Leaves for animal fodder, seeds with multiple uses, if you want to learn how to grow sunflowers then this is the guide for you!
Sunflower can be harvested for its oil, nutritious seeds, and its aesthetic appeal. The flowering plant grows best in locations that receive plenty of sunlight. So, pick a location that can serve bright sunlight for growth and development. Keep reading to know how to grow a sunflower.
The seeds are a little tough to germinate but will grow in any soil that is free from water stagnation. To choose the right soil for growing sunflower plant, make sure that it has a slightly acidic and alkaline pH from 6.0 to 7.5. Once the seeds germinate, and the plant is growing, the care is easy and does not need much watering.
How To Plant Sunflowers
While sowing sunflower seeds, ensure that you plant in a shallow trench at a distance of 1-2 inches. This will give the plant leaves and flowers enough room to grow. For seed germination, cover the soil and keep it watered until you see the sprouts. You can do the same for growing sunflowers in pots and wait 8-10 days for germination.
When you see the leaves sprouting, you can plant these at least 2-feet apart. With the right sunflower growing conditions, the plants will be mature in 80-120 days. You can sow the seeds every 2-3 weeks for a fresh bloom. There are several varieties like Aztec Gold Hybrid and Paul Bunyan Hybrid that result in good seed production.
How To Care For Sunflowers
How To Harvest Sunflowers
Once you are done mastering how to grow sunflowers anytime and anywhere, take notes on harvesting it. You can check the flowers for maturity by inspecting the reverse side. The green side should turn to yellowish-brown for harvesting.
To harvest the mature seeds, one other notable indication is the dried petals that usually fall off. Carefully cut off the seed heads with the stem attached and dry them in a well-ventilated place. Store them in a place free from bugs, squirrels, and birds. Also, protect them from humidity and moisture to cure them for a few weeks.
When the sunflower seeds are dry, you can harvest them using the two heads and brushing them together. You can also use your fingers to release the seeds from the heads. Let these seeds dry for a few days and then store them in an airtight container. This will keep them fresh for longer.
Tips & Common Problems
Sunflowers do not require much watering and can do well in dry soil once they have developed from the seeds. They only need water around the flowering time to encourage their vibrant growth. To encourage well-developed roots, you can water deep for taller sunflowers.
You may face some challenges if you try to grow sunflower indoors as it needs a huge amount of sunlight. Look for a sunny location around the house and get lamps to suffice for the sun. You can use a slow-acting fertilizer to promote growth. Although, avoid using fertilizers that are too heavy in nitrogen as it can delay flowering.