The Basics Of Planting Sunflowers

Planting sunflowers is easy -- plant sunflower seeds directly into the ground anytime in the spring after the ground has thawed.

They do best in full sun, although they will tolerate some partial shade.

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How to plant sunflower seeds

Space seeds 1-3 feet apart and cover with 1/2" to 1" (1-2 cm) of dirt.

Seeds can be started indoors and transplanted when the sunflower is very young (as in right when the sprout comes from the soil) but you may not get as good a result this way as planting the seeds directly.

Birds and animals like to dig up and eat sunflower seeds in the early spring, so some people cover the seeds after planting them with a row cover or netting for the first week, until the seed has sprouted.

Water daily until the seed germinates, in about 5-7 days. If you don't see a seedling after a week, plant another seed there, as the first one likely didn't make it.

Sunflowers don't need much care once established -- if there is a severe drought, they may need a bit of watering -- but they are fairly tough plants and can take care of themselves for the most part.

Once you begin planting sunflowers, you will have "volunteers" the next year, although the seeds will usually be smaller as years go by. So if you are planting in order to get giant sunflowers you will probably need to plant new seed every year.

If you plan to plant sunflowers repeatedly in the same spot, enrich the soil over the winter with manure or compost to help improve the next summer's seed production.

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