The ever popular sunflower plant
The sunflower is probably the most famous flower there is. The yellow giant is also very popular with children. She puts a smile on everyone's face and always puts us in a good mood.
Sunflowers bloom the same year you sow them. This fact makes them particularly attractive for all hobby gardeners. We will show you how easy it is to plant your own sunflowers and what you need to pay particular attention to.
The Story of the Sunflower
The sunflower originally comes from North and Central America. Spanish sailors brought some Sami people to Europe in the 16th century. At first it was only used as an ornamental plant.
Their use as food, e.g. as sunflower oil, was only discovered later.
The sunflower (Helianthus anuus) belongs to the daisy family. The special thing about the sunflower is that it always turns its buds and blossoms towards the sun.
When to plant sunflowers? The right time
If you want to plant your sunflowers directly outside, you should wait until there is no more frost at night. This is usually the case in April. The seeds absolutely cannot tolerate the frost and do not even begin to germinate.
Tip: Should it get chilly again, you can protect the shoots with a plant cover. You can usually get these in any hardware store.
The optimal location for your sunflower plants
As the name suggests, the sunflower loves the blazing sun. So put it in a sunny spot. It is also important that it is somewhat sheltered from the wind.
Once the sunflower has grown into a giant, it can easily collapse. A sunny place on a facade or a fence would therefore be optimal, these serve as a support for the sunflower.
Sowing sunflowers: This is how you grow your plant from sunflower seeds
Another variant than sowing them directly outdoors is pre-cultivation on the windowsill. A big advantage is that you can put them outside directly as a young plant. They are more robust and therefore have an easier start in your bed or pot.
Step 1: Prepare your pots or seed tray. If you sow your seeds directly into small pots, you don't have to prick them out later. You can use extra potting soil for the cultivation.
Step 2: Sowing can now begin at the beginning of March. To do this, sow 3-5 sunflower seeds in a planting hole about 2 centimeters deep, because a plant does not grow from every seed. In this way you increase the chance that your seeds will germinate and a seedling will grow from them.
Step 3: After planting sunflowers, put them in a warm and bright place. In any case, the window sill is very suitable.
Step 4: Now moisten the soil well, but make sure that the seedlings are not in the water. If the water accumulates, it can happen that your cores start to rot.
Step 5: after a few days you will already see little plants coming out of the ground. Once they have 2 leaves, you should pinch all smaller plants from a seed hole, except for one of course. The strongest will remain standing and grow into a yellow giant.
Step 6: After only the strongest plant is left, you should transplant it. This means you carefully remove them from their hole and pot them in separate pots. Of course, you only have to do this if you haven't previously sown them in separate pots.
Plant sunflowers on The Balcony
Smaller varieties are particularly suitable for the balcony.Dwarf sunflowers don't grow taller than 70 cm. Normal sunflowers, on the other hand, can reach a height of 5 m.
As soon as there is no more frost, you can also sow your sunflowers directly in pots on the balcony. Here you should have a planting distance of 30-40cm, otherwise the yellow giants will get in each other's way later. If you have sown too tightly, you can of course still replant them as young plants.
Proper sunflower care
After planting sunflowers, proper care is very important. Casting is especially important.
Big flower, lots of water
The sunflower needs a lot of water. The bigger it is, the more water it needs. A daily watering is mandatory here.
On particularly sunny days, you should water in the morning and in the evening. However, it does not tolerate waterlogging.
Fertilizing is the be-all and end-all
Unfortunately, planting and watering sunflowers is not enough. Fertilizing is also incredibly important for sunflowers. Due to the size of the plant and the flowers, sufficient nutrients are essential.
Harvest sunflower seeds
To harvest sunflower seeds, you have to wait for the right time. Sunflower seeds only separate from the flower when it is completely dry. As soon as the back of the flower turns yellowish to brownish, you should prepare to harvest. Harvest can begin about 5 days after withering.
The easiest way is to cut the wilted flower off the plant and dry it in your apartment. You can keep undamaged seeds in an airtight bowl and sow new sunflowers next year.
Tip: If you put a bag over the severed flower and hang it upside down, all the seeds will simply fall into the bag by themselves.
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