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Growing Sunflowers for the First Time


This year I’ve grown sunflowers (Heliantus annuus) for the first time. The reason I haven’t done it before is because I thought sunflowers only were these huge 2,5 m single stemmed flowers that were likely to topple over. Consequently, I admit I didn’t see the beauty in that. However, over the last winter I’ve  discovered that there are many different varieties, and moreover, that they will do great in bouquets.

Heliantus annuus 'Waooh!'

Sowing in April

As a result, I started the first seeds in early April, which wasn’t a great success. It was probably too cold in our plant nursery, because after several weeks, hardly any of the seeds had germinated. Fortunately, I had not spent all my seeds in one go. As a result, in the second sowing, I decided to take the seed into the house for germination. That worked much better, and I ended up with seedlings of different types of sunflowers.

Heliantus annuus 'Ring of Fire'

My Sunflower Varieties

I had chosen relatively low varieties with multiple stems, rather than the tall single stem varieties. At first, I chose varieties with untraditional colours, since I wanted them for flower arrangements. But, realising I didn’t have any bright yellow varieties, I went out and bought some more seeds. The sunflowers I ended up sowing were ‘Florenza’, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Buttercream’, ‘Waooh!’, ‘Claret F1’, and ‘Ikarus’.

Heliantus annuus 'Claret F1'
Heliantus annuus 'Florenza'

Since I lost many seeds in the first round of sowing, I ended up with only a few plants of ‘Waooh!’ and ‘Ice Cream’. I planted out the seedlings in late May, and they immediately started growing well. ‘Florenza’ was the first to flower, followed by ‘Ikarus’ and ‘Buttercream’. ‘Claret F1’ has grown tallest, and some also toppled over after a really strong rain storm about a week ago.

Heliantus annuus 'Ice Cream'
Heliantus annuus 'Ikarus'

My reason for growing sunflowers has been to have nice flowers to look at, as well as having cut-flowers for flower arrangements. In the end, I haven’t cut that many sunflowers, but rather keep them in the beds. Since we see the sunflowers from the orangery, where we usually have our dinners, we’ve still been able to enjoy the sight of the tall flower heads.


Waiting for thesunflower seeds

Many of the sunflowers are still producing flower heads now at the end of August. I’m also allowing the heads that have lost their petals to stand in hope of having seeds. I wonder if they can be eaten. On any account, I hope to have seeds for next year’s plants, because I’m definitely going to grow sunflowers again.


Have a nice day 🙂

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