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The Sunny Sunflower

Ahh the sunflower, known for its happiness, loyalty, adoration, peace, honesty and longevity it has the power to make people happy.

For the last 22 years of living at the beach, there has been a designated patch of space solely devoted to the sunflower.

Why grow sunflowers?

These beautiful blooms including their cut flowers and free edible seeds also attract pest-patrolling birds and bees to improve a harvest, and even help detox contaminated soil.

Whether you're hoping to make an eye-catching statement or you want to incorporate more edible crops into your garden, growing sunflowers is a great place to start. If you've never grown sunflowers from seed before, planting them for the first time might feel intimidating. The good news is, adding these towering yellow beauties to your yard is relatively easy because they are a native sunflower and have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Successfully growing sunflowers from seed in your outdoor garden

requires a few important steps.

  1. Choose your sunflower variety. First, choose the type of sunflower you want to grow. Sunflowers come in many colors and sizes, including disease-resistant varieties. Keep in mind most sunflower varieties are annual, meaning you'll have to plant new seeds each year.

  2. Identify a garden plot. As their name indicates, sunflowers need lots of sun, so choose a garden plot that gets unobstructed sunlight for the majority of the day. Avoid lower areas of your yard, which might be likely to collect water. Be mindful not to place seeds too close to other crops.

  3. Plant the seeds. Dig 1-inch trenches in the soil, then plant your sunflower seeds about 6 inches apart. If you're planting more than one row, space each row at least 2 feet apart. Aim to keep the soil moist until the seedlings start to pop up. "The top few inches of soil should be evenly moist until the sunflowers germinate, or the seed leaves pop up.

  4. Thin the plants. Thinning, or removing close-together seedlings, ensures each plant has enough access to the moisture, nutrients, and light it needs to grow. When the first leaves start to appear, thin the seedings so each plant is 18 inches to 2 feet apart—wider is better, if you planted large or branching varieties.

  5. Add mulch. Top-dressing your soil can help regulate moisture and temperature, but make sure to wait until after the sunflowers sprout so you don't stifle growing seedlings. Cover the soil with 2 inches of mulch, leaf compost or wood chips. If you use DIY leaf mulch, you can get away with fertilizing less throughout the growing season.

Caring for Sunflowers

Sunflowers are indigenous to the Americas, and are quite forgiving when it comes to soil. One thing to keep in mind: Sunflowers are prone to root rot, so it's important to protect their roots from water logging. Well-draining, loamy soil is your best bet; if your area's soil isn't well-balanced, consider amending it to achieve better drainage.

Many varieties of sunflower are somewhat drought-tolerant, so while they need some moisture to grow, they can survive if you skip a watering or water less.

Here is the biggest key to a successful sunflower garden.


Sunflowers prefer as much sun as possible—ideally, eight hours of full sun a day, and no fewer than six. That may mean it's best to plant your seeds in a sunnier space than you'd planned.

Let the sun dictate where you plant rather than aesthetic preferences.

Need Sunflower Seeds, after all of the years of growing sunflowers in my garden, I've collected the seeds and now we have them in glass vials in the store for sale or you can purchase online.

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