Sunflowers remind me of warmer weather and the season of summer like no other plant. Native to North America, sunflowers are heat-tolerant, resistant to pests, and simply beautiful. You can even harvest their edible seeds. Here’s how to grow them in your garden! Most sunflowers are remarkably tough and easy to grow as long as the soil is not waterlogged. Most are heat and drought-tolerant. They make excellent cut flowers and many are attractive to bees and birds. Below are a few tips on how to create your own little sunflower garden.
Sunflowers grow best in locations with direct sunlight (6 to 8 hours per day); they require long, hot summers to flower well. Sunflowers have long tap roots that need to stretch out, so the plants prefer well-dug, loose, well-draining soil; in preparing a bed, dig down 2 feet in depth and about 3 feet across to ensure the soil isn’t too compact. Find a well-drained location, and prepare your soil by digging an area of about 2-3 feet in circumference to a depth of about 2 feet. If possible, put seeds in a spot that is sheltered from strong winds, perhaps along a fence or near a building.
It’s best to sow sunflower seeds directly into the soil after the danger of spring frost has passed. Ideally, the soil temperature has reached 55 to 60 degrees F (13–16°C).
Give plants plenty of room, especially for low-growing varieties that will branch out. Make rows about 30 inches apart. Plant the large seeds no more than 1 inch deep about 6 inches apart after the soil has thoroughly warmed, from mid-April to late May in northern regions—earlier in southern areas. You can plant multiple seeds and thin them to the strongest contenders when the plants are six inches tall.
While the plant is small, water around the root zone, about 3 to 4 in. from the plant. Once the plant is established, water deeply though infrequently to encourage deep rooting. Unless the weather is exceptionally wet or dry, water once a week with several gallons of water.
HARVEST & ADMIRE
For indoor bouquets, cut the main stem just before its flower bud has a chance to open to encourage side blooms. Cut stems early in the morning. Harvesting flowers during middle of the day may lead to flower wilting. Handle sunflowers gently. The flowers should last at least a week in water at room temperature. Arrange sunflowers in tall containers that provide good support for their heavy heads, and change the water every day to keep them fresh.
The towering ‘Mammoth’ Sunflower is the traditional giant sunflower, sometimes growing to more than 12 feet tall. Its seeds are excellent for snacks and natures own bird feeder, too! Sunflowers attract a variety of birds to your yard especially small finches! You can find these sunflower seed packets at Flymeawaycreations Etsy shop!
Follow the link below to find the seeds at the shop!