Native American cultivation of the annual sunflower (Helianthus annus) for food, ritual, and medicinal purposes dates back to at least 1,000 B.C… In the late 16th century, Spanish explorers are credited with bringing sunflower bouquet seeds to Europe. These seeds then reportedly made their way to Eastern Europe. The plants are currently produced in a most-efficient manner in Ukraine. The pollinator-friendly plants, some of which can grow to 10 feet, are mainly grown professionally for snacks and oil. Still,as more farms and fields have been accessible to those interested in “sunflower selfies,” they have gained new popularity in recent years. A sunflower field can be grown at home with ease. Even potted plants of shorter types are possible.
If you are starting with seeds, enhance germination by soaking them in room temperature water for 2 to 8 hours before planting. After the threat of frost, plant outdoors directly at a depth of 1 inch and a distance of 6 to 12 inches, or start inside three weeks before your last frost date. Maintain the soil continuously moist but not saturated until the seedlings emerge. When the risk of frost has passed in your area, sunflower bouquet plants should be transplanted outdoors, whether grown from seeds or purchased at a nursery. Choose a place that will offer 6–8 hours or more of direct sunlight every day at the very least. As the plants mature, long taproots that penetrate far beneath the surface will form. Dig at least one foot down to soften the soil before planting.
Before planting, stir a good amount of compost in the bed or container. Compost will enhance the drainage of heavy clay soils and boost the retention of moisture in sand, supplying season-long, high-quality nutrients. When the ground begins to dry up, water your plants. Aim for about an inch of water every week, adjusting for rainfall. The competition from weeds will be lessened by a 2-inch layer of mulch, which will aid in soil moisture retention. Your plants might not need additional fertilizer if compost was introduced when you were planting. But if you didn’t, follow the instructions on the fertilizer’s packaging and apply a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer once or twice during the growing season. It is advisable to plant taller types of sunflowers in sheltered areas to prevent them from being knocked over by the wind.Otherwise, security stems from substantial stakes for support. When the flowers open, use a sharp knife or pruners to trim them for bouquets in the morning after the dew has dried.