When to plant sunflower seeds – for an eye-catching display

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Asking erstwhile to works sunflower seeds? The blessed blooms of sunflowers bring blazing blistery colour to the backyard from July into October. 

The 3 main types – yearly helianthus, perennial helianthus, and tithonia – are each autochthonal to the Americas, and erstwhile you’re successful the cognize astir how to turn sunflowers, each that remains is to get the timing close and these beauties volition brighten borders and adhd awesome height. On apical of that, galore marque large chopped flowers and pull wildlife. 

Our usher has each the details you request astir erstwhile to works sunflowers of each benignant positive adept proposal to guarantee these desirable blooms thrive successful your yard. 

How to turn  sunflowers

(Image credit: RHS)

When to works sunflower seeds

The reply to erstwhile to works sunflower seeds depends connected their type. Annual helianthus and tithonia tin beryllium sown nether screen successful March oregon April, oregon sown nonstop into ungraded extracurricular successful late outpouring oregon aboriginal summer. Meanwhile, perennial helianthus tin beryllium planted into borders in outpouring oregon fall

Annual helianthus – particularly the elephantine yellowish varieties – are amusive for children to grow. The seeds are big, truthful adjacent toddlers tin negociate to plunge them into the ground. If you person country against a partition oregon hedge, wherefore not clasp a household sunflower contention to spot who tin turn the tallest? 

The stylish dusky-pink and claret-colored yearly helianthus and bold-orange tithonia are worthy contemplating among your flower furniture ideas to capable gaps astatine the back, arsenic good arsenic for brightening vegetable plot ideas, and the yellowish perennial forms (such arsenic ‘Lemon Queen’) are superb borderline plants. 

When to works yearly sunflower seeds

Opting for yearly sunflowers, specified arsenic the colossal ‘Russian Giant’ oregon the stylish terracotta ‘Earthwalker’? The reply to erstwhile to works sunflower seeds similar this is that they tin beryllium sown nether screen successful aboriginal spring. Alternatively, sow nonstop aboriginal successful the season. 

Sow nether cover

Helianthus annuus is a half-hardy annual, truthful it tin beryllium sown nether screen (for example, successful a greenhouse oregon acold framework oregon connected a agleam windowsill) successful March oregon April in bid to nutrient flowers earlier successful the year. Sow into effect trays oregon modules and past transplant seedlings into idiosyncratic pots erstwhile they are large enough. When the plants are 12in (30cm) tall, they tin beryllium planted outside. 

Sow direct

Annual sunflowers tin beryllium sown nonstop into ungraded extracurricular between mid-April and mid-June in well-drained ungraded successful afloat sun. ‘Sunflowers execute champion erstwhile nonstop sown outdoors 2 to 3 weeks aft the past mean frost day oregon erstwhile the somesthesia of the ungraded has reliably warmed up, arsenic sunflowers bash not similar cold,’ says Shannie McCabe, horticulturist for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. 

When to works perennial sunflower seeds

Going for perennial sunflowers? Perennial helianthus, specified arsenic aureate ‘Capenoch Star’ and ice-cream-colored ‘Lemon Queen’, tin spell into the crushed successful spring oregon fall

In spring, plant perennial sunflowers astatine the backmost of sheltered borders successful afloat sun, successful neutral to alkaline soil. Dig successful integrated substance (such arsenic well-rotted manure oregon peat-free compost) to amended h2o retention and drainage. Protect from slugs. 

In fall, chopped backmost immoderate spent flowering stems and fork successful integrated substance earlier planting perennial helianthus astatine the backmost of a sheltered sunny border. 

When to works Mexican sunflower seeds

The Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) is simply a gorgeous yearly with sumptuous bright-orange flowers connected gangly stems from mid-summer into precocious autumn. It attracts butterflies and makes a large chopped flower. One of the champion varieties to turn is ‘Torch’. Sow it nether screen oregon direct.

Sow nether cover

Being a half-hardy annual, tithonia tin beryllium sown nether screen successful aboriginal oregon mid outpouring to nutrient flowers earlier. 

‘If sowing indoors, we would urge starting the seeds successful March oregon April,’ says Nina Marshall astatine Chiltern Seeds. ‘They similar a somesthesia of 55 to 65°F (13 to 18°C) for germination, truthful you whitethorn privation to usage a propagator oregon screen the tray to clasp warmth and moisture.’ 

Be diligent aft sowing, advises Catherine Kaczor of Hudson Valley Seed Co: ‘It is dilatory to start, truthful you whitethorn spot it lagging down different seedlings, but not to worry. Once tithonia is established, it volition instrumentality off.’ 

Sow direct

When the upwind has warmed successful precocious spring, Mexican sunflowers tin beryllium sown nonstop into ungraded outside. ‘We turn them connected our proceedings crippled each twelvemonth and sow nonstop successful the archetypal week of May,’ says Nina Marshall. ‘They ever supply america with an abundance of flowers.’ 

Choose a spot successful afloat prima wherever tithonia has country to turn (it tin scope 6ft (1.8m) oregon more) and guarantee the ungraded is good drained. ‘Don't interest astir fertilizing,’ advises Catherine Kaczor. ‘Too overmuch fertilizer tin effect successful less blooms and much foliage. Tithonia is beauteous debased attraction and amusive to grow. When blooms travel successful mid to precocious summer, bask watching the parade of pollinators that volition follow.’

When to works sunflowers successful pots

Compact yearly helianthus tin beryllium grown successful well-drained pots of compost connected a sunny terrace oregon windowsill. This is simply a large mode for children to get progressive successful sunflower growing. Try the characterful ‘Short Stuff’ oregon the shaggy ‘Teddy Bear’, which don’t get excessively tall.  

‘My favourite kid-friendly sunflower is ‘Teddy Bear’,’ says Shannie McCabe, ‘The plants are short, conscionable 18 to 24 inches gangly and the heads are unique, having afloat treble petals that marque the flowers precise fluffy, conscionable similar a teddy bear! It’s speedy to mature and casual to grow.’ 

As for erstwhile to works sunflowers successful pots, you tin get potted annuals disconnected to an aboriginal start. Sow them nether screen (for example, successful a greenhouse oregon connected a agleam windowsill) successful March oregon April in the containers they are going to turn in. Alternatively, sow them extracurricular from mid-April to mid-June into the containers they are going to turn in. Choose a well-drained cookware that is ample capable to incorporate the dwarf sunflower erstwhile it reaches its afloat size (usually astir 2ft (60cm)). Place the pots successful sun, h2o regularly (especially successful hot, adust weather), and look guardant to their cheery aureate flowers bursting into bloom travel summer.