Growing Sunflower Seeds

How to sow, grow and save sunflower seeds

GIANT RUSSIAN Sunflowers will grow to enormous heights so are suitable really only if you are growing them in the ground, with some support against the wind.

Sowing the seeds
Plant them in a small pot at the start of spring. You could plant them in empty toilet rolls, placed so that they stand upright in a container. Fill them with potting mix, water it well and then place your seeds in the pots. Plant one or two seeds in each toilet roll. Then cover the seeds with 2cm of potting mix and water gently. Place the newly planted 'pots' in a warm position indoors.

Once they germinate or start to grow, you will need to move your new little seedling so that it gets some sunlight. Leave it in the pot and take it to a sheltered position outside. If it is still very cold at night, you might bring them in and then take them back outside during the day.

Once they start to grow their 'true' leaves you will have to plant them in the ground as they will start to get big rather quickly! Find a place in the garden that is nice and sunny and plant them in some decent soil. If they were in toilet rolls to start, you could plant the toilet roll and its contents straight into the soil.

Protect the young seedlings from snails.

As they grow taller, you will need to provide some support. If they are growing against the fence you could tie the stems against the fence loosely. If they are growing in amongst other plants, you may need to provide a stake and loosely tie them to the stake. Your Giant Russian sunflower can grow to over 2 metres and have a wide flower.

If you would like to save seeds to grow again next year, or even to bake and eat, you will need to leave the flowerhead to develop fully. Bees will come and pollinate and then the seeds will get bigger and the seedhead enormous!

EVENING SUN Sunflowers will grow to just over 1m so are also suitable for growing in large pots, with a bamboo stake for support. They can also be grown in the ground. Their flowers appear in shades of burgundy, pink, yellow and orange. Follow instructions on how to get your seeds to grow as for the GIANT RUSSIAN sunflower.

For more information on different techniques for successfully growing from seed, go to Success with Seeds.