Sunflowers…one of the most iconic flowers in the world. How can one not love sunflowers with their open sunny faces? Sunflowers are instantly recognizable, but if you look closer you will see a range of colours, heights and flower forms.
There are over seventy varieties of sunflowers. With names like Early Black Heart, Golden Bear, Helios Flame and Moulin Rouge it’s difficult to decide what varieties to grow!
Sunflowers can grow to amazing heights…the record at the moment is over 9 meters high. But not all sunflowers are tall, there are dwarf varieties, like Elf, Firecracker and Teddy Bear. These are the perfect choice if you want to grow some in containers or if you have children who want to have their own garden.
Sunflowers are also easy to grow, even from seed.
Here are some tips on how to do that:
Start them indoors in in early April in small pots of peat-free compost.
Plant two seeds together pushing them into the compost so they are covered with about 1.5 centimetres.
Water well and keep moist.
They should pop up in about 14 to 21 days.
Wait until the chance of frost is over and plant them outdoors.
While you can start them indoors it’s actually easier to sow them straight into the garden.
Here’s some tips for doing that:
Space seeds about 15 centimetres apart in a shallow trench between 2.5 to 5 centimetres deep. If your soil is sandy, 5 centimetres deep is best.
Cover and keep watered until seeds sprout in 7 to 10 days.
When first true leaves appear (the second set of leaves); thin plants to about 60 centimetres apart.
Depending on the variety, sunflowers will mature and develop seeds in 80 to 120 days.
You can sow a new row every 2 to 3 weeks to enjoy continuous blooms until the first frost.
When they are in bloom they will attract a myriad of bees and other beneficial insects. If you leave some of the flowers to turn to seeds in the autumn you will attract birds, squirrels and other critters.