Sunflowers are simply magnificent. I think of them as the gentle giants of summertime. Not only are they gorgeous but they provide food for humans and wildlife alike. The one pictured above is a small variety that is only about four feet tall. Last year I had several growing in my yard.
Mammoth variety sunflowers are what you want to grow if you are planning on sunflower seeds for snacks. I also had mammoth sunflowers that were over six feet tall in my garden. The wildlife do not appear to be very particular, I haven’t had any variety that they don’t like.
Planting – Plant after the danger of frost has passed. They prefer dry, well-drained soil. My soil is sandy loam and they love it. The seedlings should be planted right into the ground spaced 2 -3 feet apart. They are happier left where they are planted. Transplanting is discouraged.
Sun – As their name suggests, they need the sun and a lot of it. Plant them in an open spot where they will receive the direct sun for as long as possible.
Water – They can withstand some drought but prefer to be watered regularly. Regular watering encourages the roots to grow. This will help to keep the plant upright. The flowers are very heavy and will start to bend when they are full of seeds. If the roots are too shallow, it is more likely to cause the whole plant to fall over. I mulch around the base of the flowers with dried leaves to help keep the roots moist.
Fertilizer – I haven’t ever had to use fertilizer. However, as I stated above, I do mulch with dried leaves around the base of the flowers. This does add nutrients over time as the leaves compost.
Blooming – They bloom in mid to late summer and last into the fall.
Sunflowers are very easy to grow and require very little attention. Because I feed the wildlife in my backyard sunflowers seeds year round, they repay me by planting some of them all over the yard and garden. I never know what I’m going to get but it is always beautiful. There is nothing like a pleasant surprise.
If you’ve never tried them, I would recommend that you do. They are definitely worth it. There is no choice; you simply have to smile when you see them.