Can I grow sunflower at home? how can I grow/farm Sunflower at home?. These questions have been asked by alot of people and they have continued asking. This is the main reason I decided to put out this content ” How to grow Sunflower at home” to direct/help people to grow this plant at their home garden.
The best way to grow sunflowers at home is to plant them directly in the garden where you want them to grow!. Dig over the soil and remove any weeds. Rake the surface to a fine crumbly texture. Sow the seeds 5 inches deep and 10 inches apart, and water them.
Sunflower are any plant of the genus Helianthus, so called probably from the form and color of its florals Head, having the form of a large disk surrounded by yellow ray flowers, the commonly cultivated sunflower is Helianthus annuus, a native of America.
(colour) a bright yellow, like that of the flower petals.
It is a heliotropic plant. This means that the leaves follows the direction of the sun, from East to West and when the night comes, it will rest back to East.
This happens when the plants are still tender and stops once they have seeds.
Sunflower unlike other plants doesn’t care much about soil as it does normal in any type of soil, but does exceptionally well in Summer and dislikes waterlogged land.
You can’t learn how to plant this plant without knowing at least a little about it, so here is a brief history about it.
This plant is said to be traced far back to 300 BC. According to history,the native Americans were the ones planting this flower far back before the Europeans settled in America.
They used it to produce oil, cure and feed for animals and the Europeans dispersed it to Europe when they saw what the plant could do.
In this article, I am going to cover in totality the process involved in farming sunflowers in your home garden.
Types/Varieties of Sunflower
Sunflower has many types, which is very important to know so that you could make the right choice on what to plant and choose the most acceptable one for you and your environment. Some popular among them are:
Sunrich Gold: Is a very good and great flower for bouquets and arrangements, this type of sunflower grows to be about 5 feet tall and produces a single 4 to 6 inch flower. The big, pollenless flowers have rich, golden-yellow rays and green-yellow centers.
Teddy Bear: This type of Sunflower is 2 to 3 feet tall. This small sunflower is good for small gardens and containers. The fluffy, deep-gold, 5-inch blossoms last for days in a vase.
The Towering Mammoth: This variety of sunflower is the traditional Giant sunflower,it sometimes grows to more than 12 feet tall. It’s seeds are best for snacks and bird feeds also.
Autumn Beauty: This is one of the most spectacular cultivars, the Autumn Beauty posses many 6-inch flowers in shades of yellow, bronze, and mahogany on branching stems up to 7 feet tall.
How to grow Sunflower at home
Before you think of how to plant/grow Sunflower at home, first you need to have a good garden, unless you want to grow them in pots or pans or cans.
Any size of the garden could do, although it depends on the quantity of the plant you want to grow.
First and foremost, the garden should be prepared!. To prepare the garden, you need to clean it or clear off! the grass or bush if there is any.
Do this with local tools such as hoe, Cutlass and rake. When you have successfully cleared the place, rake the garden with rake so as to remove every dirt in the land.
Now dig small holes of about 5 to 8 inches deep and give half a feed gap from one hole to another so that the plants could have enough space.
The number of holes you make solely depends on the number of sunflower seed you want to plant.
When you are through with the preparation, now it is time to get the seeds.
Before ordering your sunflower seeds, please make sure you choose the type of sunflower that is applicable to both you, the garden and the wether of your region.
Check below for my recommend seed store to order from.
When the seeds arrive, plant them in those holes and cover with sands and keep watering them from time to time so that they sprout faster. The average time it takes the sunflower seeds to germinate is 5 to 7 days if everything goes well.
If you are growing in a can or pot, although this is very small, but here is how to go about it.
Take sand and fill in the can or pot you want to grow the sunflower with, the sand should be between 6 to 7.5 ph.
Take the pots or cans to a place that is safe and free from rats or insects, when the seeds arrive, make some holes of about 5 to 7 inches in the sand you have in the pots and plant the seeds in them and cover, water them regularly also. once in 2 days is okay and they will germinate in less than 7 days if all goes well.
Before you plant your sunflower seeds, it is important to check the soil nutrient of your home garden or the soil you have in the containers, if they are not good enough, it is advisable to improve them with either fertilizer or organic manure like animal wastes ( dungs). This can be done either before you plant the seeds or later when the plants have started growing, just add those manure around the growing plants.
Some other things to consider before growing sunflower in your home garden are if the garden is waterlogged and if wind disturbs.
This plant doesn’t like being in a waterlogged land, although it does good in almost any condition, but waterlogging is very bad for it. Wind might blow them away if not checked.
Care of sunflower
The sunflowers grown at home, either in the garden or on a container has their different care method to give them for them to grow fine and yield healthy seeds
some of the care are:
Watering: For both the one grown in home garden or the one in containers, Watering is very important.
The watering starts immediately after sowing the seeds till they mature, by then they could be a be able to draw their own water from the ground with their deep roots. This is specifically for the ones grown in the garden land and not for the ones grown in containers as they will always require watering as their roots have no were to draw water from unless they are watered.
watering should be done at least every 2 days either in the morning or evening and avoid doing so in the afternoon when the sun is still hot.
keep watch on the amount of water you provide to them so as to avoid over Watering them and waterlogging the land or containers.
Weeding: One special thing about this plant is weed does not disturb it in any way! as no weed dare grow around this plant.
There is a substance that this tree release from it’s leaves, stem and seeds that renders the growth of any crop or weed around it stagnant. With this, there is no need to worry about weeds as the plant takes care of itself when it comes to weed.
Although the sunflower plant is not in anyway harmful to the animals and human beings.
Manure/Fertilizing: Another great way to take care of this flower is to provide them with enough manure or fertilizer.
Although this depends on the quality of the soil. It should be supported with manure or fertilizer starting from when the seeds are sowed or when they germinate and should be applied again when they are in their mid or when they start having seeds to help them improve more and healthy.
Supporting them with Bamboos: When they start growing in the home garden, especially if it is the type that grow very tall, it is important to place a bamboo trees right before them so that it could be of support to them.
This is not applicable to the sunflower grown in the home with a container, so it is important to select the dwarf type for growing in a container.
Bamboo is a very stubborn tree and so one should be careful when using them to support the sunflowers in the home garden as you will not want them to grow there and be a very big problem when removing.
I always advise that before using bamboos for any type of farming, do ensure that you dry them on hot fire and leave them to heat almost to the point of burning.
This is to kill the bamboo trees so that they won’t grow when using them to support the plants.
Pest and Disease control in Sunflower
Sunflower plants has the potential to control weeds, but very prone to pests and diseases. Some of them are:
The pests that attack this plants are Squirrel, Deer, Fowl, birds, rats, caterpillar.
These pests above do attack sunflowers at different points/stages of their life span, for instance the likes of rat fowl and some birds do attack or eat them at their seed level. That is why it is recommended to keep the seeds safe before they are planted to avoid exposing them to rats or fowls.
When they yield seeds in the home garden, these animals also destroy them if not properly protected!.
The solution to curtail these pests is to get a good light/transparent net and guard the home garden with it so that birds an all these domestic animals won’t enter into the garden and destroy these crops.
Pests like caterpillars and ants and moths are also another problem sunflowers encounter, Caterpillars and moths do eat on the stem and leaves and the ants do feed on the seeds.
To take care of these pests, when you see any moth or caterpillar, pick them and smash them! and about the ants, some fertilizers has insect repellent.
Although it is uncommon for insects to attack sunflowers, but some do, but very rare, so it is still better to be careful and look out, just in case some stubborn insects do attack.
fungal diseases like the mildews and rusts do affect this flower. Downy Mildew causes mottling and pale areas on the upper leaf surfaces and a fuzzy mold growth on their undersides.
Finally, the leaves will wither and die. The oldest leaves are usually infected by this disease first.
Downy mildew is very likely to occur on cool damp nights and warm humid days. And It spreads by means of tiny spores carried to plants and soil by wind and rain or transmitted by the garden tools or hands.
It will not kill a mature plant, it just mars its appearance.
Rust do show on the upper leaf surfaces first as yellow or white spots that turn brown or black.
Puffy blisters then appear on the undersides. This disease may spread to stems and flowers causing stunt growth. Rust sometimes spreads to the cultivated sunflowers from weeds such as wild mustard, shepherd’s-purse, pigweed, and lamb’s-quarters.
If fungal diseases are spotted early, spray the garden with a general garden fungicide as directed on the product label can protect healthy foliage.
Remove and destroy seriously infected plants. Keep the area weeded and clean up plants debris from the garden in the fall.
Disinfect tools by dipping them in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 4 parts water or good quality detergent mixed in water. Keep your hands clean, and do not handle plants when they are still wet.
Harvest of home grown sunflowers
In about 70 to 120 days, depending on the type of sunflower you planted in your home, they will yield seeds and will mature for harvest.
When the reverse side changes from green to a yellow-brown and its large heads will nod downward, take a very close look, it will reveal the tiny petals covering the developing seeds have dried and now fall out easily exposing the tightly packed mature seeds, this is how you know they have matured and you need to harvest them as quickly as possible before the animals around come for them.
To harvest, take a scissors or table knife and cut off the seeds with some inches of the stem with it. This process also applies to the sunflower plants grown in a container at home.
When they are harvested, the leaves could be cut off with few inches of the stem and and placed on a container filled with water and used for beautification/decoration and be changing water so that the leave will be fresh and last longer.
Now take the harvested seeds into a warm and dry place/store and hang them there for them to dry.
When they have dried and turned dark brown, rub them on your hand so that the main seeds will come out.
When you have successfully harvested and have gotten your seeds, the next option is to store them if they are of no use immediately.
To store them, take them in side a tight air container and lock the container tight, they could last for a very long time stored in the container. Plastic container is the best for storing sunflower seeds.
There are many things that that this flower can be used for, that is why this plant is very demanded as it is very valuable. Some of the Uses are:
Food:. Sunflower seeds are used to make many kinds of delicious foods and also serve as ingredients for bringing out the flavor in foods, for instance, foods like bread, salad, vegetables, nuts etc.
It is used to make animal feed like poultry feed, etc
Medicine:. It has many medicinal values and the native Americans used it to cure some diseases far back in years.
The seed contains some good nutrional values like Protein, the oil is high in linoleic acid and is a good source of vitamin E, it contains calcium etc.
Sunflowers also has good amount of oil in the seeds which is used as vegetable oil to food foods which includes frying.
It is also a cash crop and a very big export, by this, it means that growing sunflower in the home or in larger quantity has the potential to bring in a good amount of money/income to you as a profit, so it is a very profitable crop to farm.
I said I will tell you my recommended seed store to order any type of good seeds here it is
I hope this article have answered your question and showed you how to grow sunflower at home, so spread the love by sharing on social networks so that you help another person who might need this information.
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