How To Grow The Best Sunflowers
Sunflowers: Facts How To Plant Grow and Care for a Sunflower
Sunflowers are an attractive looking flower that you can grow in your summer garden that is normally grown for its big sunshine flowers and also for its seeds that have many uses and benefits. The bright and big yellow coloured daisy-like petals with brown centres make the sunflower plant a big attraction in any garden. These annual plants have large and thick leaves. The roots of the plant are tuberous and creepy. The sunflower plants belong to the Asteraceae family. The large flower head can grow up to 30cm wide that’s 12 inches and the stem of the sunflower plant can grow to about 3 metres tall. The botanical name of sunflower is Helianthus. The sunflower plant has few branches and its stem is massive, thick and erect. Planting sunflowers is a great way to introduce children to gardening.
Description of the Sunflower Plant
The flower head of the sunflower is made of thousands of very small flowers known as florets. The centre florets resemble the centre of a normal flower and the other florets on the outside look like yellow petals. The main use of this flower head is to attract birds and insects that will help in pollinating it. The outer petals of the sunflower can come out in red, yellow, orange or other colours. The centre florets mature to form the sunflower seeds. Each of the florets will orient towards the next floret and will follow a spiral arrangement pattern. The external portion of the sunflower is formed by infertile flowers that are arranged in one or two rows and look like the petals. They are golden yellow in colour and are seen during the summer to autumn period.
Growing the Sunflower Plant at Home
The facts are that a sunflower plant thrives in areas where it gets full sun exposure. It needs to be exposed to direct sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours a day. It prefers to grow on loose, loamy, well-drained soil as it has long tapped roots and secondary roots as well. The plant flowers during the hot summer period and the soil has to be slightly alkaline or basic.
- It is ideal to plant the sunflower seeds after the frost in spring. If you want to grow the tallest sunflower you will need to select and plant the Russian giant sunflower seeds and sow the seeds early.
- The best month to plant sunflower seeds in Australia is in early November, when the soil temperature reaches at least 15C.
- Sunflower seeds love to grow directly in the soil, as sunflower plants do not like being moved.
- The plants have to be planted with enough room between them. Two plants have to be at least 6 to 10 inches apart to grow well.
- The large seeds have to be placed in soil that is about 1 inch in depth from the topsoil and each large seed must be placed 6 inches apart.
- In order to help the sunflower plant develop strong roots, you can add a light fertiliser to the soil when planting the seeds.
- You can even cover the seeds with netting till the seed germinates. This will help in keeping the small birds such as sparrows away.
Caring for the Sunflower Plant
- Water the plant around its root zone when it is small.
- Once grown, water the plant deeply to encourage deep roots to develop.
- Feeding the plant with fertiliser has to be done in moderation.
- Tall varieties might need some support when it grows. Use bamboo stakes to support the stem of the plant.
Sunflower plants bring the bees to the vegetable garden and seed for my hens and chickens. They also bloom at the same time as the pineapple lily.
So Help Save the Bees!
The Mystery Do Sunflowers Face the Sun?
I have never taken any notice it is said that the sunflower works like a solar tracker and will track and follow the sun across the sky. I must grow some sunflowers and see for myself to see if this is a myth.
It turns out that the sunflower can face any direction while it is growing to its maximum height but once the plant has stopped growing the sunflower plant will turn to face the east.