Sunflowers always catch the eyes as they scrap the sky above the landscape. But in order to enjoy these wonderful yellow flowers you must first learn how to plant and grow them right.
The first most important thing is choosing a well drained place where sunflowers can get the most sun possible. Take into account that sunflower heads must face the east so they can be exposed fully in the sunrise. Still, pick a location which provides both east exposure and great view for you to admire their grace.
The second step is finding the right sunflower seeds for you to plant. There are many sunflower types available on the market, but if you want huge sunflowers, opt for the “tall” type. The most successful seeds for huge sunflowers are named “Kong” and “Mammoth”. The flowers growing from these seed can reach a 10-20 feet height and will develop massive seed heads.
In order to plant sunflower seeds you have to dig a hole approximately 2 feet in circumference and about 18 inches in depth. So that the position to be ideal, the center of each hole should be about 2 feet from the center of the hole next to it. More space will lead to larger sunflower heads, but thinner stalks that cannot support the weight of the huge seed heads. Less space means both smaller heads and thicker stalks. The ideal spacing between sunflowers is 24 inches.
Usual sunflowers can grow in poor soil, but if you want huge plants, you must enrich the soil conditions. The soil removed from the hole should be loosened while any rocks, roots or other debris should be taken away. In each hole mix a half shovel of potting mix and a half shovel of humus. Use enriched soil mixture to back fill the holes.
Plant the sunflower seeds as early as possible in order to allow them to reach maximum height. The right time is mid May to early June, as soon as the last frost has occurred. Plant three sunflower seeds in each hole even if eventually only one plant will remain. The three seeds must be positioned approximately an inch distance from each other. With your finger push each seed in to the soil an inch deep. Sprinkle some soil over to cover the seeds, and pat with your hand.
Huge sunflowers consume a lot of water, so frequent light watering is the best solution. Don`t over-water the soil. If puddling happens, stop watering till the soil becomes dried out.
A liquid fertilizer used every 1-2 weeks assures the equilibrate growing of the plants. The fertilizer must be diluted following the instructions on the package. Pour it around the base of the sunflower, never directly on the stalk or the flower.
Take away the weakest looking plant per group when the seedlings have grown their second set of leaves or when they have reached 3 inches in height. When they are about 2 feet tall, leave only the healthiest looking sunflower from each group.