This famous, sun-loving flower is a beauty that has everyone turning heads, from kids to grown-ups and even little insects such as bees. It’s tall, bright, easy to grow and has a cute habit of following the sun across the sky. What’s not to love?
It’s difficult to imagine that there was ever a time when sunflowers only grew in North America. Luckily, explorers brought a few seeds with them back to Europe and we’ve been in love with its bright yellow petals ever since.
If you’re thinking of planting sunflowers, there’s no better way to introduce kids to the wonders of nature than to let them watch how a small seed turns into a beautiful flower day by day. With love and care it will soon grow to be even taller than them.
Here is how to plant sunflowers the easy way and how to look after them.
How to plant sunflowers step by step
Choose your favourite type of sunflowers seeds
We know sunflowers as the picture-perfect tall, blonde plants greeting us as we drive through the countryside. But it turns out sunflowers come in many different varieties. Some of them grow to be 3-meters tall, others get to 50 cm and stop growing – just perfect to put in a vase on the window sill. The yellow colour is optional as well. Sunflowers come in orange, brown or dark red hues too. So even before you decide where to plant your sunflowers, the first thing to do is choose the type of seeds you think will make a bigger impression on the kids in the family.
Or why not plant different ones in different pots? Don’t forget to label them though, as they come with fun names such as ‘Teddy Bear’, ‘Big Smile’, ‘Sundance Kid’, or ‘Suntastic Yellow Sunflowers’.
Decide when to plant your sunflower seeds
One of the first things to know about sunflowers is that they don’t like frost at all. So, wait until the last spring frost is over before you plant the sunflower seeds. This means it’s a great project to start in the spring, anytime between the middle of April and the end of May. If you’re planting the seeds outdoors make sure you wait until the end of May before you transfer them from your pot.
Decide where to plant your sunflower seeds
Look for sunny places in and around your home. A window sill or the balcony are great places where you can put the pot with the baby sunflower seeds in. For taller varieties of sunflower you will have to eventually get them into a bigger pot outdoors, so make sure you reserve the sunniest spot in your garden for that moment.
Put together a list of all the things you will need
Luckily planting a sunflower is easy and it won’t require many trips to the supermarket. All you need are a few easy-to-find supplies:
- Sunflower seeds
- Clear plastic bags
How to plant your sunflower
Now comes the fun part of planting the sunflower seeds. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of the kids as well.
1. Fill in the pot with compost, put the seed in and add water.
2. Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag and put it in a sunny spot in your home.
3. Add a label to the pot with the name of the sunflower seed you chose, especially if you’ll be growing more than one type of seed.
4. In a few days you’ll start seeing the plant grow and soon they will need to be supported. This is where you can use a cane or even a pencil to help them stay upright as they grow.
5. Get your sunflower accustomed to the outdoors gradually by taking the plant outside a few hours every day before you move it outdoors permanently.
6. Choose a bright spot to plant your sunflower outdoors (starting in May). Make sure you remove any weeds if you plant it directly into the ground or find a big enough plant.
7. Make sure the soil is fertile by adding organic matter.
8. Use a cane for extra support while it’s growing and the flowers become heavier.
9. And don’t forget to give your sunflower enough water and love every day so they can grow big and strong!
How to care for sunflowers?
Sunflowers are not particularly picky when it comes to their daily care routine. Water, sun, fertile soil and support via a stake or a cane is all they need to grow and flower. If you plant them straight into the ground, you will also need to take care of your sunflowers by protecting them from slugs or snails while they’re still a seed. Birds can also cause damage at harvest time.
How much water do sunflowers need?
While growing, sunflowers will need plenty of water. Water them every day, first thing in the morning so you won’t forget. On hot summer days your sunflower might enjoy a second serving of water in the evening, so don’t hesitate to offer it a bit more if needed. But make sure you’re not getting the flower itself wet, as this might make it prone to diseases.
How much sun do sunflowers need?
The sun is a sunflower’s best friend. So, the more of it they get the better. That’s why you need to choose the place where they will live (in the house or outdoors) wisely. Sunny spots and windless areas are the best. Offer them 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day and your sunflowers will thrive and keep growing.
Now that you know how to plant a sunflower, why not start a competition to see who in the family can grow a taller flower?
Sunflowers are such stunning plants that they’re not only attractive to humans of all ages. Bees can’t resist them either. Find out what are some of the other bee-friendly flowers you can add to your garden with our fun guide, next.
Don’t forget to join our mission to support local bees with our free Cheerios seeds, ready to be planted and start feeding bees as soon as they bloom.
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