How to Grow and Use Sunflowers

Kennith Bogan

Sunflowers arrive in a extensive assortment of measurements. Some cultivars increase as tall as 15 feet with flower heads as extensive as 1 foot across dwarf kinds, nevertheless, evaluate only only a foot or two tall. There are also early, medium-height sunflowers that stand five to eight feet tall with heads that eight to ten inches across. Some cultivars create a solitary significant flower other people sort numerous heads.

And let us not forget about about their seeds. Sunflower seeds can enhance all the things from baked products and granola to salads and pesto, furthermore they even feed animals and birds. Sunflower oil, which is known for its skin rewards, can even be observed in several attractiveness items and soaps. And when it will come to the yard, you can look at sunflowers for aesthetic uses, but they can also act as windbreaks, privateness screens, or dwelling supports for pole beans.

Right here are our ideal suggestions to increase your healthiest sunflowers nevertheless this 12 months.

Be certain to plant them in total solar.

a row of newly planted sunflower with warm light, selective focus

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If possible, decide on a website in total solar on the north aspect of the yard so the tall vegetation will not shade your other greens when they’re developed. Sunflowers aren’t fussy about soil so you you should not require to worry as well a great deal about soil versions.

Sunflower seedlings are chilly-resistant, so small-season growers may perhaps want to get a head start out by starting up seeds numerous weeks prior to the past frost. In most parts, although, it can be ideal to wait until eventually the soil is warmer — close to the past frost day.

If you are sowing seeds instantly, you can sow most sunflower seeds 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. You can move significant kinds to 1.five feet apart and dwarf or medium-sized cultivars to 1 foot apart. Water very well soon after planting.

Incorporate a layer of mulch.

wheel barrow and shovel working with landscape mulch

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Apply a three to four inch layer of mulch to conserve dampness and continue to keep down weeds. Sunflowers are drought-resistant, but they’ll increase much better if you water them consistently from the time the bouquets begin to develop until eventually they’re experienced.

Be attentive.

close up of sunflower

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Sunflowers are remarkably trouble-free of charge, but there are a couple of problems to view for. You need to rotate your crop if verticillium — a soil fungus that generates useless parts together leaf veins — turns into a problem.

To guard seeds from birds, you can cover bouquets with mesh bags, cheesecloth, old pantyhose, or perforated plastic bags. An early autumn may perhaps interfere with pollination and lead to the plant to sort empty seeds, but you can prevent this problem by planting before the next 12 months.

Harvest sunflowers at the appropriate time.

child preparing sunflower for harvesting

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Harvest the seeds as soon as they start out to turn brown, or the backs of the seed heads turn yellow. You can explain to simply because the heads normally begin to droop when they’re completely ready for harvesting.

Cut your sunflowers together with numerous inches of stem. You can gift them or use them to brighten your kitchen table or office environment.

To dry them out for animal fodder, hang upside down in a dry, very well-ventilated spot — these types of as a garage or attic — until eventually totally dry. You can then retail store them in plastic bags or glass jars for birds and animal food items.

Try roasting your seeds.

bowl of sunflower seeds

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To cook your sunflower seeds, soak them overnight in water (or solid salt water, if a salty flavor is sought after), drain, and unfold them on a shallow baking sheet. Roast for three hours at two hundred levels Fahrenheit or until eventually crisp.

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