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How to grow sunflowers
How I did it: I chose the type of plants I wanted by the size, color and number of blooms as well as height of plants I've tried growing several different varieties over the years and each has its own attributes and rewards. Some varieties have multiple flowers as well as a season long blooming time while others like the tall mammoth sunflower usually grows a single large flower which seemingly has a short blooming time before it goes to seed. I found that all varieties are loved by birds.
I usually plant my sunflowers along one side of my vegetable garden close to a fence that I am able to tie the plants to when they grow tall and became top heavy. This keeps them from falling over on windy days and when the heads fill with seeds. I find that watering them daily when they are small is most important. A couple of times I've tried germinating seeds in pots before planting but it has never worked out well for me. I've planted rows of seeds 2 to 3 weeks a part and this gives a longer blooming time and allows me to see the plants at different stages of life at the same time. I wait for the plants to go to seed and harvest them and putting the heads in a dark cool, dry place until Winter arrives then put them out for the birds to feed upon in the Winter.
Lessons & tips:
- Choose the variety of sunflower plant(s) by flower and size of plant and available bedding size.
- Follow directions on seed package for seed depth, spacing and length of germination.
- Sunflowers do best grown in full sun directly sowed int the ground about 1 inch deep where plant will grow and mature after danger of frost.
- Does not transfer well.
- Light mulching helps protect seeds and seedlings from insects and birds.
- Water daily and keep ground moist until plants emerge and roots become well established.
- Thin as directed. Remember the bigger the plant, the more room it needs to grow.
- Once plants are established well, water as needed and watch them grow!
- Choosing a spot along a fence or trellis where plants can be supported once the heads grow heavy with seeds and fall over is a plus.
Resources: I just played it by ear and followed the directions on seed packages for each variety and sometimes looked online for tips regarding pest control.
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