10 Tips for more beautiful sunflowers

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Summer, sun, sunflower: the majestic giants are graceful and useful at the same time. Take advantage of the positive properties of sunflowers as soil improvers, birdseed and cut flower. With these 10 tips for more beautiful sunflowers, your garden becomes a sunny yellow oasis.

Choose from all sun colors

Sunflowers are originally from Mexico and the southwestern areas of present-day USA. This explains their preference for sunny locations in the garden, which they enrich with their vibrant colors from summer to fall. The color spectrum ranges from bright lemon yellow to radiant golden yellow and warm orange-red tones to dark brown red. So-called Bicolor varieties combine two colors in one flower. There are simple and filled varieties. If the decision is difficult considering the selection, a mix is ​​the right choice. Sunflower mixtures are offered as a cut flower assortment.

Subsequent sowing prolongs the flowering period

Sow sunflowers

In late March, sunflowers are preferred in small pots

If you prefer sunflowers, sowing will start in late March. Always place three seeds in a seed pot. After germination, remove the two weaker seedlings and continue to grow the strongest plant at 15° C until planted in mid-May. In the field you can sow from April. By subsequent sowing until mid-July you extend the flowering period. The culture period is 8 to 12 weeks. A later sowing is therefore no longer meaningful. The cores are set 5 to 10 centimeters apart and 3 to 5 centimeters deep so that the birds do not pick them.

Valuable birdseed fresh from the garden

Birds love sunflower seeds. Often titmice and other feathered friends pick the seeds from their withered slices so fast that they barely notice the seeds. If you want to save the sunflower seeds as bird food for the winter months or gain seed for the next season, you must protect the sunflower heads in time. Cover the flowers with a fleece bag or gauze fabric. As soon as the back of the basket turns yellow, the grains become ripe. Most of the time is the end of August to the end of September the case. Especially in humid years you have to remove the inflorescence due to mold danger in good time. The place for drying should be airy. As birdseed you can also lay out complete sunflower slices.

Plant with high water requirement

Irrigate sunflowers

Especially on hot days, sunflowers need a lot of water

On hot days, a large sunflower can evaporate up to two liters of water over its leaves. Therefore, pour the sun children sufficiently, especially at the time of flowering. If the root area remains moist, this prevents mildew in dry summers. Mildew-resistant varieties are increasingly bred. But it also helps to never pour over the leaves from above. Sunflowers are not only thirsty, they also have a high nutritional requirement. It is possible to fertilize nitrogen gasses like other summer flora, for example once a week with liquid fertilizer in irrigation water. Fertilization is used to control development. Fertilized fertilizers keep flowers and plants smaller.

Darling of butterflies and other insects

Red admiral on a sunflower

Even butterflies appreciate the large-flowered plants in your garden

Those who have sunflowers in the garden can observe Admiral and other nectar-sucking insects on their flower disks. Bees gain up to 30 kilograms of honey from one hectare of sunflower field. Also pollen-free varieties should deliver nectar. But how productive they are is controversial in beekeeping circles. So if you want to do something for the insect world, you should be careful not to sow only the F1 hybrids that are mostly offered on the market.

Win sunflower seeds yourself

Sunflower seeds are healthy because of their high content of unsaturated fatty acids. But beware: kernels of lower varieties, which remain small due to artificial inhibitors, are not suitable for consumption. The seeds are not only popular as nibbling fun or bird food. From seed-fixed varieties you can win your own seed. Break the seeds when bending, they are dry enough for storage, for example, in glasses. Important: F1 hybrids are unsuitable for offspring. F1 stands for First Branch Generation and refers to the offspring of a cross that combine the best qualities of two parents. However, these properties are lost in the next generation of sowing.

The perennial relationship

Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)

Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)

The annual sunflower has a lot of multi-year relatives, with whom the flower season can be spiced up from August to October. Among the perennial sunflowers there are not only ornamental plants.With the tuberous sunflower, better known as Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), there is a protein-rich crop in the range, the inulin-containing tubers are very tasty. It grows 200 to 250 centimeters high and blooms from September to the first frost. The tubers hibernate in the soil and can be harvested as needed from November. But beware: it is proliferating! Therefore, if you assign a perennial plant with a root barrier, you hardly have any work with it.

Improve and detoxify soils

Sunflowers remove pollutants from the soil. When Hurricane Katrina raved New Orleans in 2005, flushing arsenic and lead into the ground, sunflowers were used to cleanse contaminated soil. In Chernobyl they helped in radioactive contaminated terrain. In the garden, the soil improvers are also used: Sunflowers are suitable as green manure and are a good Vorfrucht in the vegetable garden. However, they are considered incompatible with themselves. Therefore: comply with four-year cultivation break!

Always on the sunny side

Sunflower field

Through heliotropic movements of the sunflower leaves, the plants can absorb more light and thereby increase their photosynthesis performance

Sunflowers turn their flower heads with the sun. In the morning they stand in the east, at noon they look to the south and turn to the evening of the setting sun in the west. Responsible for the so-called "heliotropism" is a hormone. It lets the shadow side grow faster. There is also a lower cell pressure on the sun-facing side. So the flower gets out of balance and works even at night head again from west to east. Think about it when choosing a seat. For example, if the flowers look towards the house, you have to position them accordingly.

For allergy and for the vase: pollen-free varieties

Sunflower 'Merida Bicolor'

Sunflower 'Merida Bicolor'

Among the new varieties are many pollen-less sunflowers. Varieties such as the bicolor 'Merida Bicolor' are not only a blessing for allergy sufferers with their pollen-free flowering. They bloom for a very long time and leave no pollen dust on tablecloths in the vase. Cut the heads as soon as the petals open and remove all leaves except for the top three below the flower. This is how cutting sunflowers last longer.

Video Board: Top 10 Sunny Sunflower Varieties.

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