You have a bag of sunflower seeds, and you would like to have a cheerful row of sunflowers in your garden. In this article, we will tell you how to do this.
Sow your sunflower seeds directly in the garden and choose a spacious spot with lots of sunshine. Loosen the soil thoroughly so that the roots can grow easily. It is best to do this from halfway through May when there is no longer a chance of frost. Make a hole two to three centimeters deep and place the sunflower seed point up in the hole. Fill the hole with soil and pour at least half a liter of water over it.
Water your sunflowers extra on the days when it is not raining. If you want extra large sunflowers, you can “feed” them extra with plant food when they are about half a meter high. With a bamboo stick, you can support the sunflower, so that they don’t flip over whenever there is a strong wind.
If you like small sunflowers, you can buy seeds for so-called dwarf sunflowers at a plantation or garden center. These sunflowers grow to only 40 centimeters in height and bloom quickly after sowing. This mini sunflower quickly produces side branches that also have beautiful sunflowers. Plant several dwarf sunflowers in a pot for a beautiful full, and cheerful look. The dwarf sunflower blooms from May to October if you put it in a sunny place. First, sow the seeds in (peat) pots, next put them together in a larger pot. The dwarf sunflower needs a lot of water. Water the flower at least twice a week.
Can I keep sunflowers in pots?
There are many types of sunflowers, some of which are extremely suitable for keeping in pots. For example, the dwarf sunflower described above, or the so-called Sunsation. The Sunsation grows to about 30 centimeters high and can be placed both indoors and outdoors on the terrace. This variant has a large flower with a black heart and a super-strong leaf.
Give the sunflower in the pot plenty of water. If you water it every day, you will enjoy it the longest. Make sure you don’t keep the pot soaking wet all day, else the roots will rot. A little flower food once a week is also a good idea. Cut the wilted flowers from the plant to give the new buds more room to bloom.
What types of sunflowers are there?
There are many types of sunflowers, both annuals, and perennials. Below we list the most famous:
- Helianthus annuus is the most famous sunflower. This is an annual flower that grows to about one meter in height. This flower has a beautiful yellow flower on each thick stem.
- Helianthus debilis is also an annual flower, but this flower grows branched, so you have new flowers in your garden all summer long. The debilis is about half a meter high.
- Helianthus Florenza is a beautiful reddish-brown flower with a yellow edge. This flower grows to about 1.20m high.
- Red sunflower, the Helianthus annuus Red Sun is a very popular flower. This one is different shades of red and has a long stem. It is therefore also very suitable as a cut flower. This red sunflower grows to a height of 1.50m to 1.80m and flowers from June to September.
- The Mammoth Sunflower is a tall flower that can grow up to 5 meters. It is best to germinate this flower indoors in a peat pot and then place it in a sunny spot in the garden. This huge sunflower could use some support, so make sure you have long bamboo poles ready.
- Spring sunflower is a yellow flower that, as its name suggests, blooms early, from April to May. This sunflower grows to about 40 centimeters high and is very suitable for the ornamental garden. This flower is a perennial and will bloom again every year.
- Heart-leaf sunflower is also a perennial that blooms from May through July. This flower grows to a height of 30 to 90 centimeters and is characterized by small yellow flowers which usually grow with two to six together.
What is the meaning of sunflower?
The sunflower is not just any flower. This flower is native to Central and South America and was brought to Europe by the Spanish conquerors. The scientific name of the sunflower is Helianthus, which is a compound between the Greek words Helios (sun) and Anthos (flower).
The symbolic meaning of the sunflower is happiness, lust for life, adoration, and admiration.
After the flowering season of your sunflower, you can cut the sunflowers and throw them in the green container, but you can also dry the sunflower and “harvest” the seeds. There are a couple of ways to do this.
How to dry sunflowers
When you see the sunflower begin to wither, it is ready to be harvested. Make sure that the sunflower remains dry, otherwise the seeds will not separate from the flower. It is therefore important for this method that the weather is dry. If it’s wet outside, the second method “Cut the flower and dry it” may be a better method.
If you still want to dry the flower on the stem, tie a paper bag tightly around the flower. This prevents animals from eating the seeds and also ensures that the seeds fall to the ground, which saves time when harvesting. After a while, when the back of the flower has turned completely brown, it is time to cut the flower and start harvesting.
Leave about 12 inches of stem attached to the flower. Then take the bag off and remove the seeds from the flower. You should be able to shake it out easily now. The seeds that are still attached can simply be removed by brushing over the center of the flower. You can harvest more than 1000 seeds from one sunflower, depending on the type of sunflower of course.
Dry sunflower heads
As I said .. in a wet climate it may be easier to cut the flower and dry it indoors. Again, tie a paper bag tightly over the flower and then cut the flower off with about 30 centimeters of stem. Next hang the flowers upside down, from the stem, using a piece of string. Preferably do this in a warm dry room. Check the sunflowers regularly and collect the seeds that have already fallen off in an airtight container. That way the seeds stay nice and fresh. It takes about four days to completely dry the sunflowers.
Harvesting sunflower seeds
What’s next? What do you do with all those seeds? First of all, you must rinse the seeds properly with cold water. This way you rinse off dirt and any bacteria. Next lay out a thick towel and spread the seeds on it to let them dry. Now leave them alone for a few hours.
Sunflower seeds, plant or eat
You can eat the seeds now or save them for reseeding the next season.
- Plant sunflower seeds
Keep the seeds in an airtight container and plant them again in the spring. You can of course also use the natural way to achieve this, by not manually drying the sunflowers. But an advantage of this method is that you can protect the seeds against animals and wetness.
- Eating sunflower seeds
If you want to eat the seeds, you can salt and roast them immediately. To do this, leave the seeds in a mixture of 2 liters of water and 100 milliliters of salt overnight. Next let the seeds drain completely on kitchen paper, for example, and then you can spread them over the baking tray (tip: use baking paper). Roast the seeds for about half an hour until golden brown at 150 degrees celcius. Shake the seeds regularly while roasting. Let the seeds cool down completely and….enjoy!