Sunflowers are annual flowers that commonly grow more than 20 feet tall. They produce bright yellow blooms with seeds that grow up to 2 feet in diameter. Sunflowers grow best in full sunlight and in well-drained, fertile soil. The soil must remain moist for the sunflowers to bloom, so mulch is usually used to help the plant maintain moisture. The seed of the flower has many uses. Sunflower oil is extracted from the seeds and is often used in cooking. The seeds are also shelled and eaten raw. They are a popular snack food amongst ball players.
Maintain a distance of approximately 2 feet between each sunflower. Sunflowers can grow very tall and can be very heavy. If one flower begins to fall over it can produce a domino effect in your garden and cause other flowers to fall. Look through your garden and be prepared to thin out the smaller flowers.
Start at the top of the flower and follow the main stem down to the base of the plant where the side shoots begin. Use a sharp blade and cut the flower above the side shoot, leaving approximately 2 to 3 inches of the shoot. Cutting the main stem of the flower will kill the plant, so make sure you are trimming away the side shoots only. Leaving the shoot too short can also kill the plant.
Cut the plant down if it has begun to wilt. The flower is an annual, so it will not come back the following year. You should begin harvesting the seeds when the flower is wilting. Cut the flower approximately 1 foot below the bloom. Rub the flower head to loosen the seeds and lay them in a cool, dry place to dry. Cut down the remaining portion of the stem and use a hoe to till the soil where the sunflowers were growing.
Replant your seeds in early spring in order to regrow your sunflowers.