Yes, sunflowers (Helianthus annus) are easy to grow but there’s something to know before you plant them to avoid creating other problems in the garden. There are a couple of plants they should not be planted near which I have listed below.
If you want to find interesting sunflower seeds to sow, see recommended seed companies in the United States and Canada.
If you’ve familiar with the idea of companion planting you know that plants are sensitive to their surroundings. Not just the soil quality, amount of sun, and moisture levels, but which other plants are growing nearby. Some get along just fine, others benefit one another, and a few compete for resources. Simply put, sunflowers produce compounds that inhibit growth in some other plants, stopping seed germination and growth.
The two plants known to be negatively affected by sunflowers are:
- pole beans (that climb like vines)
Both may struggle if planted too close to sunflowers.
Plants that benefit from sunflowers growing nearby are:
If you select a nice, tall strong variety of sunflower, you can train cucumber vines to use it as trellis so long as they both have adequate water and room for their roots.
Planting Sunflower Seeds
There are so many choices: size, colours (from pale yellow to bold reds and oranges), appearance, volume of seeds they produce, number of flower heads on each stalk. The tiny ones reach about 2 feet tall. The world record for sunflower height is currently 27 feet!
Multi-pack of different sunflower seeds for the garden
You can see sunflower seeds here on Amazon or, better still, find a good local seed company listed here for the United States and Canada.
- Pick a full-sun location
- Provide fertile, well-drained soil
- Cover the soil with heavy mulch
- Add a cloche or mesh cover to protect the plant from hungry birds and critters until it is several inches tall
- Grow in-ground or in containers
Sunflowers are annuals so you plant them from seeds each year (or, if your garden is like mine, let the chipmunks plants them from birdseed).
Did you ever notice this?
- While young sunflower seedlings will move to face their light source, mature sunflowers remain in place, always facing the morning sun.
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