Learn how to grow sunflowers for your animals, birds and beauty in your garden.
Besides for their beauty, sunflowers can provide seed for your chickens as well as other wildlife around you.
Growing Sunflowers – planting
As their name implies, sunflowers need full sun all day. Seeds are sown directly into freshly dug over, composted soil in drills. Space the rows about 10 cm apart. When the seeds germinate thin them to the strongest seedlings.
Long term care & harvesting
Keep the seeds well watered until germination. As your sunflowers grow you may need to stake them if you have strong winds in your area. You can use branches that you have pruned off other trees which you can store up for later use. When staking sunflowers, make sure that the stem and stake do not rub against each other because this will damage your stem and give you a weaker plant. Use a torn cotton cloth or special garden ties that will not cut into the stem.
If you are growing sunflowers for cut flowers, cut them with a long stem as soon as the head is well developed and the petals are all open. If you want them for seed allow the heads to stay on the plant until the tiny flowers in the centre brown part start to fall out.
Remove the whole plant at this stage and cut off the head. Store the dry seed heads in a dry dark place until next season, then shred the stems and add to your compost heap.
When to plant: Spring.
How many plants: Depends on your needs. We sow about 10 – 15 plant annually.
How long to harvest: 9 – 12 weeks depending on usage.
Successive planting: Every 2 weeks in spring.