A project to do with children in the summer is to grow sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) plants indoors. These plants grow rather quickly and favorably from seed. Regardless of location, sunflower plants do well indoors with room temperatures between 64F and94F. Sunflowers will grow in most any soil type. Give them plenty of water and a sunny window for the most successful plants.
Place sunflower plants in a sunny window. They need partial to full sunlight to grow the best. Rotate to different windows to provide the best lighting possible.
Attach a coffee filter to the bottom of the sunflower container with a small amount of rubber cement. Drop four mature earthworms onto the potting soil surface. The worms provide natural soil nutrients and keep the sunflower roots from compacting. The filter keeps the worms from escaping out the bottom of the pot.
Transfer sunflower plants to deep pots that are a minimum of 1 gallon when plants are approximately 2 feet in height. Sunflower plants can grow tap roots up to 25 feet long. It is important to transplant to a potting container to support the tap root system.
Place a small water meter or water gauge in the potting soil of the sunflower pot. Ideally the soil should remain moist at all times. Use the gauge to maintain a proper watering schedule.
Remove the leaves from the bottom of the sunflower plant with a pair of sterile pruning shears or sharp scissors, when the first bud appears. Do not go more than 1/4 of the way up the stem. This allows the plant to focus energy on oil, seed and bloom production.