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Advice On Growing Your Own Sunflowers

Nov 4, 2007
Few things bring to mind an American Fall season quite like Sunflowers...well, maybe pumpkins, but we're going with Sunflowers on this one. A native plant to America, the Sunflower (Helianthus annus) is an annually blooming plant and can grow to be over 3 meters tall. The Sunflower is well known for exhibiting heliotropism, or following the path of the sun throughout the day from east to west. While there are certainly a number of ways to go about getting Sunflowers to decorate with this Fall season, here are some thoughts on what to keep in mind in case you've decided that you want to grow your own.

Plan Ahead to Plant Early

If you want to grow your own Sunflowers than you had better plan ahead and plan to plant in early Spring. Getting the seeds into the ground by between March and August, with mid-May being an ideal time, is the best way to go to ensure that you get maximum return on the seeds that you plan. Also, make sure you test the soil where you'll be planting well ahead to make sure that there's not too much Nitrogen in the soil, but that there is a good amount of Potassium and Phosphorus.

Give Yourself Enough Space

Growing Sunflowers can take up some space, so make sure that you have enough space devoted to the amount of plants that you will be growing. You'll want to plant each seed roughly 1 to 2 inches deep into moist soil, spacing the seeds 12 inches apart in rows that are spaced between 2 and 2 feet apart. If you're planning on growing a larger varietal of Sunflower than you may want to give yourself even more space to allow for the added size.

Managing the Plants

Your Sunflowers plant should mature in roughly 60 to 90 days at which point they will need to be cut daily. The best time to cut your Sunflower plants is in either the early morning or late afternoon. Once you've cut your Sunflowers you'll want to immerse them in clean buckets filled with water and a solution of Quick Dip to open their pores. Refrigerating them within a few hours of cutting ensures that they will last long once they are put on display.

Ready by Fall

Depending on when you plant your Sunflowers they can be ready to be cut anywhere from September and into October. You can display your Sunflowers in any number of ways, to having them be the center of a large display to using them as a way to add color and vibrancy to an existing floral arrangement. If properly managed and prepared before being put into an arrangement, your Sunflowers can maintain their fresh flowers appearance for upwards of two weeks.

Just in Case

Ok, so you can see that it's not really that hard to grow your own beautiful Sunflowers for your Fall floral arrangements, but what if you don't have the time, or the green thumb, to grow your own Sunflowers. Well there are number of places that will offer fresh flowers this time of year, chief amongst them being Sunflowers. While there is certainly a certain satisfaction in growing your own flowers, if you don't have the time or space to do so, there's certainly nothing wrong with deciding to buy flowers from your local florist and having them include some fresh Sunflowers for you.
About the Author
Steve Papoulakos is the president of Vogue Flowers and has been in the floral industry for over 22 years, offering fresh flowers and flowers online for those looking for quality and experience.
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