It is clear that ornamental sunflower is grown not for the sake of seeds or oil, but for the beauty of its lush cap. This is a very attractive flower that is not so difficult to grow in the most ordinary summer cottage. It is not very whimsical to climatic conditions, it is able to bloom until frost.
First, let’s figure out which varieties of decorative sunflower are the most popular:
- Ten-petalled sunflower or Helianthus decapetalus. High, up to 1.5 meters, but the caps are relatively small, more like daisies;
- Tuberous sunflower, aka Helianthus tuberosus. Also a fairly simple but bright flower. It differs in that there can be several flowers on one stem, which also resemble chamomile;
- Sunflower “Red sun”. It is clear why it was called that, isn’t it? The color is really more saturated, the middle is dark. Grows up to two meters in height, but usually shorter. Annual, in contrast to the two species mentioned above;
- Sunflower “Evening sun”. Similar to the previous variety, but the petals at the base are more yellow, lighter. Considered short, but can reach 1.5 meters in height;
- Terry sunflower. A very lush, beautiful flower, whose size reaches 20 centimeters in diameter. There is a kind of “Bear”, it is the most popular;
- Sunflower Vanilla Ice. Differs in a pale yellow color of fairly simple, but large flowers.
In addition, foreign varieties such as Strawberry Blonde Hybrid F1, Moulin Rouge and Sunspot are quite common..
Having chosen the variety of decorative sunflower that you like, you need to decide what conditions it needs for normal growth:
- The plant loves sunny areas, illuminated for at least eight hours a day;
- Sunflower should be protected from drafts and wind;
- The soil should be well-drained and fertile, with a pH of 6.0–7.5;
- Before sowing, we must fertilize the soil, for example, with humus, compost or ready-made mineral compositions, because the plant needs enhanced nutrition for growth;
- Tall varieties are planted near a support, for example, a fence or a building wall.
Important! Sunflower depletes the soil very much! After this flower, you can only grow legumes on the site. Better yet, next year give the soil a rest or sow green manure.
You can grow sunflower seeds directly in the open field. However, it is better to pre-soak them for two or three days, leaving them wrapped in a cloth soaked in a solution of wood ash – a spoonful of powder in half a liter of warm water. This will speed up the germination process. Seeds are planted in a prepared bed when the threat of frost has passed, usually at the end of May.
No more than two to four seeds are planted in each hole, and the minimum distance between the holes should be 30 centimeters.
You can grow ornamental sunflower seedlings at home using peat cups or containers, and only then plant them in open ground. In addition, perennial plants can be propagated by dividing the bushes in autumn or spring..
It is simple to care for a decorative sunflower, the plant is quite unpretentious. Watering is necessary no more than once a week, while not allowing the water to stagnate in the beds. In the first stage, if the seeds were planted, and not seedlings, they should be protected from birds and rodents. For this purpose, paper cups or pre-cut plastic bottles can be used..
The soil in the flowerbed with sunflowers is loosened, weeds are weeded. In order to facilitate the maintenance of the flower bed, you can mulch the soil, for example, with sawdust.
Tall varieties of decorative sunflower will have to be provided with supports, you can simply tie them up. Fertilizing the flower bed is not necessary if you took care of this before planting the seeds. However, feeding during watering, at least once a week, will not hurt the plants..
It’s nice that the decorative sunflower blooms for a long time, will become a real decoration of the autumn flower bed. And bouquets from it are especially lush, bright, original.