How Do Sunflower Seeds Grow?
The sunflower seed grows inside of a green pod called the seed head. As it matures, this seed head will turn yellowish in color and become paper-thin, otherwise it’s not a mature sunflower. This shell is what surrounds the developing seed inside.
The shell eventually turns brown and hardens so that it can withstand being removed from its home in the sunflower plant. Once mature, the shell will open up slightly on one side and allow the seeds to fall out from the sunflower plant onto the ground below. The opened area is called a “scar.”
During this stage of development, the seeds are still soft and not yet ready for consumption. In order to fully develop into delicious mature sunflower seeds ready for snacking or cooking, they need to dry out completely before you can use them! You’ll know your sunflower seeds are ready when all moisture has evaporated from their shells—they’ll look shriveled and dry at this point.
Sunflower seeds have a very specific growth process, with each step taking care to ensure the next stage of development into mature sunflower and when grown right, sunflower growth is usually exponential.
Buds on sunflowers start off as small, green buds on the plant’s flower. They look like tiny green pellets, but over time the buds on sunflower begin to grow and mature into more recognizable sunflower seeds.
Types of sunflowers
Sunflower seeds are edible kernels extracted from the center of sunflowers, which are plants that originated in North America. The flower’s name is derived from its tendency to turn toward the sun and there are varieties of sunflowers. Sunflower seeds are rich in protein and fatty acids, and a single serving provides about half of the recommended daily value for vitamin E.
Sunflower varieties can be a beautiful addition to your garden, and they’re easy to grow. Here are some of the types you can try:
- Dwarf Sunflowers: These are perfect for small spaces. They grow to about a foot tall, so they’ll fit in most flower beds. They are one of the popular sunflower varieties.
- Heliopsis: This variety is especially popular with bees, but it’s also great for attracting hummingbirds.
- Giant Sunflower Varieties: With these, you get the biggest blooms! They grow up to 10 feet tall and have huge flower heads that make them look like suns themselves!
- Mammoth Sunflower (14-foot Sunflower Plant): These are the tallest sunflowers around, reaching up to 14 feet! The heads are so large that they look like flying saucers when viewed from below.
Learn more here on How To Plant Mammoth Sunflower Seeds
How to grow sunflowers
Edible sunflower seeds can be a great addition to your diet. They are packed with protein and fiber as well as several important micronutrients. However, you can’t just throw some seeds into the ground and wait for them to grow into big flowers. sunflower growth have process that needs to be adhered to.
Why would anyone want to know how to grow sunflower seeds? This is a question I find myself asking after I notice all my sunflower plants sprouting up, and I think about just ripping them out of the ground and eating them. But then I think about how sunflower seeds are actually one of the healthiest snacks you can eat; especially if most of your snacks consist of candy bars and chips.
Let’s look at how to grow sunflowers from a seed to giant sunflower and to make sure you have the tastiest, healthiest sunflower possible:
Prepare the soil
The first thing you need to do is prepare the soil, it is native to all plants to grow well in nutrient-rich soil. It should be soft, fluffy, loose, well drained, somewhat alkaline soil and free of any rocks or debris. It’s important that it’s fluffy so that water can drain properly, also make sure the soil temperature is right and garden fungicide is used to kill fungi off the soil
You’ll want to make sure your soil is prepared at least a week before you plant the sunflower seeds. This will give the ground time to settle before you plant the seeds.
Planting The seeds
It’s planting time and you need to grow your own sunflower seeds, start by making sure each sunflower seedling is healthy then planting them in a sunny location after all danger of frost has passed. Be sure to space the seeds according to their variety—the general rule is that they should be spaced at least 8 inches apart, but dwarf varieties may only need 2 inches between seeds.
Watering your plant
Sunflowers need a lot of water, so you’ll have to make sure to keep your sunflower hydrated.
When you first plant your sunflower, water it well. This is important because the soil should be moist to encourage germination. Once the seedlings are up i.e sunflower sprout, keep your sunflower hydrated regularly. Keep the soil consistently moist but not soaking wet. You’ll know that your sunflower is getting enough water if it’s producing new leaves on a regular basis and growing steadily.
It might also help to put mulch around the base of your sunflower; this will slow evaporation and keep the soil moist for longer.
If you notice that your plant is wilting even though you’ve been watering it regularly, or if the leaves or petals look droopy, then you’re probably not watering enough—or perhaps it’s not getting enough sunlight.
Fertilize lightly until buds form
If you’re growing sunflowers, you’ll need to fertilize them. You can do this by spreading a thin layer of standard fertilizer near the base of your plant. Just be careful not to get too much fertilizer in the soil—sunflowers thrive best when planted in a neutral soil environment.
Harvest when heads are fully open and dry
If you’re growing sunflowers for their seeds, it’s important to know when you should harvest them so you don’t miss out on your tasty reward. To check if your sunflowers are ready, do a taste test: if the seeds taste sweet and rich, they’re ready to be harvested. If they’re still bitter, wait a few more days. In most cases, the head of a sunflower will begin to droop when it’s time to harvest. The leaves near the bottom of the stem may also begin to turn brown.
Once they’re ready, cut the flower heads with a pair of scissors or shears and hang them upside down in a dry place until the seeds become brittle and easy to crack through.
It is not difficult to grow sunflower seeds.
Sunflower seeds can be planted everywhere in the world. Sunflowers are easy to grow and care for. You do not need a huge space, either. Sunflowers come in a range of colors, heights, and sizes.
You may have heard or read something that would convince you that sunflower was a very hard plant to grow. But it is not! Sunflowers are easy to grow, but the only thing is that you have to know how to do it.
Hey'all I'm Amy, a born foodie and diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I refused to cave into tasteless, boring gulten free food and create my own!
On my blog you'll find info & cool facts along with recipes, all on gluten free foods!