Planting and Care Instructions

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Planting & Conditions

· 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

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Care

· 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.

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Pests & Diseases

· 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 

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Sunflower Uses

· 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