You'll need a packet (about 25 seeds) of sunflowers, varieties that grow about 6 to 8 feet tall. of 3: Harden them off for about a week before planting out in the garden. The easiest way to grow sunflowers is to sow them directly in the ground where you want to grow them! Sunflowers are as delicious to eat as they are joyful to look at. The easiest way to grow sunflowers is to sow them directly in the ground where you want to grow them! Smaller cultivars that grow to only two to three feet or less are popular as well, especially among gardeners who like to grow theirs in containers. They were so alluring that the driver stopped the bus and let all the students hop out to take photos of the tall beauties. To control existing infestations, spray the backs of the flower heads with insecticidal soap or a neem oil mixture. There’s not much you can do once white mold hits your sunflower patch, except pull and destroy affected plants and hope that the disease doesn’t spread too much. This is because this type of soil is often treated with fertilizers that will help your sunflower grow tall, produce vibrant colors, and will have a lengthier life. 6. Sunflower seed spitting contests are optional, although they still occur at the odd county fair or expo. To prevent an infestation, try planting squash, peas, or tomatoes in the same area as your sunflowers – grasshoppers tend to avoid these. This protects the long stems from the wind so they don’t get blown over. Keep moist until germination, which should occur in 7-10 days. Add it to the planting area according to package instructions when seedlings have several sets of true leaves. Rake the ground to create a level surface with a fine, crumbly texture. Water thoroughly, and then voila! Lots of people love snacking on the seeds. Cut the flower head off the plant and remove the seeds. They need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day to grow properly. Now, if you really want to sow seeds indoors before the danger of frost passes, you can do it. Suman Das from Guwahati in Assam is sharing tips to grow. Think of these small black weevils (Haplorhynchites aeneus) as little sunflower serial killers. below the list I’ve gone into more detail. Planting the Seed. It thrived even after the first fall frost hit Alaska. Harvest the seeds after most of the flower petals have died and dropped off. Tamp the soil back over it, and water in well. Sunflowers are popular mainstays in many home gardens and growing them can be especially rewarding. Plus they’re easy and inexpensive to grow! Sunflowers are great for wildlife as many garden birds love to eat sunflower seeds. For more garden planting ideas, check out my blog: Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas. There are a variety of maladies and creepy-crawlies to watch out for when you’re growing sunflowers. The fat, greenish larvae and the adults both like to eat through the foliage, often skeletonizing entire plants. Also known as Sclerotinia wilt, white mold is the most devastating sunflower disease out there. Once you’ve set the seeds in the trench, cover them with an inch of soil and water thoroughly. You can put down barriers such as copper tape, set beer traps or physically remove slugs to keep them under control, or cut the bottoms off plastic bottles and use them to cover the seedlings. They have brown centres that turn black as they develop into seed heads. Location: Sunflowers grow best in sun-lit conditions. When planting outdoors, the sunflower thrives in Hardiness zones two to eleven. While they feed mostly at night, cutworms like to hang out during the day in the soil, or under weeds growing within a few feet of their chosen victim. Then plant them in prepared soil in the garden and water well. More on this later. As the plants grow taller, they may need staking to support the tall stems. Is your sunflower foliage suddenly speckled with yellow-ringed black spots? Sunflower sprouts are also easy to grow indoors, as long as you have warmth and light. Seriously, how delicious do those chicken fingers look? To do this, allow the seeds to mature on the plant. Read more here for tips and tricks on protecting your seeds from birds and squirrels. Read more about harvesting sunflower seeds here, Growing Heliotropes: Fragrant Vintage Charmers, How to Use Elderflowers for Food and Medicine, The Best Companion Plants to Grow with Dill, How to Create a Naturalized Daffodil Planting, Putting a Blanket on Blanket Flowers: Gaillardia Winter Care Guide, How to Identify and Control Caraway Pests and Diseases, Cutworms, grasshoppers, headclipping weevils, sunflower beetles; alternaria blight, phoma black stem, phomopsis stem canker, rhizopus head rot, rust, white mold, Plant in an area with full sun (at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight), Fertilize lightly with a balanced 5-5-5 NPK fertilizer, Raw, unshelled seeds can last in the pantry for 2-3 months, or in the fridge or freezer for up to one year, Roasted, shelled seeds last for 3-4 months in the pantry, and up to a year in the fridge or freezer, Roasted, unshelled seeds last for 4-5 months in the pantry, and for a year in the fridge or freezer. The versatile H. annuus is a member of the Asteraceae or daisy family, along with marigolds, asters, and the humble dandelion, to name a few. While there are no effective control measures available, keeping sunflower head moth and bud moth populations under control can help to prevent the spread of this disease. If you catch these insects early and repel them with insecticidal soap or neem oil, there’s a good chance your sunflower crop will survive and thrive. And for more information about growing edible flowers in your garden, check out these articles next: Photos by Kelli McGrane, Laura Melchor, and Meghan Yager © Ask the Experts, LLC. That’s all there is to it! Treating Sunflower Microgreen Seeds We recommend pouring 1-teaspoon of 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide over every 25-grams of sunflower seeds. Alternatively, you can plant the seeds closer for a smaller bloom overall. Thankfully, if the larvae stay inside the stems, your buds will probably open just fine. Grow sunflowers in full sun in a sheltered spot – preferably against a wall or fence. This gives them plenty of space and time to develop the taproots and send them down deep. Thin seedlings once they have a set of true leaves, keeping the strongest one in each pot or cell, and transplant them out after all danger of frost has passed, or when seedlings are about three to four inches tall. If you want to use the sunflowers in vases, cut them early in the morning and display in tall containers that support the flower heads. I’ve added new ranges of outdoor living furniture to my website. You can also use the seeds to make a healthier breading for fried chicken, as in this Foodal recipe. Take the pots outside on warm days and bring back in at night. Phosphorus and potassium can encourage bigger blooms, while nitrogen supports leaf growth. Pour the peroxide right on the seed and stir the seed around. In fact, remember that photo of a big bloom from my flowerbed? Cover the flower heads when the petals wilt with a thin layer of horticultural fleece to stop birds stealing the seeds. ‘Mammoth Russian’ also produces excellent seeds for snacking, with thin, easy-to-crack shells and meaty kernels. Let the flower dry on or off the stem until the back of the head turns brown, the foliage turns yellow, … These microgreens have a sweet nutty flavor and a thick crunchy texture to them. From there, gardeners spread the flower throughout the rest of the continent and on to Russia. Some varieties are among the tallest flowers grown anywhere. To add some spice to your sunflower seeds, place two cups of freshly-roasted seeds in a jar with a lid while still warm. Like other plants with taproots, sunflowers grow best when sowed directly into the yard or garden. Aim to find a balanced 5-5-5 (NPK) fertilizer, which you’ll only need to use once. Choose a variety of sunflower that fits your garden needs. Or do what many gardeners do: allow the bright blooms to act as a natural bird and squirrel feeder, and let the animals have their share. Push the seed 1.5cm into the compost and water in. Provide Rich, Well-Draining Soil. Pollination 7. Harvesting These common bugs don’t do tons of damage to sunflower plants, but they do like to chew on the foliage and sometimes the seeds. If you want small flower heads, plant the seeds two to four inches apart. If you already have a fully grown sunflower plant, put the seeds from the flower in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge. We hear this all the time in gardening. This moth’s cream-colored 3/8- to 5/8-inch larvae (Suleima helianthana) do the damage here. Other than that, insects are rarely a problem for sunflowers. This is true even for larger cultivars, although the smaller size will be relative: a smaller ‘Russian Mammoth’ flower, for example,  won’t be as small as a smaller ‘Dwarf’ variety. However, where the growing season is short, sunflowers can be safely planted up to 2 weeks before the last expected spring frost. Which sunflower seeds should I choose? Looking to get started with growing microgreens at home? Whereas with the furrow method, it is possible to plant about 10 kg of watermelon seeds per hectare. After being roasted, a sunflower seed won't sprout. Push a bamboo cane into the soil and loosely tie the stem to it. I know, I know! The really big plants have smaller flowers, because their long stems cannot support anything heavier. Which variety of sunflower seeds you choose will depend on what you want to use them for. With the dibbling method, one can sow about 5 to 7 kg of sunflower seeds per hectare land. Then, cut off the seed heads and about two inches of stem. H. annuus flowers are annuals, so you can grow them just about anywhere, but they don’t like to get too cold. Ukraine and Russia alone produce half the world’s supply, with Argentina, Turkey, France, Hungary, Spain, and China growing most of the remainder of what’s sold commercially. Some gardeners welcome this and grow these bright yellow blooms as a living bird feeder. If you plan to eat most of your seeds, here are a few important points to remember: Sunflower seeds aren’t just good for snacks! If wind is a problem as the flowers grow taller, you can stake them. To avoid infection, refrain from overhead watering and make sure there’s plenty of airflow between plants. Planting Sunflower Seeds. Sunflowers are happy, summery flowers and so easy to grow. How to Grow Sunflowers Method 1 But keep in mind that branching varieties will naturally branch out, so this isn’t strictly necessary to obtain more than one lovely flower. It is caused by the fungi Alternaria helianthi and A. zinniae. The best thing to do if you notice decapitated flower heads is to burn or otherwise get rid of them. Space each hole two to twelve inches apart, depending on your flower head size preference and the cultivar you have selected. They are ready when the back of the flower head turns brown and the seeds darken. … If you are growing from seeds, they will need abundant warmth and sunshine in order to germinate. The birds love them, too! Check the seed packet to make sure, and keep in mind that branching varieties need more space than single-stemmed types. Sunflower seeds are sown by the Dibbling and furrow method. The tasty seeds are filled with iron, protein, vitamin E, fiber, and zinc, so they’re nutritious any way you choose to enjoy them. Try mixing these three-foot-tall plants with one of the yellow varieties for a captivating show in your garden. सितंबर से अप्रैल-मई के बीच का समय सूरजमुखी लगाने के लिए सबसे उपयुक्त रहता है! Seasoning sunflower seeds can add a tasty spin to an old favorite. If you notice cutworm damage and find larvae nearby, it’s time to handpick as many as you can find and get rid of them. For branching varieties, pinch the tops when they have four to five sets of true leaves to encourage bushy growth and multiple flower heads. Plant sunflower seeds at least 6-inches apart. You can also sow sunflower seeds indoors first. Here are the top five sunflower foes. Hydrogen peroxide can also be sprayed on the seeds and young plants if fungus forms as they grow. To reduce the chance of an infestation, keep the surrounding area free of weeds, which can be host plants for the moths and their larvae. For an excellent supply of summer-long bouquets, succession-plant these beauties in your garden for four or five weeks in the spring. These critters adore the seeds, with good reason. Because of its many culinary uses, H. annuus is grown around the world as a food crop. Flowering. But once a flower reaches maturity, it settles into a comfortable east-facing position and stays there until it dies. But if they decide to attack the unopened buds as well, those flowers will be ruined. Check the ties don’t get too tight as the plant grows. Water well and keep somewhere warm until they germinate. So choose a sunny area in your garden to plant these flowers. Press the sunflower seeds up … Like many other members of the daisy family, sunflowers are heliotropic, meaning the blossoms turn to follow the sun when they’re growing and developing. Fill individual pots with seed compost and sow the seeds 12mm deep on their sides. Cutworms are moth larvae, and they eat the foliage, creating holes in young leaves, and making young plants wilt and sometimes die. Dig over the soil and remove any weeds. Try to plant the seeds as soon as possible. Outdoor gardeners rely on a warm growing season and plant sunflower seeds after the last frost of the year. 4. They filled our hearts with joy, as sunflowers do. When the growing season is long, wait until the soil temperature in the pot reaches 55 to 60 degrees F. Sunflowers grow best in a slightly acidic to fairly alkaline soil (ideal level is pH 6.0 to 7.5). Germination. Young sunflower shoots, or sunnies, are completely edible and boast a delicate nutty flavor. She’s especially proud of the flowerbeds she and her three-year-old son built with rocks dug up from their little Alaska homestead. After Spring frost has lifted in your region and you've selected a planting area, create plenty of space for the rows where you will grow the sunflowers. Keep the ground moist while the seeds germinate and protect seedlings from slugs. COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. "It takes 95 percent less water to grow sunflower seeds than it does nuts, which is pretty astounding," Randolph says. Cover pots with a clear plastic bag and place in a cool but bright place. From family sets to intimate two seater table and chairs, there is something for everyone. If any of your sunflower stems or buds have curled inward and they sport a strange black substance around the damaged area, you probably have bud moth larvae on your hands. Once the seedlings have germinated, thin them out to 45cm apart. In Spanish, the word for sunflower is girasol, which translates to “a trip around the sun,” or mirasol, which translates to “looks at the sun.”. Here’s a nice, varied selection of sunflowers, both tall and small(ish), to grow in your home garden: Want an enormous bloom to enter into a state fair competition? Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. Or you can harvest them for yourself. Sunflower sprouts and sunflower microgreens are an easy to grow and underutilized salad green that is fun to grow at home. If you do want to keep them from eating all the seeds… These flowers are super easy to grow, and they aren’t picky about their growing conditions. How to grow sunflowers – how to plant sunflowers Sow sunflower seeds into individual pots of peat-free, multi-purpose compost in April. Sow seeds outdoors from mid-April to May when all risk of frost has passed. Backyard Sunflower Garden Plants Some people may decide to grow sunflowers so that they can harvest the seeds or others just like the happy sight of growing sunflower fields. The seedling, leaf and plant development. When the seedlings have two sets of leaves, begin hardening them off. The "how to grow sunflower sprouts" method we share below uses a soil-based growing medium that is mixed with worm castings and watered with seaweed solutions. Depending on the type of rust, these cause orange, yellow, or whitish spots to develop on leaves and sometimes even the stems. According to experts at the Department of Entomology at Kansas State University,  they don’t tend to destroy entire plants. Once these spots develop, it’s only a matter of time before the entire head shrivels and fills with spores can easily spread to surrounding plants in windy conditions. So do we, after all! While wild H. annuus is a branching flower that supports more than one bloom, single-stem, single-bloom cultivars are popular for their incredible height. Growing a Bud 5. Sow the seeds 12mm deep and 45cm apart, and water in. The result? When seedling appears, excess seedling should be thinned after two weeks of the seedling. Also, did you know that sunflower sprouts are edible? You can also spread diatomaceous earth around the plant to kill the soft-bodied insects, or release beneficial nematodes, like these from Arbico Organics. Read more about harvesting sunflower seeds here. A good trick is to plant sunflowers close to a fence, which can be used for support. They prefer USDA Hardiness Zones 2-11, and they definitely want you to wait to plant them outdoors until all danger of frost has passed. Loosen the soil using your hands or a hand trowel. Plant seeds 1.5cm deep, 10cm apart and water well. Have you ever grown sunflowers? It is also one of the toughest flowering plants that can grow in diverse environmental conditions. Sow one seed per 7.5cm pot. Garden potted soil is always best to use for sunflowers. Rake the surface to a fine crumbly texture. Many people also want to harvest the tasty sunflower seeds. – you can grow beautiful sunflowers right in your own yard or garden. 2. You can grow a crop from seed to harvest in as little as 12 to 14 days. If you’re a beginning gardener or you want a fun gardening project for your kids to do, growing H. annuus is the way to go. To keep your blooms happy and strong for their summer growth, water them once or twice a week, depending on how much rain you get. Dig over the soil and remove any weeds. Growing Sunflowers … They like to bore into stems, and occasionally budding flowers. Various types of fungal rust infections can plague sunflowers, including yellow rust (caused by Coleosporium helianthi), white rust (caused by Albugo tragopogonis), and red rust (caused by Puccinia helianthi). Updated and revised May 14, 2020. Along with their cheerful beauty and long-standing culinary value, sunflowers are also known for their height. How to Grow Sunflower at Home in a Pot or grow bag on Terrace or Balcony. Tall-growing varieties (over 2m) are best grown in the ground, but dwarf forms such as 'Teddy Bear' that grow to only 50cm are good in pots. Sunflowers are a great way to start. Sunflowers, Helianthus annuus, like other members of the Asteraceae family, have complex reproductive structures.The center disk is made up of hundreds of tiny inflorescences, surrounded by large ray-like petals around the outside. See our TOS for more details. Hang the heads to dry by their stems in a well-ventilated area. What was your favorite part about the process? To check the soil for moisture, stick your finger one inch down. Despite its global renown, the sunflower originated in North America and was a major food crop for many indigenous peoples. Let’s get started! "Seeds should be planted approximately one inch deep in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil." There’s no effective fungicide available for treating these diseases, so the best thing to do is practice crop rotation, select resistant cultivars, avoid overly damp conditions, and ensure adequate airflow between plants. They’ll remain viable for up to seven years! Change the water regularly to keep them fresh. Keep them moist. As a freelance writer, she contributes to several websites and blogs across the web. Continue this for a week to acclimatise the plants to outdoor conditions. This is a great garden project for children and adults alike. Laura Melchor grew up helping her mom in the garden in Montana, and as an adult she’s brought her cold-weather gardening skills with her to her home in Alaska.