains moist.
If the pot is too small or the sunflower has been in the pot for too long, a large amount of roots may develop around the pot walls. Because sunflowers have such long taproots that can grow up to 4 feet deep, letting the plant grow to this stage in a pot can severely stunt growth.
Congested roots can be safely removed by cutting off no more than 1/3 with a sharp knife. Before planting in the garden, loosen and discard any dead soil around the sunflower’s roots. Just remember to be careful not to damage the remaining healthy roots in the process.
Sowing sunflower seeds in the garden (recommended)
Sowing seeds directly into the garden is my favorite method and the one I have had the most success with. Sow sunflower seeds after last winter’s frost has passed and nighttime temperatures have risen above 5º or 10º Celsius. Sow seeds in loose soil to a depth of about 50 mm (2 in), 1 – 2 ft apart. When the second set of leaves appear, water the seeds regularly until they are 2 feet tall. From this point on, liquid fertilizer should be added to the water for feeding.
- sunflower(sunflower) is a fascinating plant, especially for children. Sunflowers can grow up to 12 feet tall with corollas up to 30 cm (1 foot) in diameter.
- The sunflower flower heads, often incorrectly called flowers, consist of 1000 – 2000 individual flowers. The petals around the head are ray flowers.
- Sunflowers are one of the fastest growing plants in the world, growing up to 30 cm (1 ft) per day.
- A fascinating feature of the sunflower is its ability to track the direction of sunlight by pointing the sunflower head at the sun.This behavior is called heliotropism.
- Wild sunflowers have smaller seeds with multiple branches and/or stems and more than one head. Larger single-stem, single-flower head domestic sunflowers are only available through centuries of careful, hand-picked seed selection.
- The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas and Russia.
- According to Guinness World Records, M Heijms planted the tallest sunflower ever planted in Oirschot, the Netherlands in 1986 at 25 feet 5.5 inches (776 cm).
- The largest sunflower head recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records is 32 1/4 inches (82 cm) in diameter and was planted by Emily Martin of Maple Ridge, Canada in the hot summer of 1983.
- Although native to the United States, 60% of the world’s sunflowers are grown in Europe and Russia. The varieties popular with sunflower growers start with the tallest: Moonwalker, Pastiche, Velvet Queen, Russian Giant, and the smaller Teddy Bear and Big Smile varieties.
- Sunflowers are very effective at attracting butterflies, bees and birds.
- Sunflowers are used to produce sunflower oil. As seeds, they are used as bird feed and as a healthy snack for children and adults.
- Sunflower seeds contain 50% polyunsaturated fat and are rich in Omega-6, which has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sunflower seeds are rich in calcium and many other vitamins and minerals.
- The scientific name of the sunflower; Helianthus is derived from two Greek words, Helios meaning sun and Anthos meaning flower.
- Sunflowers are perennials that grow every year.
- Sunflower seeds are poisonous to grass, so keep them away from your lawn, which can be killed by falling seeds.
Sunflowers: A Great Choice for Kids
Sunflowers are an excellent choice for growing children. They are visually appealing and, in addition to being easy to grow, attract a variety of insects such as butterflies, bees, and birds.
You can encourage friends or neighbors to compete to see who can grow the tallest sunflower. As a 9-year-old, I personally have fond memories of playing against my next-door neighbor. If I remember correctly, I managed to grow three sunflowers at about 6 feet high. Being so young, everything seems bigger at that age, so I could very well be wrong. I know, I shouldn’t boast, but I won naturally… of course naturally. 🙂 Feel sorry! !
BBSRC (Secondbiotechnology and Secondbiological smallscience RResearch Ccouncil… phew) created a Sunflower Planting Activity eBook for toddlers to grow their own sunflowers while learning how plants grow.
Sunflower Plant Care
Sunflowers need plenty of water and sunlight and take about two weeks to emerge and 90 days to fully grow. If using a chemical herbicide, make sure it is suitable for sunflowers or pull weeds by hand. Overwatering sunflowers can damage flower heads, especially 20 days before or 20 days after bloom.
Pour approximately 2 gallons of liquid fertilizer solution around the sunflower roots each week, being careful not to pour the solution on the stems, as this has been found to cause sunflower stem rot.
Try to place your sunflowers so they get as much sun as possible, ideally 6-8 hours or more. If high winds are forecast, hold off watering until the wind passes to prevent the sunflowers from being blown over.
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