Helianthus annuus (Annual Sunflower) comes in many sizes, colors, and heights. Get sunflower facts and information to help you grow and care for Helianthus annuus varieties. Homeowners and gardeners enjoy the bright sunflower yellow colors of sunflowers. They are among the more popular types of yellow plants for producing a fabulous yellow display. Helianthus annuus is also a good choice of flower for children's gardens because they are so easy to grow. There are many sunflower varieties to choose from so be sure to check the heights of the plants before you purchase them.
Helianthus annuus Facts and Information
Sunflowers will grow in many zones and will thrive if it is given full sun. Helianthus annuus grows 3-15’ h x 2’ w. They are annual plants, meaning that will only grow for one season. They prefer full sun and moderately fertile, well-drained, alkaline soil.
Helianthus annuus Flowers
Sunflower plants come in many sizes and varieties and color combinations. Most of them have large, daisylike yellow flowers that appear in summer with a dark brown or mahogany central disk. These brightly colored blooms will attract butterflies and are excellent as fresh cut flowers.
Sunflower Seed Uses
Sunflower blooms provide sunflower seeds that will also attract birds of many species to your yard. Sunflower seeds can be purchased in many forms such as, sunflower seeds for planting, sunflower seeds in bulk (both raw and unsalted), sunflower seeds for birds, seeds for sprouting. Sunflower seeds are also used in sunflower oil, and sunflower butter.
Staking will most likely be needed at some point as the stalks grow very tall and the weight of the flower weighs down the stalk. Stake tall sunflowers early when the root system is small. Use expandable stakes so the stake can grow as the plant grows. They do well planted in groups at the back of the informal border or along fences, or against sheds, barns, or gazebos.
Plant sunflowers 24” apart in late spring after the last frost. Apply a slow release fertilizer at the time of planting. Water sunflower plants deeply whenever the soil becomes dry. You can also apply a 3” vegetative mulch I summer to help retain soil moisture.
Leave seed heads for birds to feast on or cut back after blooms fade to promote tidiness. Remove plants just beofre the first frost or right afterward in cooler climates. Cover bare soil with 3” of mulch during the winter to protect topsoil.
Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the soil mix and cover lightly. Thorougly moisten and keep moist, not soggy, until seeds germinate. Germination occurs in 5-10 days at 68-72 degrees.
Sunflower Pests and Diseases
Sunflowers often get downy mildew, powdery mildew, rust, and fungal leaf spots. Pests include caterpillars, beetles, weevils, and cutworms.
Helianthus annuus ‘Autumn Beauty’ has 6” yellow, bronze, and red-tinted flowers.
Helianthus annuus ‘Music Box’ has 4” flowers in shades of yellow and red with a black disk.
Helianthus annuus ‘Russian Giant’ reaches 11’ tall and has yellow flowers.
Helianthus annuus ‘Teddy Bear’ reaches 3’ tall, has double golden-yellow flowers and is ideal for growing in containers.
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