Summer, sun, sunflowers – the genus Sunflower (Helianthus) is the epitome of the summer soul in the flower world. Whether it’s meter-high specimens in the garden, small varieties for the pot, or particularly colorful flowers in the vase: sunflowers look good everywhere and become real eye-catchers when they get enough sun, water and nutrients. Besides, their nectar and seeds are a food source for native insects, birds, and other animals. The horticulturist can also use his harvest as a healthy snack for oil production, or as seed for the next season.
1) Sunflowers: Flowering Time
The basket-shaped inflorescences appear between June and October, depending on the species. The large pseudo flowers contain thousands of small flower spikes. From each of these, single sunflower seed is then produced.
2) Sunflower Species: Variation in Growth and Flower Colour
Sunflowers comprise 67 species. Among them, there are annual species such as H. annuus, but also perennial species such as H. decapetalus or H. microcephalus. The endurance of the species is different. Countless varieties present themselves with single, semi-double or double flowers. Small types like ‘Double Dandy’ or ‘Little Leo’ look particularly good in pots, while large varieties like ‘Prado Red’ or ‘Sonja’ turn your bed into a sunny sea of flowers. Flower colors range from the typical yellow tones of ‘American Giant’ to orange varieties like ‘Sunrich Orange’ and multi-colored varieties like the red and white ‘Floristan’.
3) Buying and Caring for Sunflowers in Pots
With potted sunflowers, you can let the sunshine anywhere. However, when buying plants, always bear in mind the future size of the adult plant. After purchase, it is essential to ensure an adequate supply because these small energy plants produce large amounts of biomass and quickly consume water and nutrients.
4) Sunflowers in Pots: What to Consider When Buying
Always ask in shops about the exact variety of sunflower. Everything is represented from 30 centimeters to several meters in height. Small varieties like ‘Pacino,’ ‘Sunspot’ or ‘Orange Sun’ are best suited for potting. Otherwise, the plants must neither stand in water in trade nor must the soil be completely dry.
Yellow and brown leaves indicate improper care and a sick plant. It is best to choose a beautifully growing plant with solid green leaves and whose flowers have not opened yet. Also, always check the plant for pests.
5) Planting Sunflowers: When and How?
Sunflowers are planted in mid-May when there is no longer any risk of frost. This is done by placing the plant in a planting hole twice the circumference of the root ball and filling it with a mixture of garden soil and compost. The planting distance should be about 50 cm. Press the soil lightly and then pour it in well.
6) Maintain, Fertilise, and Water Potted Sunflowers
Sunflowers need sun, whether in pots or beds. They are only delighted in a sunny spot. The light gives the plants a lot of energy, which makes the growth of the sunflowers explode. This is why the happy flower needs large amounts of water and fertilizer. For successful care, the following applies:
Watering: very high water consumption; Always keep the soil moist; Avoid waterlogging.
Sunflowers like to bathe in sunlight, but unfortunately, a lot of water is lost through evaporation. The plant has to reabsorb it through its roots. Water the sunflower generously in the bed as soon as the top layer of soil is dry. In summer, you may even need to reach for the watering can twice a day. Always water in the morning or evening.
Fertilization: During the growth phase, fertilize regularly with an organic slow-release fertilizer. The flower does not need to be cut off when it has faded.