The sunflowers – you know – are a symbol of sunshine, fun, summer and carefree. They represent the hottest season par excellence, the one in which you spend most of your free time outdoors – in the garden, in the courtyard or on the terrace. For this, I have prepared a guide dedicated to all those who love this flower with the colors of the sun and intend to plant and cultivate it, at home or outdoors, to enrich, complete, and embellish their green space.
When to plant sunflower seeds?
The best time for sowing sunflowers seed is in spring, but it can also be done in early summer. Sunflowers seed should be sown in a sunny place with direct light for most of the day, avoiding shady places and away from trees, walls and other objects. Sunflowers need an exposure of 6-8 hours of sun a day to grow well and in health. The soil needs good drainage. The sunflower roots are very long and, therefore, could rot if the soil is too waterlogged. Sunflowers are not too fussy. Therefore even the average soil type does not need special treatments, but if the soil is too poor, it can be enriched with clayey earth to favor its growth.
The sunflower can be grown in pots to liven up the terrace: it is preferable to choose a dwarf variety, more suitable for small spaces, such as balconies or small flower beds. But the sunflower has an aesthetic and decorative value exclusively: it can also be grown in the vegetable garden for food purposes since the seeds of this precious flower are a tasty and nutritious hunger-breaking snack, which can also be used in the preparation of salads. Soups and many other dishes. In this regard, it should be remembered that one of the particularities of the sunflower is to attract insects and birds that are particularly fond of its seeds.
Sunflower seeds can be eaten plain- as a salty snack – but also peeled and toasted; they can be used in dishes and for the production of oil. Sunflower seeds are also used in the preparation of feed for birds and rodents, to be able to extract oil for engines and in the production of biodiesel.
Even in professional agriculture, sunflower seeds have been enjoying some success for years now because they are useful for the production of seed oil commonly sold in supermarkets and ideal – for example – for the preparation of fried foods. According to some studies, sunflower oil is one of the healthiest among the oils of this range and therefore deserves an important position in this area.
Grow sunflowers in pots?
Growing sunflowers in pots are possible! Just have a balcony with good sun exposure. Since the plant’s root system is proportionate to the height of the stem, for a normal sunflower, it would take a huge container, so it is advisable to choose dwarf sunflower varieties that reach 30 cm in height.
First of all, you will need to choose a well sunny place to arrange your pots. Sunflowers are flowers that love direct sunlight: the recommended time for daily sun exposure is at least 4-5 hours. The recommended period for planting sunflower seeds is March-May, but if you already have a plant available, you can also do it during the flowering period between July and October.
It is advisable to buy a pot with a diameter of approximately 50 cm, which has a depth of at least 25-30 cm. This will help the plant take up all the available space and develop more than is necessary; when it has grown, it will be necessary to pour it into a made-to-measure vase. The soils recommended for sunflower growth are fertile, humid and well-irrigated. When buying the soil, it will be necessary to check the pH: sunflowers prefer a pH between 6 and 7.5.
Tips for an excellent sowing
- Get a pot with a diameter of at least 20 cm.
- On the pot, prepare a draining layer such as expanded clay
- Cover the drainage layer with a layer of organic material
- Cover the layer of organic material with soil, up to a couple of cm from the edge of the container
- The sowing of sunflowers must be done in the center of the pot
- Bury the sunflower seeds to a depth of about 2 cm
- Wet the soil, without soaking it
- The first shoots will appear within a week
- The pot will be placed in a sunny position and sheltered from the wind.