Sunflowers are a popular choice for gardens, thanks to their bright yellow petals and towering height. However, if you really want to make a statement with your sunflowers, you’ll want to grow giant sunflowers that can reach up to 15 feet in height! Here are nine secrets for growing giant sunflowers in your own garden:
- Choose the Right Variety
Not all sunflowers are created equal, so if you want to grow giants, you’ll need to choose the right variety. Look for varieties that are specifically labeled as “giant” or “tall” sunflowers, such as the Russian Giant, Mammoth Sunflower, or Titan Sunflower.
- Start Indoors
Giant sunflowers need a long growing season, so you’ll want to get a head start by starting your seeds indoors. Plant your seeds in peat pots filled with potting soil about six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.
- Plant in the Right Spot
Sunflowers need full sun to grow, so make sure you choose a spot in your garden that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. You’ll also want to make sure the soil is well-draining and has a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.
- Fertilize Regularly
Giant sunflowers need a lot of nutrients to grow to their full potential, so it’s important to fertilize them regularly throughout the growing season. Use a balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20, and follow the package instructions for application rates.
- Water Consistently
Sunflowers need consistent moisture to grow, so make sure you water them regularly throughout the growing season. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist, but not waterlogged, and avoid letting the soil dry out completely.
- Provide Support
As your sunflowers grow taller, they’ll need support to prevent them from toppling over. You can use stakes, trellises, or cages to support the stalks, or even tie them to a nearby fence or post.
- Prune as Needed
To encourage your sunflowers to grow bigger, you can prune off the side shoots and smaller flowers as they appear. This will allow the plant to focus its energy on growing one large flower head.
- Protect from Pests
Sunflowers can be susceptible to pests like aphids, thrips, and caterpillars, so keep an eye out for any signs of damage and take action as needed. You can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests, or try planting companion plants like marigolds or nasturtiums to repel them.
- Harvest at the Right Time
Once your sunflowers have reached their full height and the petals have begun to dry out and fall off, it’s time to harvest the seeds. Cut the flower head off with a few inches of stem attached, and hang it upside down in a cool, dry place to allow the seeds to fully mature and dry out.
With these nine tips, you’ll be well on your way to growing giant sunflowers that are sure to turn heads in your garden!