Sunflowers are the most cheerful of flowers and make you feel like smiling when they open up to greet the sun. They are a great flower for little gardeners as they’re easy to grow, require little care and feel overwhelming when your under 100cm tall!
When & where to plant
To give your sunflowers the best start, prepare the garden bed well by turning the soil & removing any large lumps & weeds. Enrich the soil with a good amount of 5IN1 Organic Fertiliser as the plants require a good soil to anchor their bulky root system.
Sunflower seeds can be planted directly into the soil or into a seed-raising tray for planting out later. It’s recommended that you plant each Sunflower approximately 60cm apart for the larger varieties, as planting close together will result in smaller plants & flowers.
When transplanting your seedlings from a seed-raising tray, give them a feed of SeaMax Fish & Kelp to stimulate a healthy root system.
How to maintain
Sunflowers are generally a low maintenance plant, but give seedlings a helping hand by keeping them moist. When they reach approximately 30cm in height, give them a fortnightly feed of Searles Flourish, as this will give the plant the nutrients it needs to produce the flower head. Once the flowers start to appear, cease feeding.
Most sunflower varieties only produce one flower, but if you remove the plant tip when the seedling is approximately 20cm high, you can stimulate production of more buds on the stem. This will make your local bees & butterflies happy as Sunflowers provide essential nectar.
Pests & diseases
Sunflowers are rarely attacked by pests and may suffer from some powdery mildew when the plant begins to age. The plant can be treated with Searles Mancozeb after the effected leaves have been removed, but generally the plant is near expiry by this stage.
How to collect Sunflower seeds:
- Cut the flower head off the plant.
- Remove any small flowers off the seed surface & excess foliage.
- Put in a dry place for 2-3 weeks (dependent on weather) away from birds & any other ‘unwanted’ guests.
Fun things to do with Sunflower Seeds
- Re-plant the seeds & grow more flowers!
- Plot out a spot to make a Sunflower tipee
- Give seeds kits to your friends
- Roast them in the oven & throw them in a salad – yum