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The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is an annual plant with a sizeable daisy-like flower face. Its scientific name comes from the Greek words helios (“sun”) and anthos (“flower”). The flowers come in many colors (yellow, blue,purple,black,white,green,pink,red, orange, maroon, brown), but they are commonly bright yellow with brown centers that ripen into heavy heads filled with seeds. Sunflowers make excellent cut flowers, and many attract bees, birds, and butterflies.
Sunflowers are heliotropic, which means that they turn their flowers to follow the movement of the Sun across the sky from east to west and then return at night to face the east, ready again for the morning sun.
A moistish environment is all the seeds need, there are no need for too much water or fertilizer in the germination.Generally 3 to 4 weeks it will sprout.
When to Plant Sunflowers
- It’s best to sow sunflower seeds directly into the garden (or outdoor containers) after the danger of spring frost has passed, anytime after soils have warmed to at least 50°F (10°C).
- In the northern half of the U.S. and in Canada, this will fall between April and mid-June. In the South, this will probably occur in mid-March or early April.
- Sunflowers dislike having their roots disturbed, so we recommend direct sowing instead of transplanting.
Planting Sunflower Seeds
- Sunflowers should be planted 1 to 1½ inches deep and about 6 inches apart after the soil has thoroughly warmed. If you wish, you can plant multiple seeds and thin them to the strongest contenders when the plants are six inches tall.
- Give plants plenty of room, especially for low-growing varieties that will branch out. Make rows about 30 inches apart. (For very small varieties, plant closer together.)
- A light application of fertilizer mixed in at planting time will encourage strong root growth to protect them from blowing over in the wind.
- Experiment with plantings staggered over 5 to 6 weeks to keep enjoying continuous blooms.
- If you see birds scratching around for the seeds, spread netting over the planted area until seeds germinate.