Here's How to Grow Sunflowers from Seeds

Loveleena Rajeev Jan 11, 2019
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You want the blaze of the sun in your yard, then simply learn how you can grow sunflowers using seeds. Read to know more about growing sunflowers from seeds for ornamental value and not commercial.
The brilliance of a sunflower's color flanked by the orange center can add life to the dullest corner of your garden. Native to American soil, a sunflower is the most recognized and cultivated flower in the world.
It is known for not just for its ornamental value, but for its edible and nutritious seeds and oil. To ensure a good flower show, follow the tips given here.

Sunflowers

Traditionally sunflowers are large and yellow, with one or two flowers per stem on large plants growing up to 8-10 feet, but many varieties have been introduced where the flowers are smaller, plants more compact, bushier and in red and orange color.
The outer petals are sterile, called 'ray flowers', while the real flowers are the hundred tiny 'disc florets' that make up the circular head. When the disc flowers mature, they become the edible seeds hidden in the inedible husk.
Sunflowers are the best examples of heliotropism, which is the motion of plant parts (flowers, leaves) in response to the sun's direction. Sunflower follows the sun from east to west, and at sunset returns eastward. Its wild cousin does not follow the sun but the leaves do!

Tips for Growing Sunflowers Using Seeds

Sunflowers are annuals, they need to be planted every year by starting them through seeds. The quality of your seed will determine the quality of your plant and subsequently the flower. Popular spring flowers, the sunflower will only flower well in full sun.
Partial shade does not really do any good for these sun worshipers. They can be grown in large pots or in flower beds, and as screens, they make very bright screens, especially the tall variety. Choose the variety you want.
Sunflower seeds are large, hence can be sowed directly in the intended location. But birds and ants quite fancy them, so you can be sure when the seedlings sprout, gaps will be there. So sow two to three seeds at a time.
Some prefer to start them indoors. Sow seeds in rich and well drained soil early spring. Keep the soil moist, once the seedlings sprout, acclimatize them to full sun gradually. Transplant at a four leaf stage.
Prepare a sunny spot by digging deep and adding lots of organic compost or a slow releasing fertilizer. Sunflowers have large appetites and long taproots, and as they grow the soil needs to be constantly replenished to realize the sunflower plant's full potential.
Thin the sunflower seedling as per the variety, giant sized plants should be spaced two to three feet apart, while miniatures can be a feet apart. As the plant begins to grow, build a berm around it and feed with liquid fertilizer once a week.
Never directly apply fertilizer closer to the stems or roots, always around the berm. Sunflower roots can penetrate the soil at nearly 4-5 feet, pouring fertilizer directly on the stems will cause them to rot.
Water them well and in about two months, your sunflower buds will begin to appear.
Watch the flowers bloom, and harvest the nutritious sunflower seeds. Let all the petals wilt and fall off naturally. Simply cut off the flower head and hang it by the stalk to dry in a well ventilated area.
In a weeks time, extract the seeds by brushing the flower head against your hand. Blow away the chaff and store the seeds in clean jar. Planting this sun plant will not only give solace to the eyes of the beholder, but nutrition packed seeds too!
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