Sunflower Varieties Range in Color and Size
Common sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) thrive in full sun in fertile well-drained soil. These annual flowers come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors making them one of the most popular flowers for home gardens.
Planting Sunflowers in Your Garden
Location: Choose a sunny location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Full day sun is even better.
Soil: Add plenty of organic matter, like compost or well-rotted manure, to the soil. Although sunflowers will grow in poor soil, organic matter improves drainage and aeration and gives your sunflowers a source of nutrients. They perform best in fertile soil.
Planting Time: Plant sunflowers seeds in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in your area and the soil has warmed to at least 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Optimal germination occurs in soil between 70 and 78 degrees. Here in Maine that may mean as late as the first week of June in northern areas.
Seed Depth & Spacing: Sow seeds to a depth of 1/2 inch and cover them with soil. Firm the soil down with your hands to secure the seeds and remove air pockets around the seeds. Space seeds according to the directions of the seed packet. Short sunflowers can be spaced 4 inches
apart, while taller sunflowers need 8 inches or more between plants.
Watering: Keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge in approximately one week. Germination time varies, depending on the weather and soil conditions. Reduce watering to once or twice a week or whenever the soil feels dry to the touch one inch below the surface.
Did you know . . .?
If you love sunflowers as much as I do, but have been putting off growing them because you were afraid they would take too much of your time, now is the time to choose some interesting varieties and try your hand at growing them. Other than the weeding and watering, sunflowers are easy to grow and bloom reliably.