Sunflowers are a happy flowering plant and add a lot of colour and joy to our lives.
They have many uses since the seeds are very nutritious and are high in zinc, potassium & phosphorus.
Oil is also extracted from the seed that is mainly used for cooking.
For fresh sprouts the seeds can be sown in soil and grown to a height of about 5cm.
Then cut at soil level, washed and are ready to be eaten. Sunflowers are also a great bird attractant for species such as parrots and lorikeets.
The variety “Evening Sun” produces branches of smaller flower heads up to 15cm across and is multi coloured ranging from yellow, pink, burgundy and a range of burnt orange colours. It grows to 120cm tall.
Two of the largest and brilliant coloured growing types are the “Mammoth” and the “Giant Russian”. The flowers are golden yellow and grow up to 40cm across. The plants can stand up to 2 – 3 metres in height.
Sunflowers are easy to grow and are a great choice for children to start with.
How To Grow Sunflowers
Sunflowers are planted in spring right up until the end of January in most areas. Prepare any good garden soil by providing ample drainage. Dig in well rotted animal manure, compost or a complete Organic fertilizer if required. Essential for good strong growth is to choose a sunny position.
The P.H of the soil should be between 5.5 and 6.5. Sow 2 – 3 seeds direct in garden position, space 50cm apart. Cover seed with 1 – 2cm of soil.
Keep moist until seeds germinate. After germination, thin the weakest plants out leaving the strongest ones.
Protect seedlings from slugs, snails and caterpillars at this early stage. Water only when plants become a little dry. Plants will grow quickly through the summer months. Keep well watered in dry weather.
Plants will mature in 60 – 80 days. Enjoy their spectacular flowers and watch them as they follow the sun.
Article courtesy of Greenpatch Organic Seeds, www.greenpatchseeds.com.au.