Family Gardening: Growing Sunflowers

Sunflowers are colorful giants and are one of the first flowers many children will recognize. A sunflower-growing competition appeals to any age of gardener. 

Growing Sunflowers in Backyard Family Garden

Growing Sunflowers in Backyard Family Garden

Sunflowers are color giants and easily recognized by children. These flowers are fun to grow in a backyard garden.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Step 1: Fill Biodegradable Pots with Seed Compost

Fill Biodegradable Pots with Seed Compost

Fill Biodegradable Pots with Seed Compost

Fill seed pots with compost. Use biodegradable pots that can be planted directly into the ground.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fill a 3½ in (9 cm) pot with seed compost. Biodegradable pots, such as those made from coir fibers, are particularly useful as they can be planted directly into the ground, but seedlings will do just as well when grown in plastic pots.

Step 2: Plant Seeds

One Seed Per Pot

One Seed Per Pot

Plant one sunflower seed per pot, pushing seed below the surface. Sow in spring indoors or a heated greenhouse.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant one seed per pot, pushing it just below the surface. Sow in spring indoors or in a heated greenhouse. Seeds can also be planted directly into the ground in late spring and early summer, but for the largest plants, start early. 

Step 3: Keep Well Watered

Water Pots with Fine Mist to Protect Seedlings

Water Pots with Fine Mist to Protect Seedlings

Water delicate sunflower seedlings carefully with a fine rose watering can. Keep seedlings in a warm, frost free place during germination.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Once the seeds have germinated, keep the plants well watered. If you have started early, you may need to transplant into a larger pot while the plant is still indoors, in order to keep it growing strongly. 

Step 4: Repot or Plant in the Ground

When Roots Protrude Time to Repot Sunflower Plants

When Roots Protrude Time to Repot Sunflower Plants

Once roots start to come through the bottom of the seedling pot, it will need to be repotted. When all danger of frost has passed, it will be time to plant the sunflower plants into the ground.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pot your seedling into a larger pot or out into the ground when roots start showing through the bottom of the pot. When all danger of frost has passed, plant into ground that has been prepared with plenty of garden compost. 

Step 5: Tip for Success: Brace with Bamboo

Brace with Bamboo

Brace with Bamboo

Stake young sunflower plants with bamboo canes tied to stems for support.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

As your sunflowers grow, tie the plants to bamboo canes to stop them from being blown over. Water them regularly and, for the best results, give the plants a regular feed. 

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