The scientific name of Sunflowers is Helianthus annuus and the plants are a treasure of summertime. How long does it take for sunflowers to bloom? Actually Sunflowers typically begin blooming in the mid-summer and can persist into early fall. The flowers, which stretch around three to six inches across on average, have a broad central disk surrounded by short, yellow petals. A Sunflower plant grows on a hairy, sturdy, upright stem that can be some feet high. The Sunflower plant stems can hold a single flower or be branched with multiple blooms. Actually a rough, hairy, oval to triangular leaves grow along the Sunflower plant stem. The Sunflower plants are annual, meaning the plant complete their growth cycle in 1 year. You should plant the sunflowers in the spring after the garden soil has warmed to at least fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit.


Sunflowers Info

The common name: The common names are Sunflower, common sunflower.

The scientific name: The scientific name is Helianthus annuus.

The family: Sunflower plants belong to Asteraceae family.

The plant type: Sunflower plant is an annual plant.

The mature size: The mature size is about 3-10 feet tall, 1.5–3 feet wide.

The sun exposure: Sunflower plants prefer full sun.

The soil type: Sunflower plant does well in a well-drained soil.

The soil pH : Acidic, neutral, alkaline

The blooming time: The blooming time is summer, fall.

The flower color: The flower colors are  red, yellow, mahogany, bi-colors.

USDA hardiness zones: Two to eleven.

The native area: Sunflowers are native to North America.


How Do You Grow a Sunflower Plant?

One of the major requirements for growing sunflowers is a sunny location and well-drained soil. You need to select an area sheltered from strong winds that might topple the tall plants if possible. It can be helpful to plant your sunflowers in groups to support each other against wind and rain. Most growers really like to stake their sunflowers, most especially the tall varieties, to keep the plant growing upright. The Sunflower plants can become very top-heavy when in bloom. Actually planting sunflowers along a fence is one of the easiest ways to stake them. Bamboo stakes are also strong enough to keep the Sunflower plants upright. Make sure you are very careful when inserting the stakes so you don't damage the sunflower plant's roots.

Sunflower plants don't actually like to compete with weeds, make sure you keep the garden clean. Mulching around the sunflower plants will help maintain soil moisture and weed suppression. Also, wildlife is often attracted to sunflower plants seedlings. So it's best to protect the sunflower plant seedlings with row covers or screening, removing the cover once the sunflower plants are one to two feet tall.


Light requirement

If you want your sunflower plants to get the best flowering and sturdiest stems plant them in full sun, at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Sunflower plants are heliotropic (their flower heads follow the sun), sufficient sun exposure will help the Sunflower plants remain straight rather than bending toward the direction where the light is strongest.


Soil requirement

Sunflower plants can easily grow in almost any soil, as well as poor, dry soils. However, Sunflower plants thrive in well-drained soil that actually contains a good amount of organic matter.


Water requirement

Although Sunflower plants are tolerant of dry conditions, watering the plants regularly promotes blooming, as flowering often reduces during periods of drought. Allow the top one to two inches of soil to dry out between waterings. If your sunflower plants are drooping and the soil is dry, that is often a sign that the Sunflower plants need more water.


Temperature and humidity requirement

The optimal temperatures for growing sunflower plants are between seventy and seventy-eight degree Fahrenheit. Still the plant tolerates high heat as long as their moisture needs are met. The sunflower plants can handle somewhat chilly but sunny environments. The sunflower plants also tolerate high humidity but must have well-draining soil and good air circulation in other to prevent root rot and other diseases.  


Fertilizer requirement

Actually sunflower plants appreciate a fertilizer high in phosphorus and potassium. If you also have a good rich, loamy soil, you likely will not need to supplement with fertilizer. But if you have poor soil you can apply a slow-release fertilizer starting in the spring, following the label instructions. Be very careful not to overfeed the sunflower plants, as it can cause the stalks of the plant to become spindly.


Types of Sunflowers

The Helianthus annuus 'Italian White variety

The Helianthus annuus 'Teddy Bear' variety

The Helianthus annuus 'Giant Sungold' variety

The Helianthus annuus 'Russian Giant' variety

The Helianthus annuus 'Autumn Mix' variety


Pruning Sunflowers

Naturally sunflower plants don't require pruning but, if grown in clusters, the plant can benefit from occasional trimming. You can trim your perennial sunflower plants twice a year with pruning shears, once in late spring and once in summer. You should cut annual sunflower plants to the ground once the plant show signs of browning and drying.


How to Propagate Sunflowers

Sunflower plants can actually be propagated by taking the plant cuttings and rooting them. The main benefit of propagating Sunflower plants from cuttings is to create genetic uniformity in your garden. It's best to take the plant cuttings before the season's growth has matured. Still, propagating Sunflower plants from seeds is easier. The following is how to propagate sunflowers from cuttings:

You can use a pruning shears or a sharp knife, cut a four to six inch stem with no flowers or buds.

You need to remove the lowest leaves to expose the nodes, and then remove the top ½ inch of the cutting, leaving about 2 terminal leaves behind.

Also remove dust from the leafless section of the cutting and then apply the rooting hormone.

Place the sunflower plant cutting in a sand and peat moss mix, make sure that the leafless stem section is buried below the medium.

You need to keep the cutting in a warm place with light shade and then cover it with a plastic bag.

Check the cuttings for roots after 2 to 4 weeks.

You can relocate the plant cutting outdoors into light shade for a week before transporting into full sun.


How Long Do Sunflower Seeds Take to Grow?

Sunflower plants are usually grown from seed. The sunflower seeds can be sown directly into the garden once the threat of frost has passed in the spring, or the seed can be started indoors 3 to 4 weeks before transplanting into the garden. Peat or paper pots that ultimately can be planted directly into the ground are recommended for seedlings started indoors, as sunflower plants don't like to have their roots disturbed.

Plant the sunflower seeds in the garden one to two inches deep in a shallow trench about six inches apart. Make sure you keep them lightly moist (but not soggy) until they sprout, which takes around 7 to ten days. The taller sunflower varieties should be thinned to about one to 1.5 feet apart. The dwarf sunflower varieties can be grown about a foot apart.

To harvest your sunflower plant cut the whole flower head with about one foot of the stem attached, and then hang it in a warm, dry, ventilated spot away from rodents and insects. You can cover the sunflower seed heads with cheesecloth or a paper bag to catch loose seeds; also poke small holes in the cover for ventilation.

When the sunflower seeds are completely dry, the sunflower seeds can be easily rubbed off the flower head and collected. Select some of the largest, plumpest sunflower seeds with the best chance of germinating, and then store them in a dry, cool place until spring planting time.


Potting and Repotting Sunflower Plants

To actually pot a sunflower plant, select a pot appropriate for its size. You need to fill the pot or container with loose potting mix and organic matter and then place the pot or container in direct sunlight. Normally, you can use a 7-gallon to 10-gallon pot or plastic container with good drainage.


Pests and Diseases Control on Sunflower

Some diseases and pests can affect sunflower plants. Rodents and birds are very fond of the Sunflower seeds. So if you'd like to save the sunflower seeds for planting you need to cover the flower heads with netting to protect the Sunflower seeds from pests. Moreover, the sunflower moth lays its eggs on the sunflower plant, and the larvae feed on the flower heads, tunneling and leaving holes in the sunflower seeds. Pesticides can help to control the moths.

Also, you might have issues with beetles or caterpillars eating the plant foliage. Sunflower plants also can be prone to fungal diseases, including rust and powdery mildew. To avoid such conditions you can provide adequate air circulation around your sunflower plants, and then apply a garden fungicide as soon as you spot the first signs of infection on the sunflower plant.

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