Few sights are more stunning than a field of sunflowers pointing their faces sunward, and few gardening experiences are more rewarding than bringing the beauty of the sunflower to your own backyard.
Step 1: Choose a variety Choose a sunflower seed variety based on whether you want to grow giant 10-foot plants, medium-sized 6- to 10-foot plants, or miniature border sunflowers.
Step 2: Monitor weather conditions Monitor weather conditions to learn when the danger of frost has passed so you may plant your sunflower seeds safely.
Step 3: Plant seeds Plant seeds 1-inch deep and 6 to 8 inches apart, spacing rows 3 feet apart for giant varieties, 2 feet apart for mid-sized varieties, and 1 foot apart for miniatures.
TIP: Mass sunflower plantings create a dramatic effect in the garden, while planting just a few among your vine crops adds a colorful accent.
Step 4: Handpick pests Handpick pests, such as caterpillars and weevils, during the growing season, and pluck yellowed leaves.
TIP: Sunflowers are a favorite plant for introducing children to gardening because they are easily grown and require little care.
Step 5: Maximize growth Maximize sunflower growth by keeping soil moist and fertilizing biweekly.
Step 6: Stake sunflowers Stake sunflowers as they grow for stalk support when needed, and in 70 to 90 days you'll be rewarded with a gorgeous crop and nutritious sunflower seeds to share with birds, squirrels, and your friends.
FACT: Sunflowers are a leading oilseed crop primarily grown in the Midwestern United States where soybeans grow poorly.