Follow these steps and you get the biggest flower heads for the amount of efforts you put into gardening.
Sunflowers are a fantastic summer plant, especially if you want to introduce your children to gardening. These iconic plants now come in a huge variety of colours, and you can get giant yellow cultivars that tower into the sky, or dwarf multi-stemmed varieties to give you lots of blooms.
Whichever variety you choose, they’re easy and fun to grow, just make sure you feed them with organic fertiliser during the growth phase. Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilisers unless you want huge plants with tiny flower heads.
Find the right location
Sunflowers love to grow in well-drained soil that’s in a bright and sunny spot in your garden or a balcony. However, one of the best ways to start sunflowers off is in pots, allowing you to watch their quick germination and growth.
Sow seeds in April
Sow seeds during April and plant sunflowers in the final location at a depth of 12mm deep and 45cm apart. Alternatively, if there is a risk of frost plant the seeds in pots indoors. In this case place seeds at a depth of 12mm, and if you’re not using a modular seed tray, space seeds 10cm apart. Cover them with soil and keep the soil moist until the seedlings begin to germinate and grow.
Plant out in a final position
As seedlings grow out of their pot, plant them into their final position outside, ensuring that the last of the frosts have receded. Place sunflowers at least 45cm apart to allow maximum growing room, and if you have a lot of slugs and snails, protect the stems by placing plastic bottles around the base.
When flowers fade, you can collect the seeds, either using them for the following year’s plants or to feed the birds over the winter. You may also find them taste nice.