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Secrets to Growing Large Sunflowers

April 2, 2009
Filed under: Sunflower Articles — admin @ 7:41 am
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By Jason Levin

Gardeners who have taken the opportunity to plant and grow sunflowers are familiar with their vibrant yellow color. It lights up the garden. What's more, they can be harvested to produce seeds that can be eaten or used in bird feeders. They can also be grown to immense sizes. Large sunflowers with 16-foot stalks and 23" seedheads are possible with the right variety and the proper care. Some large varieties of sunflowers, such as California Greystripe and Russian Mammoth, are created specifically for this reason.

In this article, you'll learn about growing gigantic sunflowers. We'll provide a few tips for choosing the proper variety, preparing the soil, and providing ongoing care in order to produce a large crop.

Selecting The Sunflower Variety

There are many varieties of sunflowers. Some have been designed through hybridization to produce different colors ranging from lime to red. However, these varieties are not usually well-suited to producing giant flowers. If you want to grow large sunflowers, you will find that the tallest stalks and largest seedheads conform to conventional colors. The petals are typically yellow. The center of the seedhead has a dark brown appearance (it looks similar to chocolate). And the seeds that are produced from within the seedhead are gray and round.

Make sure that the variety you choose can consistently produce a hefty, strong stalk. When your sunflowers grow tall and large, they will become more susceptible to heavy winds and rain. A strong stalk will prevent them from toppling over in such conditions.

How To Prepare The Soil

In order for your sunflowers to reach heights of 15 feet or more, and produce gigantic seedheads, they will need a lot of exposure to direct sunlight. They should be planted in an area that receives at least 7 hours of sunlight each day. To plant your sunflowers, dig a hole in the soil that is 2 feet deep and has a circumference of approximately 3 feet. Once you have planted the seeds, replace some of the soil and use a controlled release fertilizer at approximately 1 foot deep. Then, replace the rest of the soil.

Sowing, Caring, And Ongoing Maintenance

Sunflowers have roots that grow very quickly. While it is possible to plant them in pots and transfer them to the soil, you run the risk of stunting their growth if you wait too long. Plant them directly into the soil to prevent this from happening. Also, even though a lot of gardeners will plant their sunflowers in the middle of the summer, doing so will limit their size. Plan to sow your seeds during the last week of May (or beginning of June, if cold weather persists).

Sunflowers, by their nature, use the nutrients within the soil more quickly than most other plants and vegetation. Without proper maintenance, the soil can become depleted of these nutrients, preventing the sunflowers from growing to their potential height. Try to replenish the soil each week with 2 gallons of a diluted fertilizer mixture. But, don't apply the fertilizer on your sunflowers' stems. They may begin to rot if you do. Instead, dig a trench around the stem that is 3 inches deep. Place the fertilizer solution in the trench and allow it to seep into the soil.

The Giant Emerges

Assuming that you chose the right variety of sunflowers, prepared the soil properly, and took pains to replenish the nutrients in the soil with a fertilizer solution, your crop should be large and impressive. You may want to cover the gigantic seedheads with a light burlap sack to prevent birds from stealing the seeds. Once the seeds have swelled and are ready to harvest, you can use them in your bird feeder or enjoy them yourself. Meanwhile, your crop of huge sunflowers will impress your friends and family.

A bouquet of sunflowers is a unique way to tell someone you care. Make someone smile with the Sunflower Guy's online store.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jason_Levin
http://EzineArticles.com/?Secrets-to-Growing-Large-Sunflowers&id=1675431

1 Comment »

  1. Hey this is great! I just planted some sunflowers yesterday. I’ll have to try out that controlled release fertilizer. That really does help eh?
    – Eric

    Comment by Eric D Greene — April 6, 2009 @ 7:08 am

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