A Guide to Growing Sunflower Plants

Gardenerdy Staff Oct 29, 2018
Sunflowers growing in your backyard is like having your personal share of happiness at your doorstep. Provided you are equipped with the right know how, growing sunflower plants can be a fun-filled and completely satisfying hobby. These are tips on how to get started.
These gorgeous, sunny, and bright colored flowers can brighten up any day! With the kind of varieties of sunflowers that are seen today, one can have a field day having them grown at home! Its stem can grow up to a height of 3 meters.
Not only is it beautiful to look at, this flower is very useful to us in many ways as well. If growing plants is more than just a hobby to you, then take a look at some tips on growing sunflower plants mentioned here.
First, you need to consider the location. You must ensure that the particular area receives ample sunlight. Before you begin planting the seeds, consider the amount of sunlight and the direction of the wind. Sunflowers need a full sun, so choose an area that gets steady sunlight for at least 6 hours.
Always ensure you plant the seeds at least one inch deep into the soil. You must also keep a distance of 6 inches between each seed. Avoid planting sunflowers just before the winter season. If you have to plant them in pots, ensure that you keep these pots on a windowsill that comes in the way of plenty of sunlight.
Not all seeds are equal. You can do this small yet very effective activity to check for seeds that germinate. Wrap them in a moist paper towel for a few days and check out which seeds germinate first. You can then choose and plant the sprouted seeds.
It is said that these plants can be grown in a variety of soils. As per experts, sunflowers prefer soils that drain well and have a lot of mulch. Mixing some manure to soil a few days before planting seeds also helps greatly. This non-fussy plant, hence, can be grown without worrying too much about soil requirement.
This plant needs plenty of water as well. Ensure you water it on a daily basis to prevent them from getting withered in the sun. This is also the basic reason why you must use a well-drained soil. Seedlings should be watered deeply during the initial months. This will ensure that they develop healthy roots.
You may at times need to keep a check on the height of the stems of the plant. Sometimes, these plants may grow really tall, which would depend upon the variety you have used.
Therefore, you might need to tie it up with the help of a string so that the stem does not snap off by a sudden gust of wind. If you are keen on yielding the tall variety, plant them next to a fence, which can give it some support as it grows.
Always remember that you need to think about other plants in the garden as well. Tall sunflower plants can block the sunlight and the wind for other plants. This can be useful if you have planted varieties that require less sunlight and the shade provided by the sunflowers can be a blessing in disguise.
You may also come across the problem of weeds. You will need to be especially careful when these plants are still in their initial stages of growth.
Another factor you would need to be wary of is certain diseases that can harm your plant. Fungi cause certain diseases that can affect sunflower plants to a great extent.
Downy mildew is one such disease, which is a kind of fungi that grows beneath the leaves. This can also cause the stem to blacken. Keep a daily check to keep beetles away. These are known to eat into the plant, damaging it in the process.
Insects can pose a big problem as well. In that case, the most useful insect would be the bee, because they help in the process of cross-pollination. Some of the common insects found in the plants are the sunflower midges, sunflower beetles, sunflower bud moth, gray sunflower seed weevil, sunflower stem weevil, etc.
Birds are bound to steal the seeds from this plant. If you want to protect the seeds, you would need to use some cheesecloth as a protective cover for the flower heads.
You should check the flower head to know when the harvest would begin. Here, the florets in the center should be shriveled. The heads should be turned to the bottom side. There would also be some lemon yellow color on the backside.
Cut the seed and keep some of the stem attached to it. Hang this in a safe place away from insects and also keep it in a ventilated area. Use cheesecloth to cover it so that it can hold seeds that tend to fall down.
Growing sunflower plants can be a relaxing and also a very fruitful hobby. Use these tips to yield a healthy crop and watch your backyard transform from a normal garden into an amazingly beautiful haven!
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