Sunflowers, with their energetic hues, can bring joy, colour, and vibrancy to our homes and gardens. To ensure they thrive, it’s key to follow a handful of expert tips, a few of which we’ve listed here…
First things first, sunflowers require dedication. There is little use in paying lots of attention to your plants at the beginning of their lifespan and neglecting them once they have matured.
Growing sunflowers takes complete dedication from start to finish, and if you don’t give them this, you risk your plant’s wellbeing.
In addition to this, it is wise to grow your sunflowers against a firm, south-facing structure such as a wall, with a prop ladder for added support.
Growing from seed
Many seasoned growers will use the seed from the prior year’s largest sunflower, beginning by placing their potted seeds in a warm environment such as a greenhouse. As they get bigger, they can be re-potted and placed into bigger pots. When there is no further chance of frost, only then should you plant them outside.
It’s extremely important to safeguard your sunflower shrubs from pests, including slugs. These unwanted pests can cause detrimental damage to your sunflowers in their early stages. Once the plants measure a height of three metres tall, feed them with a high nitrogen feed to sustain their growth.
To encourage bold, bright, and majestic sunflowers, all of which promise to add instant vibrancy and cheer to your home and garden this summer, it’s important to plant them now, especially if you wish to get the most out of your plants.
How to select the correct variety of sunflower
Traditional sunflowers boast triumphant yellow hues, yet despite what many think, there are numerous additional varieties and colours to pick from – ranging from dusky pink to deep maroon, blazing orange, and more.
If you wish to invest in row upon row of traditional yellow-hued sunflowers, use Soraya seeds. These seeds are renowned for producing blooms brandishing thick sturdy stems and beautifully oversized petals. These species can grow to a height of one and a half meters tall.
If you don’t have a great deal of space to work with, opt for the small but equally vibrant Choco Sun variety of sunflower, which boasts petals in vibrant shades of zesty yellow.
If yellow’s isn’t your preferred colour, opt for deep red shades, such as the tones embraced by the multi-headed Moulin Rouge variant. This is a great option for those wishing to grow blooms boasting a deeper, more dramatic hue.
Earthwalker blooms boast a wide range of bold hues, with petals ranging from deep red, all the way to a rusty autumnal orange. There are even some brilliant, bright yellow shades in there.
How to take care of your sunflowers
For best results, sow sunflower seeds when the soil feels warm to the touch. This is usually anytime from March until May, but it is heavily dependent on location.
You can either plant your sunflower blooms in thin soils or rich, free-draining, loose soil. Sunflowers tend to be hungry blooms and prefer soil that is nutrient-rich, brimming with composted manure. Place in a position that benefits from direct sun for between six and eight hours per day.
As well as plenty of sunlight, they require plenty of shelters. As they grow to extreme heights, they can be subject to toppling over. For best results, and to prevent any accidents, plant in a sheltered spot away from harsh winds. Many will place them next to a wall or fence.
When planting your blooms, provide your sunflower with an extremely comfy bed. You can do this by digging three feet across and two feet down. This will ensure the soil isn’t overly compact. Sow two seeds per section, each seed a distance of 45cm apart, planted one inch deep into the ground.
Rows should be placed a distance of one meter apart as their roots can become a little on the large side. To protect your seeds from birds and other pests, spread netting over them until they are germinated. You can also remove the top from a plastic bottle to protect seedlings from both slugs and snails.
To support them throughout their growing period, position a cane beside the stem and tie the plant to this for additional support. The next step involves watering your newly planted blooms. This should be done regularly and consistently as sunflowers are one of the more thirsty bloom varieties.
Three ways you can prolong the joy these plants bring
Feed the birds
With their vibrant faces, sunflowers are renowned for attracting a great deal of attention – particularly from wildlife such as birds and bees. When your plants have come to the end of their life, use dried sunflower heads to fashion tasty, aesthetically pleasing bird feeders in the winter months.
Feed the family
You can both harvest and roast sunflower seeds, using them as an embellishment to summer salads. Alternatively, they can be enjoyed as a tasty, healthy, and nutritious snack.
Heat the house
To ensure the entire flower gets put to good use, dry the sturdy stems and use them as kindling.