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Sowing Sunflower Seeds
If you're germinating your sunflower seeds in pots, sow a single seed in each pot at a depth of 1 inch in 3 inch diameter pots. Use good quality potting compost such as Miracle Grow potting mix, before covering the top of the pot with clear cling film. When green leaves appear above the soil after germinating, remove film and place pot near a window that gets the most sunlight throughout the day if possible.
Turn the plant pot 180 degrees in the morning and again in the evening, checking to ensure the soil is kept moist. If the pot was too small or the sunflower has been left in the pot too long, there will likely be a heavy build up of roots around the walls of the pot. Because sunflowers have long taproots capable of growing 4ft deep, allowing the plant to reach this stage in pots will severely hamper growth.
Overcrowded roots can be safely removed by cutting off no more than 1/3 with a sharp knife. Break away and discard dead soil surrounding the roots of the sunflower before planting in the garden.
Remember to take care not to damage the remaining healthy roots in the process.
Tips For Germinating Sunflower Seeds
If you prefer to germinate your sunflower seeds before planting in soil, layer at least 10 sheets of absorbent kitchen roll paper towel placed on a plate then soak with water.
Sprinkle seeds evenly over the wet paper towel before placing them in a warm space such as an airing cupboard. The more sheets of paper towel you use, the better the water holding capacity, meaning less frequent watering will be required.
Checking seeds with regular watering will prevent the paper towel from drying up, especially common in warm environments or direct sunlight. When your sunflower seeds begin to germinate, plant into potting compost mixed with manure into your garden at a depth of 2 inches, spaced 1 - 2ft apart.
Best Soil For Growing Sunflowers
Plant your seedlings in good quality soil such as my personal favourite - Miracle Grow potting mix which has good water retention, enriched with plant food.
Always ensure soil is kept moist and prevent it from drying out completely. Consider adding manure to the garden soil where you intend to plant your seeds or seedlings.
Sunflower Growth Rates
Sunflowers need plenty of watering and sunlight, taking approximately two weeks to appear and 90 days to fully grow.
If using chemical weed killer, make sure it is suitable for use on sunflowers or pull weeds out by hand. Over-watering sunflowers will likely damage flower heads, particularly 20 days before or 20 days after full bloom.
Pour around 2 gallons of liquid fertiliser solution each week around the roots of the sunflower, taking care not to pour the solution over the stem as this has been found to cause sunflower stems to rot.
Try to position your sunflowers so they spend as much time in the sun as possible, preferably 6-8 hours or more. If heavy winds are forecast, put off watering until the wind has passed to prevent the sunflower from getting blown over.
Best location for growing Sunflowers
Grow sunflowers in soil exposed to direct sunlight and sheltered from wind. Protect your sunflowers by supporting the stem with a bamboo stake as soon as the sunflower reaches 1ft in height. This will help the stem grow straight and protect the sunflower from wind damage.
When the sunflower matures, the heavy weight of the head on the tall stem leaves the sunflower vulnerable to wind damage. Because wild sunflower only grows between 2 and 6ft in height, the risk of wind damage is far less than that of the domestic sunflower.
Grow Your Own Sunflower Wedding Bouquet!
Imagine when your guests are admiring your bouquet and flower arrangements, being able to say that you grew them yourself from seed!
Sunflowers must surely be the most popular flower for Summer and Autumn weddings, especially rustic themed weddings. They are being paired with burgundy flowers, Eucalyptus leaves, navy blue flowers and other surprising color combinations such as teal and lavender. At the Low Budget Wedding Network, we are all about making savings and having a unique wedding twist, so why not grow your own bouquet! Start planning early and have a backup plan incase you're not the skilled gardener you hoped you'd be. Failing that enlist the help of green-thumbed neighbors, family, friends to grow some beautiful flowers for you!
How to Grow Sunflowers From Seed
By Mark A Bartlett
Selecting A Sunflower Species
The first step in growing sunflowers is deciding on the species you wish to grow. There are 67 species of sunflower across the world with single or multiple stems, growing heights, head sizes and colours. Read through the details of each popular species below to help make an informed choice on the sunflower you plan to grow.
Sowing Sunflower Seeds In The Garden
When to plant your Sunflower seeds?
Based on soil temp. requirements, in most regions April and mid-July
Sowing seeds directly into the garden is my preferred method in which I have had the most success. Sow your sunflower seeds after the last winter frost has passed and night temperatures have raised to over 5º or 10º Celsius. Sow in loose soil at a depth of around 50mm (2 inch) spaced 1 - 2ft apart. Water seeds regularly until 2ft high when the second set of leaves appear. Liquid fertiliser should be added to the water for feeding from this point forward.
Photo credits - Pixabay
For those who prefer artificial Sunflowers
If you don't fancy growing your own Sunflowers, there are many beautiful low budget artificial Sunflower arrangements and DIY sets for you get crafty with!
Low Budget, Cheapest Sunflower, Rustic Themed Wedding Invitations from $0.60 and less with volume discount