Transform your garden into a real Van Gogh painting with the addition of his famous sunflower! This includes any of the annual varieties from the Helianthus genus.
Common name : Sunflower
Scientific name : Helianthus annuus
Family : Asteraceae
Category : Annual
In addition to the common sunflower, Helianthus also includes 70 to 80 other species, both annual and perennial, all of which originate from the Americas: from Canada to Central America all the way down to the western part of South America.
Most varieties can be described as a large shrub plants with creeping or tuberous roots. Simple leaves, usually oval, alternating or opposite to each other, and rough to the touch. Stems can grow from 40 cm to 4 m high according to the variety. Few to no branches, the sunflower has one or sometimes multiple flower heads (inflorescence consisting of small tubular flowers, or disc florets, toward the center, surrounded by one or more rows of ligules, or ray flowers), typically golden yellow in color, with a yellow or brown center, but also come in shades of red, brick, or brown. Perennials can grow to be 5 to 10 cm in diameter, while the mammoth annual varieties can reach 30 cm.
Plant mammoth Helianthus varieties in a large flowerbed, and in a pot for the dwarf varieties.
Sowing & planting
30 - 300
6 - 7
Identify my sunflower
Unless you've been living under a rock all your life, you'd recognize them. Oh, all right, here it goes: the sunflower, also called heliotropium, is a large annual plant belonging to the Asteraceae family, whose flowers have very large flower heads. The Helianthus genus is made up of about 50 species, all from North America, like... The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.), believe it or not!
Sow my sunflower
Sow the Helianthus in open soil starting in April, when the risk of frost has passed, until mid-June. Stagger the sowing to prolong the flowering.
All Helianthus prefer direct sunlight: they even need a long and hot summer in order to flower well.
However, they accept all types of soil, even poor, sandy, or stony as long as they are well drained. Nevertheless, cool soil that is a little chalky still gives a beautiful flowering.
Place them in the back of a flower bed or against a wall in the sun but sheltered from wind for giant varieties. Here's a fun idea: if your garden is well sheltered, plant some sunflowers to use as stakes for climbing garden garden varieties such as beans!
In open soil, clear the soil of roots and weeds. Sow 2 to 3 seeds in seed holes, burying them 2 to 3 cm deep, 50 cm apart.
If you want to plant it in a box or pot, choose a container that is big enough to allow the roots to grow (30 to 40 cm), filled with a porous mixture. Sow 3 to 6 seeds, cover them. Only keep the strongest plants.
Thin out my sunflower
After sprouting in the seed holes, the seeds may have given several plants: only keep the strongest plant for each one. For larger varieties, also consider spacing out the plants in order to let air through and to avoid disease, especially powdery mildew.
Sprouting should happen within 1 to 2 weeks, and they should flower 3 or 4 months later.
Water my sunflower
To boost rooting and produce strong stems, water thoroughly but not often. In the summer, never let the soil dry completely.
Avoid dampening the leaves when it's hot out or watering at the end of the day as the foliage will stay wet during the night, which could lead to the appearance of powdery mildew.
Water plotted plants frequently.
Mulch my sunflower
As soon as it starts to be dry enough, mulch with grass cuttings, bark, or sticks for example.
Prop my sunflower
When planted in soil with wind exposure, giant varieties might need to be staked. If this is the case, set a stake early enough in the season and attach the stem with some pieces of string that you will adjust regularly.
Remove my sunflower
As soon as the flowering is finished, you can pull out the plants that aren't producing seeds and compost the remains.
You can let the flowers full of seeds dry a little there, then either abandon them to attract winter birds or retrieve the seeds to plant the next season.
Propagate my sunflower
You can replant the harvested seeds, but in the case of F1 hybrid varieties found in stores, you won't always obtain flowers true to the original plant.
Near the end of September, when the seeds are mature, the stem becomes hard, and the flowers bend down: it is time to retrieve the seeds!
Cut off the entire head and leave it to ripen in a dry and sheltered place.
At the end of a few days, the seeds will sound hollow when you pass your nail over it — you can knock them off by scraping vigorously. Store them in a dry spot or eat them.
Reap my sunflower
To create a bouquet, cut the flowers in the morning just before they open using a clean and sharp knife.
For your bouquet of sunflowers to last longer, use a large vase and change the water every day. Think about cutting the stem by a centimeter or so from time to time.
If you want to benefit from your sunflower bouquet all year, you can also dry them. Cut the stems without crushing them and remove the leaves from the bottom, then attach a few flowers with a string or raffia, and hang them upside down in a dry, hot, and ventilated place. After 3 weeks, your bouquets will be ready!