Species: Helianthus annuus
Common name: Sunflower
Height: from 45cm (18 inches) to 3m (10 feet)
Grow as: annual
Flowering period: July to September
Use packetseeds.com Tall Single variety.
The sunflower is an annual herb used for agricultural and ornamental purposes. Depending on variety, tall types can be used in the back of a border, dwarf types used as pot plants or as cut flowers.
Seeds are large, off-white with black stripes.
Growing: Grow for competition to see how tall plants will grow, as a pot plant, a display plant or for cut flowers.
Plants thrive in any garden soil in a warm, sunny situation. They are intolerant of wet and cold soil and require ample nutrients to grow and flower well. Fertiliser should be applied several times during the growing period until the flowers appear. Water must also be applied in drought periods. Tall forms should be sown in situations sheltered from the wind and if necessary tied to a stake for support.
Leave plants in place in the early autumn, birds will enjoy eating the seeds.
Sowing: Seeds may be sown outdoors late April or early May, in their final position at a depth of 2cm (1 inch). For earlier flowering sow under glass in March or April for planting out in May, germination temperature 21°C (70°F).
The sunflower is a native of North America. Seeds were brought to Spain in 1510, and thereafter spread throughout Europe.
The annual Helianthus annuus has numerous forms divided into groups according to height and shape of flower. The flowering period lasts from mid-July until autumn. Originally cultivated as a food crop with edible seeds or as an oil crop. The oil from the seeds is of high quality used in cooking.
Sunflowers are planted separately or in small clumps in mixed beds of tall plants, as solitary subjects or as a hedge, to mask walls and fences, and to demarcate or separate large areas. They are also good as cut flowers. For garden display choose a more compact variety The name sunflower is derived from the way the flower turns throughout to day to keep facing the sun, a phenomenon known as phototropism.