Sunflower - Orange-Sun Sunflower, Annual

Avg seeds/pkt 28

Orange Sun produces dozens of luscious 6-inch flowers on the branching stems of each 6-foot plant. Cut them for arrangements on a regular basis to keep new flowers coming. Left uncut, the showy, mum-like flowers will reveal seeds which disappear when the blue jays arrive.

Most sunflowers develop deep taproots, and when possible, are sown directly in the ground after the average last frost date. First, improve the soil for these heavy feeders by adding compost to the top 8 inches. Then, plant groups of 3 seeds 1 inch deep, with 18 inches between groups. Water regularly for germination in 6–12 days. When seedlings have2  true leaves, thin to the strongest plant in each group, and mulch well. 

That said, local wildlife leaves me with no choice but to start sunflowers indoors, 3 seeds in each 8-inch pot which is deep enough for their developing taproots. Snip all but the largest seedlings and transplant when they’re 6 inches tall.

Most sunflowers need deep watering once a week, and they need a bit more nitrogen than other flowers. Apply a 4-4-4 granular fertilizer and compost every couple of weeks for the first two months. Blooms start in about 65 days.

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