Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:54 pm
With sunflowers you plant the summer in your garden. The yellow flowers are not only beautiful, but also extremely useful. Learn here how to plant and care for them easily.
Sunflowers are an asset to any garden or balcony. Originally from North and Central America, the composite flower was brought to Europe in the mid-16th century. Here, sunflowers enjoy great popularity because of their size and yellow petals. Sunflowers can grow up to two meters high, in rare cases even up to three meters.
By planting sunflowers, you do something good for many animals:
The healthy sunflower seeds serve as food for birds. They are particularly rich in fat and protein.
For bumblebees and bees, sunflowers are an important source of pollen and nectar. The bees and bumblebees thus have more food, can survive better and ultimately pollinate our crops.
The right time to plant sunflowers
Sunflowers you need to reseed every year. The yellow plants do not like cool temperatures at all. Therefore, you should not start sowing before the end of April. Here’s how:
- Plant three to five seeds about two inches deep in moist soil.
- Plant the flowers at least 50 centimeters apart so they don’t get in each other’s way.
- Water the plants regularly.
- The plants will grow especially well if you fertilize the soil with a little compost.
Tip: You can also grow sunflowers in pots from the beginning of March. You should keep the pot moist in a warm and bright place indoors. At the end of May, you can either put the pot outside or place the plant in a bed.
Location for self-planted sunflowers
For the location of your sunflowers, you should choose a part of your garden or balcony where the sun shines for about five to six hours a day. Sunflowers like it bright and warm.
Sunflowers need enough space: ideally, they can grow several meters high. And also the flowers can reach a diameter of up to 50 centimeters.
Choose a windless place. Because in strong winds, the stem could bend over.
Planting sunflowers in a pot
- Fill a small plant pot with soil.
- Insert two to five sunflower seeds at a time about two centimeters deep into the soil.
- Place the plant pot in a bright and warm place.
- Keep the soil moist by watering it regularly.
- Sunflowers are heavy growers and need a lot of nutrients. Therefore, fertilize the plants once or twice a week, for example with homemade plant fertilizer.
- From the end of May you can put the sunflowers outside.
- If you generally want to leave the flowers in the tub or pot, you can also put them out sooner. However, bring them indoors if there is a night frost.
Plants that are permanently in pots must be transplanted after some time. The plant pots should have a minimum diameter of 30 centimeters. Grow only one sunflower per pot. Otherwise, the roots will not be able to spread sufficiently.
Smaller sunflower varieties with a growth height of up to 120 centimeters are more suitable as potted plants. These are, for example, the varieties Garden Statement, Italian White or Double Dandy.
After planting: Sunflower care tips
Sunflowers do not like dry periods at all. They need a lot of water. So regular watering is a must – especially in midsummer.
To prevent the long stems from bending from a height of 50cm, you can carefully tie them to a stake as a support.
Especially young plants are a delicacy for snails. Therefore, you should protect the sunflowers from slugs.
With good care, you can enjoy the sunflowers until October.
Tip: Harvesting sunflower seeds
If not all the seeds have already been picked away by industrious birds, you can also harvest them yourself. Sunflower seeds are healthy – among other things, they contain protein, many B vitamins, calcium and magnesium. You can spice up your muesli or salad with this vitamin bomb. You can also sow the seeds next year for new sunflowers. This is how harvesting works:
The best time is in the fall, when the head of the sunflower flower can be easily detached from the style. The back of the head will be brown and dry to the touch.
Indoors, you can shake the head of the plant vigorously. The seeds that have not fallen out can be removed with a brush.
Afterwards, wash the seeds thoroughly in a sieve and place them on a towel to dry.
If you want to eat the seeds, you can now roast them in the oven and eat them.
For next year’s sowing, put the sunflower seeds in a paper bag and store them in a dry place until spring.