|Flowering:||July - October|
|Growing Height:||30 - 45 cm|
|Guarantee:||1 year growth and flowering guarantee|
|Latin name:||Helianthus annuus 'Choco Sun'|
|Leafs all year:||No|
|Preferred location:||Sun, Half shadow|
Sunflower seeds require no prior treatment but steeping them overnight in lukewarm water will encourage germination.
Sow under glass in April.
Sow in the garden from the end of April to the end of June.
Easiest method is a propagator on the windowsill from the start of April. Fill pots with potting compost and plant one seed per pot, covering it with 1 cm soil. Sprinkle with water and heat will do the rest. Plant outdoors from mid-May. Hold them back if necessary by standing the seedlings in a cooler spot indoors.
Sow in the garden, preferably in full sun from end of April to the end of June. Loosen the soil with a fork to least 30 cm deep. Draw a furrow if you want them in a line and plant one seed every 30 cm. Label each row and cover the seeds with 1 cm of soil. Press firmly down and sprinkle gently with water. Extra rows should be planted 70 cm apart.
Seedlings are not frost resistant so protect them with some garden fleece if frost is forecast.
The seeds will germinate within 7-14 days.
Water extra during dry periods, keep the bed free of weeds and your sunflowers will thrive. They are very undemanding but do not like wet 'feet'. Sunflowers will grow even in poor soil and will respond well to a fertiliser containing phosphorus (P) and potash (K) in a higher proportion than nitrogen (N). The plant will flower from July through to the autumn. Create a compacted growing plant by topping off. This way you will get not one large bloom but lots of flowers on side shoots. Tie up to a cane for support.
Although mostly grown for the showy flowers, the petals and seeds can be eaten.
If you want to eat the petals, they can be picked directly from the edge of the flower disc. The flower disc can be left in place as the seeds that remain serve as a pollinator. If you want to cut flowers for the home use a sharpe knife and cut as they begin to open.
If you want to collect the seeds after the flowers have flourished the seeds can be harvested in the autumn when they are ripe. Keep your eye on the birds as they love them too.
Sunflower is an annual grown crop. Did you know that these stunning flowers follow the sun throughout the day?
Lots of different birds love sunflower seeds. Sow and plant sunflowers just as a treat for them!