indepspirit
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Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:51 pm

Need help growing sunflower

My wife likes sunflowers so I got her one to plant by the front porch. The tag that came with it says its a Dwarf Sunflower Ballad. We brought it home and transplanted it to a planter by the front steps. The area gets about 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. It also said they like moist soil so we were watering it every 3-4 days. Basically I would water it when the top of the soil dries out. The large flower in the middle of the plant closed up after a couple of days of transplanting it. There were 2 smaller flowers underneath the larger one that were closed up when we bought the plant. They never opened up and have now turned brown and the now closed large flower is turning brown also. Closer towards the bottom of the stem two more small buds showed up about a week after transplanting it. However when they appeared they were brown and only stayed for a couple of days and fell of the stem.

So I am wondering, should I remove the flowers on the top and just leave the stem in the ground? If so how do I remove the spent flowers? Are we watering it to much? Is it getting enough sun? I have never grown sunflowers before so need some advice on how to take care of this one.
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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Need help growing sunflower

Sunflowers don't like to be transplanted. That's a definite conclusion that I've reached after experimenting last year. So it's better to buy seeds of variety sunflower you want to grow, and sow directly where they are to grow.

That's one probable reason your sunflower didn't do so well. Now, looking at the photos, I'm also wondering how deep this planter is. It almost looks as though it is on the tiled base? If there is no open bottom and soil under that, this is way too shallow for even a dwarf sunflower. They grow an extensive root system. Assume needing at least as deep as 1/3 to 1/2 the height of the mature sunflower.

They are said to prefer rich soil -- like vegetable garden. But it's been my experience that they really grow well in a lawn-turned-new garden bed if you flip the sod in place, cover with newspaper or cardboard, top with a little compost and soil, mulch, then open up spaces for the seeds and plant. (If using cardboard, best to prep at least 2 weeks ahead, then cut an X in the cardboard before sowing so they can grow down below the cardboard.). Tall sunflowers will dig deep with their roots, so they are good pioneer plants to prep the bed for next year's more soil fussy plants.

To sow the seeds, I pre-germinate them. This way, you are only sowing seeds that are ready to grow.
:arrow: Subject: 2014 pre-germinating/sprouting experiment Peas, Corn, Curcs
applestar wrote:Did I mention I'm trying sunflowers and beets now? Started soaking them two nights ago and after full day of rinse and drain, the sunflower seeds have already started to germinate:
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I already knew it works for sunflowers after last year's experiment, but I had a couple of sunflower seed heads hanging upside down on the end of a curtain rod all this time (completely forgot about them) and I had no idea if they were still viable after being near the window and all.

Still waiting on the beets. Started nasturtiums and cleome. :()
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Looking at the nice unbroken rows of sprouted peas and corn already growing in the garden, I'm really liking how the pre-germinated seeds hardly ever fail to grow where you sowed them. :D I'm going to try growing a fence row of sunflowers (along a difference fence than the last time where they were all facing the neighbor's house when they bloomed :roll:). I'm planting them along the fence with the neighbor who is using a lawn service. Hopefully, the sunflowers will help to provide a screen barrier against wind drift, soak up any unwanted chemicals, and also act as warning by indicating any sign of broadleaf herbicide.

Sunflowers are growing
Sunflowers are growing
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indepspirit
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:51 pm

Re: Need help growing sunflower

The planter does have an open bottom to it and is 7 " deep. It is right at the edge of the pavers but does have soil underneath it. However the soil underneath it is good old hard clay CA soil. If I build a wood planter to replace the plastic one that is a foot deep with an open bottom would that help? I can replace some of the clay soil underneath before building the new planter. We liked the idea of the dwarf sunflower so it would grow to the top of the porch and fill in the corner. Will have to go look for seeds and try them. How much spacing do they need? It is not a long area but am wondering if there is room for 2 of them. Is it to late to plant the seeds this year?

imafan26
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Re: Need help growing sunflower

I usually start sunflowers from seed. If you buy a sunflower in bloom it may already be on its' way out. A sunflower peaks for only a couple of days before it starts to close up. The maximum bloom time start to finish I have had has never been more than 10 days.

Apple is probably right, the buds dying is probably from shock. I have transplanted sunflowers before and it can be done, but you really do not want to disturb their roots or plant them too deeply.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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