Do you feel better when you look at a golden sunflower’s face? Is it possible that you planted a large number of sunflower seeds in order to maintain a constant sense of happiness, but now realize that you need to thin them out? In other cases, they may have popped up in the wrong place. You don’t have to worry about moving your cherished sunflower to a new location, because you can do so safely.
Sunflowers come in a wide range of colors and shapes. Each one’s growth and care requirements are unique, but the fundamentals are the same for all. Whether you started your seeds indoors or outdoors, you’ll need to thin or transplant them once they’ve sprouted. In the end, you should be able to get sprouts or blossoms that haven’t been destroyed by the process.
One of the largest and most colorful flowers in existence are sunflowers. They brighten the garden with a joyful burst of color thanks to their gorgeous golden yellow blooms. Children can easily take care of them because they’re so simple to grow.
Sunflowers were a food source for American Indian tribes since they were first found around 3,000 BC. They were gathered for their oil and nutrient-rich seeds, which were then crushed into flour and used to bake bread.
The seeds and their oil, as well as the flowers, are still popular for consumption today, despite the fact that they are no longer in bloom.
When Transplanting Seedlings
For the first several weeks, seedlings are frail, but soon the stem thickens and develops into a stalk. If you’re going to move them from an indoor germination flat to the outdoors, you’ll want to take extra precautions. To get the greatest results, choose a spot that gets full sun or only partial shade. Planting outside should wait until all threat of frost has passed, as freezing the tender stems will result in their death and inability to recover.
Dig a few holes in the ground where you plan to plant your seedlings. Roots need room to grow, so make sure they’re not too close together. To avoid having to re-plant them after a month, don’t place them too close together. Make a small hole about two or three inches deep in the earth and cover it with dirt. Prepare the sides and bottom of the hole by loosening the soil and allowing the roots to grasp on.
Cover the sunflower with earth after it has been placed in the center of the hole. Gently pat the earth to make it more stable and to keep the sunflower in place. To help the roots recover and grow after the transplant, make sure to water the region.
Use a stake if your seedlings are too little to stand on their own. Alternatively, you can buy a metal or wood one and prop it next to the seedling, or you can tie it with a piece of string. It is ideal to use popsicle sticks or wooden stakes cut to the seedling’s size. The stakes are also designed to withstand severe winds and heavy rains.
And, like with all newly sprouted plants, they will draw the attention of animals. The stems of sunflowers are a favorite food for rabbits, who like munching on the soft, green leaves. I have seen rows of sprouts begin, grow to six inches, and then be mowed down by ravenous rabbits or deer in the blink of an eye. Until the seedlings are tall enough to be of no interest to the rabbits, a wire or mesh fence could keep them out. To keep deer out, a fence would need to be at least eight feet high, and even then, it’s not a sure thing. If placed near the seedlings, hair from humans or animals may deter their curiosity.
Growing sunflowers from seed
Using seed trays to plant sunflowers
To get started, you’ll need:
- Heirloom seed heads
- Seed boxes
- Compost that can be used for multiple purposes.
- Identifying characteristics of plant species
- Pencil or a waterproof marking pen
Using a multi-purpose compost, fill the seed tray about 1cm below the top. Push each seed carefully into the compost after you’ve added one per cell. Add extra compost to each cell until it reaches the brim, and then thoroughly water it. Add a plant label as a last step to help you remember what you’ve planted.
Place the seed tray in a warm, light location, such as a sunny windowsill.
Once your seedlings have germinated and grown to around 5cm (2 inches), they can be moved into individual pots around 7.5cm (3 inches) in diameter. Remove the seedling from the tray and carefully place it in the new pot after adding a tiny amount of multipurpose compost to each pot. After filling the seedling with compost, carefully push the compost down to compact it and keep it safe. Add a plant label to your watering schedule. Place the pots in an area that is both warm and bright.
Removing seedlings from their cells should be done gently in order to protect the plant and roots. It may be necessary to dislodge the cell with a narrow, flat instrument, such as an old dinner knife or even a plant label.
Using a liquid fertilizer at this point is a good idea; the fertilizer should be diluted by 50% and applied twice a week.
After they have grown to a height of 30cm (12 inches), you can either plant them outside in the garden or transplant them to a larger container. To avoid harm from late frosts, don’t do this until May.
Planting sunflower seeds in the ground
The soil you’ll be sowing your seeds in must have fine crumbly texture and free of weeds before you begin. You should also select a location with full sunlight and well-drained soil.
If you’re going to plant sunflowers, it’s a good idea to enrich the soil with organic matter like Gro-Sure Farmyard Manure.
A shallow dip in the soil, about 12mm deep, should be made for each seed, with a 10cm space between each one.
Drill a hole in the ground and plant the seeds. When the seedlings are about 18 inches apart, thin them out.
Use a cane to support the stems of the sunflowers as they grow taller by attaching a piece of string to the cane. As a result, the stem will be strengthened, and the plant will be encouraged to develop in an even direction.
Pinching out sunflowers
Plants’ new stems can be stimulated by the practice of “pinching out.”
You’ll have to decide whether or not to pinch out your sunflowers depending on what you plan to do with them when they’re in bloom:
- When growing sunflowers for a competition, it’s best not to pinch out the growing tip in order to maximize the plant’s height. A plant’s ability to grow tall and provide you with an increase in height depends on its growing tip.
- Pinching out the plant’s growing tip can encourage the plant to produce more blossoms if you intend to eat them later on.
When pinching out sunflowers, use your thumb and forefinger to remove the plant’s growing tip; this should be done when the plant is about 8 to 10 inches tall.
You should expect the plant to grow up to 1.8m – 2.2m tall, but you can expect to see four times as many blooms as you typically would.
How long do sunflowers take to grow?
Sunflowers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and each one grows at its own pace. However, the time it takes for a plant to mature and produce seeds ranges from 80 to 120 days on average.
- Bigger than most sunflowers.
- Strong stems don’t require any assistance.
- Exceptional for edging and fortification of borders
- Intricately branched plants
- Single and double blooms in a variety of colors and sizes
- A wide range of options for slicing
- Each plant bears a slew of blossoms.
- Good assistance is required.
- With a long flowering period, this cultivar is pollen-free
- Each branch has a variety of flowers.
- Growth is rapid.
- Long-stemmed solitary flowers
- There is a lot of variety for kids.
- An excellent addition to any garden display
- Single, double, and semi-double flowers
- Premature blossoming
- Variety in a small package
- Flowers with mahogany petals and a black center make for a unique bouquet
- With its stunning crimson petals, this flower is the ideal focal point.
- Dwarf type of plant
- Beautiful red and gold blooms in a vase
- A Catherine wheel with an unusual appearance.
- Blooms with a double golden ray pattern
- Large heads of bright orange flowers
- After cutting, blooms can endure up to two weeks.
- Dwarf plant that is incredibly compact
- As many as five blooms on a stalk
When Transplanting Older Plants
Take care when removing your sunflower from the ground. The roots of your prized flower may be harmed if you dig too closely to the stalk. The more roots you remove, the longer the stalk will be. Avoid chopping the largest roots by digging straight down. Use a broom or dustpan to remove any excess dirt before moving it.
You’ll need to dig a hole six to eight inches deep and as least that wide, depending on how old the plant is. Dig even deeper so that the roots have enough room to spread out. Roots can easily grab on to the location if the ground around it is loosened enough.
Pack down the dirt around the plant so that it is firmly secured in place. Because of its removal, the roots need a lot of water in order to recuperate. Stakes aren’t necessary for a mature plant if it’s planted deeply enough.
While sunflowers are growing in typical conditions, they do not require fertilizer. This is something you may want to think about if your soil is unique, but proceed with caution. Despite its hardiness, sunflowers are vulnerable to chemical manipulation.
It’s not long until birds begin to notice the sunflower and its seeds, which are located in the center. Keep the sunflowers alive until the following planting season so that the birds have a plentiful source of food during the winter. The seeds should be removed from the heads, or the entire stalk should be pulled out of the ground. Begin the new season with a new crop!
How To Grow Giant Sunflower Stalks
1.Choosing the right seeds
If you’re looking for consistent results, you’ll want to invest in Hybrid seeds instead of traditional varieties. Hybrids, on the other hand, have been bred to have a robust, sturdy stem to sustain their heavy heads in windy or rainy conditions. As an ideal plant, it can grow to a height of 16 feet or more and generate enormous seedheads.
2. Soil Preparation
Sunflowers require 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day in order to reach their full potential; the more sunlight, the better. As a result, find a shamba that is both exposed to the sun and protected from the wind.
It is best to grow sunflowers in areas where it is warm to hot and there is enough of direct sunlight. Sunflowers thrive in dry weather.
Look at your soil’s acidity or alkalinity. Sunflowers prefer a pH range of 6.0-7.5. However, despite their resilience and ability to grow in a wide range of soils.
After the earth has warmed and the dry season has begun, begin planting in a well-drained spot.
The first step in preparing your soil is to excavate an area of 2-3 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep.
It is important to remember that sunflowers are heavy feeders and drain the soil more than many other crops, especially if you plan to grow them to a great height.
3. Sowing and Thinning
20 inches apart is the perfect spacing for sunflowers with huge seed heads. Planting near to one other may result in higher stems, but smaller fruit. If you plant further apart, the seed heads may be larger, but the stalks may not be able to carry the weight.
Sow seeds 6-8 inches apart in clumps of 5-6 seeds, watering the soil between each one. In order to keep birds away from newly sprouted seedlings, use netting. For seedlings to appear within five to ten days of planting, the soil must be kept moist.
When the plants reach a height of three inches, thin them to the 3 or 4 most vigorous. When they reach a height of two feet, whittle them down to two and then choose the strongest contender. The goal of this approach of slow thinning is to ensure that in the event that any of the seedlings are damaged by predators, you will have at least one good seedling left.
Keep in mind that if you want to grow large sunflowers, you must remove all but the strongest seedlings. It’s impossible to develop any kind of giant in your garden if you leave any seedlings too close together.
4. Feeding and Care of Your Growing Giant
Feed frequently and re-hydrate frequently. During the first few weeks of the plant’s life, water the root zone around 3-4 inches from the plant with roughly 2 gallons of adequately diluted liquid fertilizer solution. Scrape out a tiny doughnut-shaped moat around the plant’s perimeter, about 18 inches wide and four inches deep. Every week, add a few litres of fertilizer to the moat once it has been suitably diluted. The roots of sunflowers can extend down to a depth of four feet.
*Tip: To prevent stem rot, do not apply fertilizer directly to the stems.
As your plants grow taller and more top-heavy, keep an eye on the weather. Delaying watering will help keep them from blowing over in high gusts. Sunflowers don’t often require staking, however it may be necessary in particularly windy places or if they are to be cultivated in overly crowded or shaded settings.
- Planting too many sunflowers in a small area results in weaker plants because they have to compete for nutrients, which weakens the overall crop.
- Keep in mind that if you don’t keep an eye on them, sunflowers can shade out other plants and grow very tall. When planting, keep in mind that sunflowers always face the direction in which the sun rises.
- Sunflowers don’t have a lot of issues with different types of soil. They will grow tall and sturdy if the soil is well-drained and rich in peat, compost or manure.
Don’t use herbicides or put grass seeds near the sunflowers to keep the area weed free.