Many customers often ask us about the best way to look after Sunflower plants and do they require a lot of maintenance.
In short, Sunflowers are one of the most simpliest garden plants to keep and look after correctly, they will give you an abundance of bright and spectacular Sunflower heads throughout the flowering months.
Sunflower : Helianthus Annuus
The Sunflower family come in two varieties in terms of season, there are the large headed annual Sunflowers which last a season normally flowering from mid-summer to early Autumn. Once they have flowered, you can harvest the head for seeds to either use in local home based cooking, or to replant next season for your next crop of Sunflowers.
The other variety are perennials which will flower year after year, these tend to have much smaller flower heads than their annual counterparts.
Although widely considered a yellow flower, did you know that Sunflowers can also be found in whites and a range of darker reds, maroons and reddish-oranges.
So how do I care for Sunflower plants?
In the main Sunflowers are a relatively hardy plant and just love the sun, in most cases they will require at least 6-8 hours a day of direct sunlight to fully maximise their growth. The ideal location is likely to be a very open plot of soil bed, or they will thrive equally well potted on an outside patio.
Sunflowers will normally thrive in most soil types, so there is no real requirement to ensure a specialised type of soil, which of course will suits most gardens.
As with most plants, watering and feed will help your Sunflower thoroughly thrive. The key to the Sunflower is to make sure that the soil is kept moist, and not soggy or saturated, which can quickly degrade the root system and ultimately lead to poor plant growth or even death.
Given Sunflowers love the sun, you will likely find your Sunflower requires regular watering more so than other garden plants, a good idea would be to cover the top couple of inches of the plant base with an organic mulch which will help maintain the water and avoid drying out.
Periodically provide a liquid feed to your Sunflower, this helps with growth and strength in the plant structure.
If you become aware of lower leaf degradation, then simply remove and prune these from the plant stork – this helps the plant concentrate its growth energy to the more healthy areas of the plant.
A typical Sunflower may reach full maturity by about 5-6 months of growth, some varieties reaching 18-20 feet high, and a ground spread of up to 3 feet – therefore it is imperative you factor this in when you plant or pot out your Sunflower.
At the end of the season as mentioned earlier, you may wish to cultivate the sunflower for its seeds for next year or home cooking, the other alternative would be to remove the plant head and place inside your home as you would with normal cut flowers in a vase which offer a bright and striking display.