Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This One's for the Birds

Sunflowers are among the easiest annuals of all to grow.  Wait till the danger of frost is past, put the seeds in the ground and cover with 1/4" of soil, water, and leave alone.

The variety I planted the last two years is called Autumn Sunset.  This year, I didn't plant any sunflowers at all.  I just allowed natural seeds dropped from the plants last year to grow.  They easily re-seed if you let the flower heads mature and drop the seeds.

I prefer to let the flower heads dry on the stalk anyway because the local birds really appreciate it.  They will happily visit the dry heads for a snack.  Meanwhile, they will spread the seeds around for me.

Autumn Sunset is not meant to be used for people to eat.  There are much better varieties for that.  This is supposed to be an ornamental type.  As such, it makes multiple, small flowers per plant as opposed to one big one.  The flowers can have many different shades of orange and yellow in them and are very attractive.  They make a fine back-of-the-border flower in a butterfly/bird attracting garden.  The only pest I have seen on mine have been Leaf-footed stink bugs, but they didn't seem to damage the sunflowers.

No comments: