How To Grow Sunflower – Capture The Sun And Turn It Into A Flower

Which flower reminds you of the summer the most? For me, that’s our star of today’s article. This statement is almost literal since it really looks like sun’s disc or the Sun which children would draw. Therefore, let me show you how to grow sunflower.

To be honest, I haven’t thought much about introducing sunflowers to my garden. They are, after all, industrial plants, and I didn’t have the idea how they would fit in. Long story short, I was wrong, as these tall, bright plants made a whole new sensation to my backyard.

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Common Knowledge About Sunflowers

Sunflower

Although we all know how sunflower looks like and what can be made of it, there are still some facts which are unknown to an average gardener. To rectify this, here are some general facts about this amazing plant.

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    All sunflower species come from North America except for couple of Mexican kinds
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    Sunflowers will track the sun for real; this phenomenon is called heliotropism
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    The head of the sunflower is actually a collection of tiny flowers
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    This plant is an industrial one; cooking oil is often made of it
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    The seeds in sunflower’s head are arranged in Fibonacci’s spiral
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    Some varieties of sunflower can taller than 16 feet
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    A lot of sun is required to grow nice sunflowers
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    Soil for growing these can be of any kind, but the best is loamy with a pinch of sand-Wide pH range makes them able to grow on most kind of ground
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    These plants are usually situated next to a fence

As we can see, sunflowers aren’t picky when it comes to conditions of growing. However, this doesn’t mean that you can just leave them to grow on their own. There are steps which need to be taken, in order to maintain your sunflowers as healthy as possible.

Required Tools And Equipment

Sunflower seeds

When it comes to tools and material necessary to grow sunflowers, not much is needed. You probably have everything ready. Just in case, let’s see which pieces of equipment are required, shall we?

  • Hoe and other digging tools (rake, shovel)
  • Spade
  • Gloves
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Old manure (this is important)
  • Net cover and cheesecloth later

Apparently, besides net cover and seeds, you have already what is needed. You can add mild manure tea to this list, or diluted fertilizer. These guys don’t like potent nutrients but need a lot of it. Therefore, we will prepare the ground rather than fertilize them later.

Preparation Of The Soil

Prepare soil

As you know, sunflowers are usually tall plants. There are small varieties, but in general, they grow in decent heights. This is why they need proper and robust rooting system, and the only way to get it is to prepare the soil the right way.

Begin, as always, with setting a location. Sunflowers need from 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day, and the fact that they are vulnerable to strong winds doesn’t make things any easier. Therefore, see which side of the garden has the most light, and where the fence is. This will give much-needed cover.

Now, I have said that sunflowers need a lot of food, and we are going to infuse a significant amount of old manure. It is essential that compost or whatever you are using is not fresh. This kind is still brimming with nutrients which can backfire and kill the plant.

Therefore, add several inches of organic fertilizer which I have mentioned, and work the soil as deep as possible. This is also important because the ground needs to be fluffy for roots to spread. For this purpose, make sure that you work in at least 2ft of depth.

When it comes to the acidity of the soil, you only have to take a look at your garden. If the rest of the plants are grown without problems, then the sunflowers will grow nicely as well. Beans are usually good indicators since they require the same pH as sunflowers. If you are uncertain, grab your pH measuring unit, and check the numbers.

Sowing Time!

Sowing

The best time for sowing is when the soil is at least 50-60°F. This usually means late April or first half of May. By this time the danger of frost is usually passed, and the conditions are ideal for planting.

In case that you wish to have a row of sunflowers next to the fence, you will want to start with making a row about an inch deep and plant one seed per 6”. Don’t crowd them too much, because even if you thin them later, there won’t be much nutrients for all seeds at the germinating phase. If you are making multiple rows, space them at least 30” apart.

Mild manure tea can be sprayed right after planting, since it will provide water and nutrients, but won’t damage the plant. There are several recipes available, but these 15 organic fertilizers will got you covered. 

It is imperative to look after birds at this stage. They will often dig out the seeds and eat them. After all, this is natural to them; they use sunflower seeds as food. Keep the birds away, or if you can’t do anything more, use row covers, since these mechanical obstacles are the best and non-lethal solution.

Care, Pests, And Diseases

Pests

When it comes to maintenance, there isn’t much to say. Some plants will require fertilizing during the growing season, but I would recommend you to pass on this practice when it comes to sunflowers. Why, I can hear you ask? Because if you fertilize the plants, they will grow too much in height, which will make them susceptible to breaking.

Instead, focus on watering. Most of the plants will need constant watering, but sunflowers don’t. They need more substantial amounts of water at once. For example, several gallons once per week, but added so that it reaches the roots and makes them stronger.

As of pests, we have a bit strange situation here. There won’t be many worms, bugs, and aphids, but those larger ones such as squirrels and birds will often visit sunflowers. They feed on its seed, so throw those cheesecloths over heads of the sunflower, and it should keep them away.

Diseases to be expected are more or less well-known. Rust and powdery mildew will invade sunflowers in most of the cases, but if you space plants nicely, you should do fine. If it still appears, try a sulfur-based fungicide.

Conclusion

So, we’re at the end of this article. As you can see, learning how to grow sunflower is not difficult, and growing them is equally easy. Therefore, prepare your garden, and start planting those sun disks!

Like every time, your comments, opinions or thoughts are more than welcome in the comment section below.

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