How to Grow Sunflowers

Additional Tips and Advice

  1. Sunflowers can also be used as dried flowers for decorative purposes.  If you intend to do so, cut the flowers just before the petals wither and die off, leaving a larger piece of stem.  Hang the flower heads by the stem in a warm, dry place, and in about 3 to 4 weeks you will have a dried sunflower for use in craft or decorative projects.
  2. If you are not a fan of sunflower seeds, or you’ve chosen a variety whose seeds are too small to offer much in the way of snacking, consider sharing your harvest with your animal friends.  When the flower petals begin to wither and drop off, cut the flower head off at the stem, spread the seed pockets open, and place the flower head in an area by a tree or birdbath where it will attract a variety of birds, squirrels and other small animals.
  3. If birds or other animals begin attacking your sunflower head before the seeds are ripe, you can protect it by placing an old nylon stocking or cheese cloth bag over the flower head until seeds are ripe for harvest.  Don’t use plastic bags as the buildup of moisture and heat will rot the flower.
  4. If your sunflowers are done blooming in the fall, and you’ve harvested the flower heads, the stalks themselves may be dried, tied together, and used as a decorative accent to your outdoor fall decorating.
  5. Don’t throw your sunflower heads on your compost heap even if you think all the seeds have been harvested; inevitably, you will end up with a compost heap full of sunflower sprouts.

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