How to grow Sunflowers?

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How to grow Sunflowers?

We have had so many people write in recently about the best way to grow sunflowers so we decided to write a few tips down. 

When I think of Summer I think Sunflowers. 

Sunflowers add colour to your garden, and they are some of the most easiest plants to grow and care for. Whats amazing about Sunflowers is that they are heat-tolerant, resistant to pests, and simply beautiful.

You can even harvest their edible seeds.

Here’s how to grow them in your garden!

An annual plant, sunflowers have big, daisy-like flower faces of bright yellow petals (and occasionally red) and brown centre that ripen into heavy heads filled with seeds.

Sunflowers are heliotropic, which means that they turn their flowers to follow the movement of the Sun across the sky.

Tall and coarse, the plants have creeping or tuberous roots and large, bristly leaves. Some tend to grow over 16 feet in height. Some varieties have been genetically modified for small spaces and containers, ideal for small apartments or courtyards.

Most sunflowers are remarkably tough and easy to grow as long as the soil is not waterlogged. Most are heat- and drought-tolerant. They make excellent cut flowers and many are attractive to bees and birds.

Best soil for growing
Sunflowers are annuals that grow well in fertile, well-drained soil. Their ideal soil conditions lie between a pH level of 6.0 and 7.5, however, they’re pretty hardy so will grow in most soils with some care. Most importantly, they love being planted in a spot that has 6–8 hours of sunlight each day. You could even grow sunflowers indoors in containers if you place them near a north facing window or add a 600W HPS light kit. Similar to the one below. 

Digi-Lumen 600W SE Digital Kit (240V) from BB Hydro Australia

When and how to plant
Spring or early summer, when the soil is starting to warm up, is the best time to sow sunflower seeds. A typical harvest time is about 10–11 weeks. If you’re sowing seeds in a garden bed, you should aim to place them about 60cm apart and 2cm deep. Before you plant, enrich the soil with some fertiliser and give the soil a turn with a pitchfork so it is loose.

Companion planting
Good companions to plant alongside sunflowers include cucumbers, melons, sweetcorn and squash. You should avoid planting them next to potatoes and beans because of the toxins that they can give off.

Staking sunflowers
As your sunflowers grow, they will become top heavy and need staking. This will also protect them in high winds or in the rain.
 
Sunflowers need a deep, regular watering. This will encourage good root growth and a large, heathy bloom. The ideal time to water is in the morning, as root rot can set in over cold nights. Sunflowers can also benefit from a liquid fertiliser every two to three weeks, which will boost their height.

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