Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bringing up babies

Another warm day today, and my nineteen babies are looking all the better for it. This is my £1 Sunflower starter pack, a plastic tray with a clear plastic lid, a small bag of compost, and some seeds. I didn't count how many, but I suspect twenty might be the number. I sprinkled them on, mixed them in, watered it, and waited. 
And here they are. I am hoping they survive, and I get nineteen big yellow fowers from them. So now, I am talking to my babies, and moving them from the back to the front windowsill to keep them warm as the sun moves around the house. I'm sprinkling water on them to keep the compost moist.

I think I will need to separate them soon or they will get too crowded. What do you think? I haven't grown sunflowers before, are there any experienced readers who can give me some tips? I will be guided by your wisdom, what do I have to do to get big yellow blooms? Do they need more sun or less? Can I plant them in big pots or do they go in the ground? Do I need to feed them with anything? Lets watch over these babies together, and I will keep posting progress updates. Toodle pip.

PS. I have just noticed that my followers list is growing, there are a few more names on there. Welcome new people, I am chuffed that you have arrived. I am now going to have a nosey at your blogs  :o)


  1. Dear Ilona
    I have grown sunflowers before and I would think yours can be put into their own individual pots and be hardened off (outside during the day, inside at night) for about a week. Once we hit June, they can go outside, either in a border or in larger pots. I have a feeling that they don't like being moved too much, so once they are in a tub or in the border, they should probably stay there! They will probably need a bamboo cane for support as they grow, but as they are hardy annuals, they shouldn't need you to do a great deal (unless they are in tubs, when they will need watering and perhaps a bit of a feed in about 6 weeks). You can also plant hardy annuals outside now too. Sunflowers follow the sun with their heads, but they do need to be planted in a sunny spot.
    Good luck! Here's to some beautiful sunflowers!
    Best wishes (and apologies for the essay!)

  2. I would recommend planting your seedlings in the soil if you can or very large pots if you have to. Next if you have the larger verities like Russian Mammoth or even regular size ones with a lot of wind be sure and stake them. Try to plant them in full sun if you can. They will tolerate some shade but not a lot. Lastly space them 3' apart for the Giants, Regulars are 2' apart and Miniatures about 1' apart. Have fun, from the Sunflower State in the US!

  3. I call my seedlings my babies too - that makes it hard when it comes to ..... thinning out! I have started hardening my seedlings off this week. I am growing a few different types from the James Wong range. Interesting and exotic sounding plants ... hopefully they will survive! x

  4. I've grown sunflowers before, and the heads do get very heavy and need to be supported. When the seeds get ripe the squirrels love them. I had a squirrel drag a sunflower head across the grass and up onto the picnic table, where he could be comfortable while he dug out the seeds. You could follow the trail of seeds across the lawn. I think he kept dropping the flower head. They are beautiful flowers. Maggie from USA

  5. That's great you got so many in such a small container! Looks like the easiest way to start a garden. Looking forward to seeing how well they grow and how many you get.

  6. I plant the seeds in the garden, I do usually have to stake them when they get tall and I pick the sunniest spots in the garden they love the sun! :)

  7. Yes, they should go into pots for a while at least, and then when the weather is consistently warmer and they are a bit bigger and sturdier put them outside. Give them lots of support and put long canes in while they are still quite short so that the roots can wrap around the canes below ground and give them a firm anchorage.

    They would look brilliant alongside your garage where your decking is, especially ideal if that is south facing or at least gets the sun for a good chunk of the day. They will look beautiful and you should be able to harvest the seeds, either for yourself or for the birds during winter.

    I love sturdy little seedlings like those, sunflowers and courgette seedlings are simply the best :-)

  8. Hello Ilona from House fairy

    The seedlings look great! I would plant them on into something like yoghurt pots. When you do plant them outside you will have to fight off the slugs.

  9. Isn't it rewarding growing from seed. They look lovely and strong, looking forward to seeing the flowers later in the year.

  10. We are going to enjoy watching these with you. It's nice to read all the advice, loved how Judy signed herself from the 'Sunflower State'
    Wendy (Wales)

  11. I never have to plant sunflowers, as I get loads of them coming up under the birdfeeder. I just moved some from the garden this morning into a big pot and also a few next to the house as it is rainy and they will take pretty quickly. The goldfinches love them and as soon as they go to seed they show up :) I just read somewhere not to plant them next to they aren't compatible. Love your blog! Jan

  12. Don't plant them out too soon, the slugs love them and they can disappear overnight if they are too young when they go out! I don't know much more than that though lol. Good luck with them.

  13. I love sunflowers (and sweet peas) and grow them every year. This year they are going to form a back drop to my veg patch, I agree with other commenters, pot them up until they are stronger and then plant them out. Good luck, looking forward to the pics. :o)

  14. Oh,another very late post!,I had a sunflower seed given to me at the Riverside Festival,in Leicester,2 years ago.It was pushed into a small pot but i was advised to put into a bigger pot when it started sprouting leaves.It grew into a beautiful sunflower,which i enjoyed while it lasted.I am going to try a few more this year!,I hope that i am lucky!.Love your post,Debi,Leic,x


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