Growing Sunflowers the Right Way
Sunflowers are a popular plant which is native to North America and has been around for quite some time, there are about 60 species with which you can choose, I remembered as a child hearing about and seeing these garden beauties. What makes the sunflower stands out among garden plants is how large it grows with its bright yellow flowers.
In my yard I had a small bed of sunflowers that we once grew as a hedge, these plants can grow anywhere from 1-15 feet. Every time we cut them back they would grow again, hurricane Matthew back in 2016 was a category 4 which did a number on our sunflowers but what amazed me was that though they were badly damaged within a few short months they bounced back as if they were never touched.
Sunflowers can bring both beauty and brightness to your landscapes and gardens they can tolerate the heat but what is also good about these plants is that the seeds are editable and can be harvested to eat as a healthy snack and for medical purposes.
When installing sunflowers a location chosen should be an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight, I guess the name says it all about the lighting needs of this plant.
When it comes to soil preference these garden beauties are not that particular, silt, clay, loam, or sandy soil will do.
Starting sunflowers from seeds requires that the soil be moist at all times but not waterlogged or saturated with water, keeping the soil moist during the plant’s growing process is so important. Once sunflowers reach maturity you should cut back on watering them because sunflowers develop a deep root system that causes them to be fairly drought-resistant.
The sunflowers which grew from my landscape looked really great and the interesting part is that we did not fertilize them, they seem to do fine even under this condition but if preferred the use of slow-release fertilizer will help in making up their nutrient content.
Garden insect pests of sunflowers
Sunflowers are fairly insect-free except for a moth that layers its eggs in the blossom, these moths are gray in color. Once the eggs hatch you will notice tiny worms, these worms can be removed from the plant by picking. Slugs and snails can also be a nuisance for more on how to control slugs and snails follow this link.
Diseases of sunflowers
Keep an eye out for these diseases and treat them immediately.
- Downy Mildew
Watch for these diseases during early spring and if spotted the use of a fungicide will bring plant disease under control.
A great way in keeping your sunflower growing healthy while looking great is by deadheading, deadheading is the removal of spent, droopy, or faded flowers. This process is done by looking under the faded flower and cutting it back to the next bud.
Remove the stalk beneath the dead flowers but above the first healthy leaf doing this will give you a new fresh set of bloom which will have your sunflowers looking so amazing. The use of a hand pruner will help in making your job a lot easier.
Container grown sunflowers
To grow sunflowers from containers ensure that the container is large enough to accommodate them so they can grow comfortably otherwise as the plant matures you will need to transplant than to a larger container and the last thing that you want is to keep disturbing the root system.
The sunflower seeds which are sowed should be disease-free, providing good topsoil that is nutrient-rich will get your seeds off to a good start. Once you have placed the soil in the container, add the seeds. The seeds should be press 1-2 inches into the soil.
Water your sunflower seeds keeping the soil somewhat moist and not saturated, in about a week to a week and a half your sunflower seeds should germinate. If your container is outdoors then the use of a net will protect your seeds from being eaten by birds.
Continue to give your sunflowers water as needed and stake your plant for support because the heavy flowers can place a lot of weight on the slender stalk.
Ideas on where to install sunflowers
1. Sunflowers can be used as a hedge or screen plant.
2. These garden beauties look great planted alongside a wall.
3. Install sunflowers alongside a fenced area.
4. What about along a garden walking pathway?
5. Us them as a backdrop in a garden plant bed.
6. Soften up that wall with these garden beauties.
Growing sunflowers indoors
To grow sunflowers indoors choose an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight placing the container near an east or south window. The container should also have drainage holes to allow excess water to drain, the use of a liquid feed plant food will offer some help. Don’t over fertilizer which can lead to excessive growth of the foliage with little flower yield. Before the application of fertilizers, it is best to read and follow the manufacture’s label because the label is the law.
1. If you are planting a wildlife garden sunflowers will attract birds, bees, and squirrels.
2. The sunflower can attract pollen from wind and insects.
3. They can also self pollinate.
4. Each sunflower contains more than 1500 seeds.
5. Not all sunflowers are yellow.
6. There are some species of sunflowers that are dwarf.
The final word
Investing in these garden beauties has so many benefits, sunflowers have proven to work wonders and as said earlier these plants can brighten up your garden and landscapes I have seen what sunflowers can do so go ahead and give them a try because you will be getting the best of both worlds which is beautification, attracting wildlife and harvesting the seeds which are editable.