Planting Sunflowers | Planting Tips

 Planting Sunflowers

Planting Sunflowers

 Planting Sunflowers

In late summer, the visual appeal of tall, towering yellow flower heads swaying in the autumn breeze is unrivaled; planting sunflowers in your yard will bring this lovely sight plus many other benefits of which you may not be aware.

Sunflowers are generally planted by seed, available for purchase in most any nursery or garden center.  Even many supermarkets offer flower seeds, including those for sunflowers.  The time for planting sunflowers is when the soil has reached a daytime temperature around 50°, which in many regions equates late spring. 

Thanks to vigorous cultivars that have been developed, there are actually many varieties of sunflowers available from which to choose.  The “Ring of Fire” variety is an especially appealing flower head, featuring as its name implies a red ring on the yellow petals close to the chocolate brown center.  There are a variety of plant sizes to choose from, as well; many gardeners have felt they simply did not have room to support the giant stalks upon which the most recognized sunflower faces rest.  Varieties have now been developed that reach only 2 to 3 feet tall, with the same lovely blooms or cultivated pom-pom blooms. 

Regardless of which type you choose, planting sunflowers remains just as easy as ever.  Large, black seeds are simple to plant, and germinate easily.  If you just can’t wait to plant them outdoors in late fall, the seeds can be started indoors using purchased peat pots.  Place two seeds in each pot, pushing into the soil so they are covered by about ¼ inch of soil.  Cover the pots with kitchen plastic wrap after watering the pots, and place them either near a sunny window or under lights.  Ensure that the pots remain moist but not wet.  Within two weeks, little seedlings will appear.  Remove the weaker of the two plants in each pot to allow the stronger one to gain even more strength and provide it the room it will need to grow.  Remove the plastic covering at this point, but keep the pots in the sunny location.  Water regularly, and apply a light fertilizer.  As the time approaches for planting sunflowers outdoors, begin hardening the plants off by taking them outside for increasingly longer periods each day.  When conditions are right for planting, place the pots containing the seedlings directly into the ground. 

Once the plants have reached maturity, each flower head will produce seeds.  These seeds can be used as a delicious snack for your family, either raw or roasted.  They can also be used to sustain any wintering birds in your area when left on the seed head.  Or, you may wish to save a few to sow again next year.

Planting sunflowers is such an easy gardening task that you will most certainly want to repeat the process year after year.

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