Sunflowers – A Quick Guide
Big, bright, and beautiful, sunflowers are a traditional garden favourite and a hit with children everywhere. Choose from a wide range of varieties in lots of bold yellows, pinks, and oranges. As a great source of cut-and-come-again flowers for the home, multi-headed varieties are a great option, while giant types are not only striking to look at but their seeds provide a great food source for garden birds. Here’s how to grow and care for your favourite sunflowers.
When To Plant Sunflower Seeds
Start seeds off indoors in March, but wait until it’s a little warmer – April or May – and your plants are around 30cm tall. If you’re sowing direct into the ground, then plant between late April and late May - when all risk of frost is passed.
How To Grow Sunflower Seeds
For early blooms, sow your sunflower seeds under glass or on the window ledge during March and April. As their name suggests, sunflowers love the sun’s rays, so choose an appropriate spot, and sow thickly into fertile soil containing lots of organic matter. Once the seedlings are up, thin them to the correct spacing described on the sowing instructions.
How To Care For Sunflowers
- Sunflowers need plenty of water.
- Slugs love to feast on sunflower seedlings making slug traps or pellets a must.
- Feed your plants as they grow, especially if you’re growing them in containers.
- A fortnightly seaweed-based feed is a good option for them during the growth phase.
- Switch to tomato feed as your sunflowers get ready to flower to give the blooms a boost.
- Stake larger varieties to stop the wind damaging them – a long bamboo cane should do the trick.