How to plant sunflower seeds: How deep to plant them and key timings explained

Camilla plants rose bushes at The Whittington Hospital

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There are several different types of sunflowers, so it’s worth doing some research to find out which species of the plant you want to grow. Some sunflowers reach staggering towering heights while others are smaller. As well as the classic yellow, there are different colour sunflowers, such as the ‘Prado Red’ sunflower.

Sunflowers make for fun projects for children during the spring and summer months, helping them to learn more about gardening and the outside world.

Children can get involved in the initial sowing of the sunflower seeds.

But they can also get involved in the aftercare, by watering and taking care of the plants.

By labelling the different sunflower plants with children’s names, there can also be some friendly competition to grow the tallest sunflower!

When is the best time to plant sunflower seeds? Key timings

Sunflower seeds are best sown during the spring months, ideally in April and May.

Sunflowers will then start to flower in the warmer summer months of July, August and September.

Sunflowers can take around 11 to 18 weeks to flower after seeds have been sown.

How do you plant sunflower seeds?

Some suggest planting sunflower seeds in pots initially, before planting them outside.

Gardeners’ World explains on their website: “Sow sunflower seeds from April to May, individually in 10cm pots of peat-free, multi-purpose compost.

“Plant out into the garden when all risk of frost has passed, from early June.”

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However, some may choose to plant their sunflower seeds directly outside.

Sunflower seeds need to be planted in a weed-free area of well-drained soil.

As their name suggests, sunflowers also need a patch where they can get full sun in order to flourish.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), sunflower seeds should be planted in soil which has been raked to a “fine crumbly texture” in holes 12mm deep.

A 10cm gap should be in between each hole, and the seed should be placed in each hole carefully and covered over.

The RHS adds: “Don’t forget to water the seeds gently.

“As they grow, if the plants are crowded, then thin them out to about 45cm apart leaving the strongest, tallest plants.”

As sunflowers can reach towering heights, they may need to be supported by a cane near the stem, loosely tied to the plant with string.

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