While the scourging heat of the sun is shining intensely, sunflowers come into full bloom and spread their flower heads to their maximum size of 2 to 4 inches across. Overtime, different varieties of sunflowers have been developed and cultivated. The oil that sunflowers produce is considered one of the healthiest kinds of oil you can use in the kitchen, while sunflower seeds make a delicious and nutritious snack.
Knowing how to grow sunflowers in your garden will help create a beautiful and revitalizing environment for your family. They will also make great decoration pieces for your home, office and other places. Learn how to appreciate the loveliness sunflowers can bring to you through this easy yet simple step-by-step process.
- Choose the variety of sunflowers you want to grow from your local nursery. Sunflowers come in a vast range of varieties you can choose from. You will not go wrong when picking the kind that carries your personal preference of color and style. You can also select a variety that you think will look good with the other flowers in your garden. In this stage of the planting process, all you need is a little creativity and your garden will look attractive.
- Prepare the location and soil for your sunflowers. The bright rays of the sun are a requirement for your sunflowers to bloom to their maximum size. Find a spot in your garden that receives at least six to eight hours of full sun per day. The more sunlight it covers, the better. Prepare a well drained soil on the spot and dig through the ground with a depth of about 2 feet. During each planting season, refill the soil with slow-release granular fertilizer while mixing it with organic fertilizer. This will help replenish the lost minerals in the soil as sunflowers are heavy feeders.
- Summertime is the best time for planting sunflower seeds. These kinds of flowers particularly enjoy basking under the sun’s rays. When the winter frost has passed, it is time to set out to the garden and grab your hand shovel and plant seeds into the soil. Sunflowers that are planted during this time of the year produce taller stalks and wider flower heads, while flowers planted in midsummer blossom shorter stalks.
- Sow sunflower seeds directly into the soil. The most efficient way to plant sunflower seeds is to directly plant them into the soil, rather than have them grow in pots first. The appropriate distance of large-headed sunflowers are 20 inches apart from each other, so they do not fight over space and room to grow. For smaller sunflower heads, water the soil then sow five to six seeds 6 to 8 inches apart. Cover the seeds with soil and protect them from birds by using nets. You will notice seedling growth after five to 10 days if you keep the soil moist. Regularly thin them to ensure that the most vigorous flower is left standing tall.
- Water and feed the growing flowers regularly. Your growing sunflower plants need to be watered regularly and fed with diluted liquid fertilizer to aid them in their growth. Remember to pour fertilizer on the roots and not on the stems as this may cause your plants to rot.
- Harvest and use the sunflower seed heads. When you notice petals falling off, florets in the center drying up and kernel seeds starting to swell, use a step ladder and cover the sunflower heads with burlap or paper bag. As hard shells develop from ripened seeds, it is time to cut your flowers from the stalk and beautify your home using these lovely flowers.