Sunflowers in the Garden: What Kind to Choose and How to Grow

Sunflowers are very easy to grow, which makes them an ideal choice for beginners who are yet to find their way around the garden. They are quite hardy, and they add vibrancy to your outdoors thanks to their large heads and petals. When growing sunflowers, you should note that they are available in several sizes and you should thus choose a variety that works for the available space. It is also essential to consider that the height of the plant will affect how much maintenance work goes into getting it to maturity.

Sunflowers can reach heights of fifteen feet, depending on the variety in play as well as the conditions in place. You can harvest their seeds and eat them as snacks. Thus, these plants are not only useful for their beauty, but also for a myriad of other uses. If you want to know all about sunflowers in the garden: what kind to choose and how to grow them, here is what you need to consider:

Selection

The first stage involves finding a variety which you can handle based on your garden space and the purpose that you have in mind. You will find that there are large varieties on the market which grow to heights of at least fifteen feet and which require a lot of space between individual plants for enhanced productivity. However, there are smaller variations on the market, which allow you to enjoy the beauty of these plants without incurring massive space usages as these flowers can reach heights of under three feet.

Also, you should consider the color that you would like in the flowers as the hues vary from one type to the other. While most sunflowers on the market are entirely yellow, there are those with hints of different shades such as orange, brown, and red. Also, there are flowers which do not have a hint of yellow as they take on another color, such as burgundy. Thus, if you would like to try out other shades, check the local nurseries for options that would work for you.

Site Selection

Now that you have a preferred variety in mind, it is time to choose where the plants will grow. You should note that sunflowers require a lot of sunlight and you thus need to position them in an area where they can get access to at least six hours of daylight each day. These plants do well in hot climates, and if you can increase their exposure to sunlight, you will have enhanced productivity. If you live in a region with long and hot summers, you will have an added advantage over someone growing the flowers in a cold area. However, you can mimic the suitable conditions by growing the flowers in a wooden shed where you can alter the conditions to match the ideal requirements.

Additionally, it is vital to protect the flowers from winds owing to the delicate nature of the stalks, which have reduced strength due to their heights. Thus, having the flowers near a fence or behind trees or another form of shade will ensure that they remain safe from the harsh effects of wind. When planting the flowers, have them towards the northern side as their tall heights may be a hindrance to the growth of other plants which require access to sunlight for long hours.

Soil Check

The pH of your soil matters a lot regarding the health of the flowers, and it is therefore necessary that you get it out of the way before planting the sunflowers. The range should be somewhere between 6 and 7.5 as the plants will do well in slightly alkaline soil. However, you do not have to amend the soil if the variety you have chosen is resilient in that the pH of the soil will not affect its growth.

If you do wish to test the pH of the soil, you can get a kit from a nearby log home improvement store and having followed the instructions given, you can amend the soil as needed. Where the soil is below the range, add acidic compost and where it is above the range, you can add granular sulfur.

You also need to look into the drainage of the soil to avoid long periods of exposure to water as this can lead to root rot. If you find that the soil is not well-draining, you can opt to have a planter box or raised bed as this will enhance the drainage and ensure that the stalks remain resilient throughout their growing phases. You can also have the plants in pots, which you can keep indoors as you can regulate the drainage with ease in such settings.

When planting the seeds, ensure that the soil is warm as this will encourage germination. The beginning of summer is an ideal period as the soil will feel warm. You can refer to your local forecast for more information on the best time to start sowing the seeds for best results.

Sowing

Start by loosening the soil, which you can do with your hands or with a spade as this will ensure that the soil is workable during sowing. If the soil has poor drainage or is low in nutrients, work some compost into the ground at least three inches deep, and this will solve the problem.

Make holes that are one-inch deep with spacing of at least eighteen inches, though this will depend on the variety being used. The rows should be thirty inches or so apart to allow the plants enough room to absorb nutrients without competing with each other for the same. If you are using the large varieties, go with 18-inch spacing and where the sunflowers are of medium size, go with 12-inch spacing.

Plant a few seeds per hole before covering them with a layer of soil and organic fertilizer at the top. You can now dampen the soil while avoiding saturation of the ground. Watering should take place at least once per week where the plants do not have adequate access to rainfall. Ensure that you limit the watering to when the ground feels dry, and you should see the blooms two to three months after sowing. Mulching, staking, and pest extermination will be necessary during the different growing phases. When it comes to sunflowers in the garden: what kind to choose and how to grow, that’s all you need to know. Good luck!

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