Sunflowers can be excellent fun to grow. Given the right conditions they can grow quickly and provide excellent height and flower in late autumn.
Sunflowers are considered easy to grow and are often considered to be a good plant for children. (see: Growing sunflowers with children) However, to get the best out of sunflowers requires a few careful points.
Grow as a Fence. Sunflowers can make an excellent impromptu screen for late summer. The height can divide a garden creating a natural sense of rooms. – something top garden designers often go for.
- H. ‘Pastiche': available in mixed shades of reds, and yellows. The flowers appear on multi-stemmed plants that make an effective multicoloured fence in late summer – from 1.2m to 1.5m (4ft to 5ft) high.
Proper Staking. Preventing sunflowers from falling over is one of the great challenges of growing them. Individually, you need a strong cane well dug into the soil. If you grow sunflowers in blocks it will be easier to provide staking for the group; they will give each other support as they grow.
Feeding. Sunflowers enjoy a rich well fed soil. If going for height, use a nitrogen based fertiliser, switching to potash (tomato food) as the buds begin to appear.
Watering. Sunflowers don’t like drying out and they can soon start to wither. Make sure they are well watered; each watering should aim to reach its roots, rather than just touching the surface.
Starting From Seed.
- Popping 2 or 3 seeds straight into well prepared ground in a sunny site will allow you to choose the strongest seedling and pinch out the others.
- Use copper grit or coffee grounds to protect seedlings from slugs.
- To get the best start for sunflowers sow 2cm deep just covering with soil and place in a 3 inch pot. When big enough you can plant out, hardening off if necessary. If you live in the colder regions delay planting the seeds.
- Do not start too early a cold spell can severely check a sunflower plant.
Best Location. Sunflowers like a sunny position and preferably not too windy.
Choose the right variety.
- If you want to grow a tall sunflower try a specific variety such as
- H. ‘Moonwalker': grown for its yellow face with a chocolate-dark centre; reaches a height of 1.2m to 1.5m (4ft to 5ft).
- H. ‘Russian Giant': If you are just interested in height and entering the record books.
- Sunflower Seeds at Thompson and Morgan
- Childrens sunflower – Russian Giant – only £0.99!