When purchasing seeds, keep in mind that most commercial varieties of sunflowers seeds are hybrids. This won't make a difference when consuming the seeds, but if your planning on collecting seed for future stock, look for heirloom varieties instead. Seeds should be planted at a depth of 2 inches and spaced 12 inches apart in rows spaced 24 inches apart. Tall varieties or those with extra large heads will need more space. Germination occurs quickly, usually within 7-10 days (often sooner). Most varieties reach maturity in 80-90 days.
The twenty-day period leading up to harvest is the most critical time in the development of sunflower seeds. Avoid placing water stress on plants during this time (either too much or too little) and keep soil moisture levels as consistent as possible.
Non-Insect Pests: Birds and Squirrels love sunflower seeds as much as the gardeners that grow them. Because sunflower seeds mature right around the time these critters are gearing up for fall, your sunflower crop can quickly become ransacked if not protected. Cover sunflower heads with nylon stockings, cheesecloth or paper bags to make robbing the seeds more difficult. Avoid growing your sunflowers near fences or low buildings that offer quick access to squirrels.
Insect Pests: Sunflower moths (the larvae), aphids and white flies are the primary insect pests to watch out for. Sunflowers need bees for pollination, so the use of chemical insecticides isn't recommended. Aphids and white flies can usually be kept under control by periodically spraying your sunflowers with a strong jet of water. Delaying planting until late May or early June will reduce the likelihood of sunflower moth problems.
This sounds like fun...and requires a little more watchfulness.
I may try this IF the several varieties of seed I have are not too old. How old is too old? Can sunflowers be raised in a bale of hay? I have extra hay bales and have been collecting suggestions about growing things in it, and also in straight compost! Any ideas? God bless you.
Thank for the info. I found it to be very helpful. This is my first time growing sun flowers.
By PJ from Oklahoma
hey beachers, did you move from Tennessee?
There was a house around here that was up for sale last fall with a field full of these giant yellow wonders.
Eralier this year while cleaning out the feeders I dumped the old seeds into a few empty posts from past year. I know have some budding plants which I believe to be sunflower. I plan on transplanting them into the field nest to the house.
I love sunflowers! I just don't seem 2 have any luck. I get them growing just 2 where they're gonna bloom n something happens. 1 year it was the rain. The next it was winds. I'm gonna try again next year. wish me luck, all.
I captured these photos of a goldfinch eating the sunflower seeds from our flowers in our front garden. I took the pictures from inside looking through our glass doors.
I tried to grow these 20 years ago, but a big storm took them away. Now I have been growing the biggest I have ever seen for the last two years. I love watching them grow; it is fabulous.
I captured these photos of the bees on our sunflowers busy pollinating the flowers.
By lovingnature from TN
Tips for growing sunflowers from the ThriftyFun community. Plant them in full sun. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart (or according to package directions). Water well after planting.
I have been growing very special sunflowers for two years now. They seem to really take off as soon as I put the seed in the ground. It is almost magical.
I have found feeding your flowers with a nice solution of plant food makes your blooms look wonderful. . .
Any tips for growing sunflowers?
Well, the obvious answer is full sun! We plant them near our barn so that they are sheltered from damaging wind, and make sure the soil is very loose and rich. A bumper crop every year!
I agree, just lots of sun. Sunflowers are super easy, you shouldn't have a big problem.
I have entered a competition to grow the tallest sunflower. At the moment it is three feet, but has started to come into flower. Will this stop the plant from growing taller?
It will probably stop now. You will probably get more blooms and they will be a bit taller.
Here's a guide if you would like to try again: http://www.sunflowerguide.com/giant-sunflower.html
Are sunflowers perennials? Do they re-grow each year or do you have to plant new seeds every year?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Mark from Birmingham, MI
While most sunflowers are annuals and the seeds have to be replanted every year, there ARE some very similar to sunflowers that are perennials, depending on the SIZE that you want. Check out by googling or ask etc to ask what is similar to sunflowers but are perennials. I know that helleniums (I am not sure of the spelling), and I think Mullins are similar, if you want tall ones. But if you want true sunflowers, you must plant every year! (But they are sure worth it in beauty!)
Sunflowers are annuals, but do self-seed! Mulliens look like overgrown Foxglove, are annuals too, and also self-seed prolifically. They are not nearly as pretty as sunflowers, and can be quite invasive and do only come in yellow! Helleniums are family members and some are perennials. There are so many beautiful Sunflowers, it is just fun to plant different colors/versions each year. They are varied from creamy whites, to beautiful deep burgundies, even multi-colored!
My questions are, why are they "bending" like that? Is it normal? What can I do to make them straight? Although some of them grow straight and are not bending like that. Should I move them to pots? I can't plant them out yet because they are so tiny, weak and will be destroyed by rain or wind.