Sunflower varieties can show you endless sparklers are here!
Sunflowers (Zonnebloem in Dutch) are belongs to the sun. Without the solid sun power from the nature; their shines will soon be lost. When the heavy wind storm or rain comes; they will have to hide their heads low.
Most of us know that sunflowers are useful in our daily life; the oil extracts from the sunflower seeds are commonly use in our kitchen; and the contents of the oil are beneficial to our health.
There are many types of sunflowers hybrid (above picture) these days. Often heard about Ring of Fire, Evening Sun, Moon-walker; and Giant.
We were just like most of the sunflower lovers in our early gardening days; we found those giant and tall golden yellow sunflowers more attractive. So, we had our very first single bloom; 300cm tall sunflower plant in the year 2005.
About two years later, we received a few sealed packets of over expiry date seeds from our neighbour. He said those were from a retired farmer couple; and they would not be using them. There included one small packet of sunflower seeds; and we kept aside.
Another year later, we received another small packet of sunflower seeds from our Dutch sister-in-law. We did not plant them until last year.
Both packets of seeds were with no growing instructions; so we grew them in our own way. As usual we started sprouting in the greenhouse, and transplanted them outdoor in spring when the weather permitted.
We started staking when the plants were young; so that; they will grow strong.
Sunflowers love ample of space; moderate moist ground; hours of sunlight and any kind of well drained soil. However, with plenty of fertilizers may help to grow giant flowers.
We had three Dutch sunflower plants of 50cm, 75cm, and 100cm tall in 2009. They were all dwarf and cute. It was a total surprise; because we had not seen dwarf sunflower plants (above picture) before.
Most of us know that; the weather condition will affect most of the plant growth. Too much rain falls, too dry; too cold; too hot; everything will go bad with a "Too!".
Someone said planting sunflowers late will reduce the chance of getting scatters. So, if you wish to have more flowers on one single stem; you can consider to grow early.
Plant them earlier in the season will invite the bees; wasp insects to share the nectar; and the flower seeds can be relied upon as excellent food for the birds.
Mature when the back of the flower head turn yellow or brown.
Hanging dry on the plant itself will be the best way to harvest the seeds. However; if your place has many birds aiming at the small seeds; you may cut and hang the flower heads upside-down with a portion of the stem in a cool dry place before they turn totally brown; must take care that no insects are attached to the flower head before moving indoor.
When the seeds are good dried, you may keep them in a glass bottle; or in a clean paper bag; and place it in a cool dark place.
If you have a small garden, you can grow one plant as a summer highlight to beautify your overall garden landscape; and it can be a little summer surprise for yourself; or for your children. Moreover; kids can learn the life cycle of a sunflower.
A DIY organic gardening for children project encouraging children to learn how to grow sunflowers from seeds; and create a sunflower field competition in your neighbourhood with kids; on a children's day; or any appropriate occasions will definitely be fun.