Sunflowers are easy to grow and come in a variety of colors and differing heights--and the Florida climate is ideal for growing these beauties as they thrive in the warm sun. Observe the flowers throughout the day and you will see their bright flower face following the path of the sun from sunrise to sunset.
Decide on the type of sunflower for your garden. There are numerous varieties of sunflowers ranging in heights from two feet to 15 feet, and they come in many colors ranging from brilliant yellow and rich bronze to deep red and pristine white.
Determine where to plant the sunflower seeds. If you decide on the very tall sunflowers, you will need to provide support for the plant, otherwise the weight of the flowers will cause the plants to fall over. Tall sunflowers are perfect to plant along a fence. Not only does it provide a privacy screen, the fence can be used as a support for the flowers. If planting a flower or vegetable garden, plant the sunflowers along the perimeter of the garden. If you have a natural wild flower garden, sunflowers can be added to the mix.
Combine a mixture of potting soil and fertilizer. Place several rocks at the bottom of the container to aid in drainage and then fill the container approximately half full with the potting soil/fertilizer mixture. Firmly place two to three seeds in the mixture, cover with mixture to the rim, add a little water so the seeds will be soaked, then add more potting mixture if necessary.
Place the started pots in a location that will receive direct sunlight the majority of the day. Keep the plants moist but do not over water. Once the seedlings begin to sprout and are at least six inches tall, transplant them to their outside location as long as there is no chance of frost.
Plant outside by cultivating the soil with the spade or shovel by loosening the soil and digging a hole to an appropriate depth for planting the seeds. Remove the loose soil from the hole and add fertilizer. If your soil is acidic, add the appropriate amount of lime to the ground mixture at this time.
Mix the soil, fertilizer and lime together. Place a few rocks in the hole to help with drainage, then place part of the mixture inside the hole. Firmly place seeds in the mixture and use the remaining soil mixture to cover the seeds. Water the seed area and if more soil is needed after watering, use the potting soil plus fertilizer to make up additional mixture. Continue to check on the seeds daily and water the area as needed, but do not over water. As the seedlings begin to sprout and grow tall, be sure to provide support for the plants.
The mature sunflowers will attract not only wild birds and squirrels because of the seeds, but the flowers will attract butterflies and bees as well, creating a natural food source for the wild life. If you plan to harvest the seeds, once the flower has become dry, cut it from the stalk and hang it upside down in a well-ventilated dry location. Once the flower is completely dried, remove the seeds and use to feed the birds and squirrels or you can eat them raw or roast them.
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