· If planting inside:
· First, fill pots of 7.5 cm to 1 cm below the rim of the pot with a multipurpose compost.
· Poke 1 seed into soil in each pot and cover the seed.
· The flowers can be transplanted to larger pots if needed, but eventually sunflowers should be moved to outdoor pots or planted in the ground outside.
· If planting outside:
· Plant after the likelihood of frost has passed in well-drained soil with plenty of available sunlight - if poor drainage, use raised beds
· Till the soil 4-6 inches deep & add organic material if soil is poor quality
· Plant seeds 1-2 inches deep in the loose soil in rows 6 inches apart, or 18 inches apart for mammoth varieties
· During germination of the seed, which can take up to 14 days, water twice per week.
· Water as needed depending on weather conditions
· When flowers are about 4-6 inches tall, spread organic mulch around flowers
· In windier areas, large flower heads may need to be staked to avoid damage.
· If there is the possibility of frost after sunflowers have been planted outside, flowers can be covered with paper bags.
· Healthy plants do not usually succumb to diseases or pests.
· If insects become a problem, do not use insecticide sprays for the health of the plants and the environment.
· Instead use insecticidal soaps, which can be purchased commercially or made at home by mixing 1 gallon of water with 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
· The mixture can then be placed in a spray bottle and then applied to sunflower heads daily until the insects disappear.
· If desired, can protect the flower head from animals that may eat the seeds with a porous, light cloth
· Flower head can be cut for display
· Dried flower head can be used as a bird feeder
· Seeds can be roasted for a healthy, tasty snack
· Seeds can be saved for planting the next season
· Stalks and leaves can be composted for mulch for the next season