At the beginning of 2019 we tried our luck planting some sunflower seeds (from a bag of bird feed). It was a mix of different types which appear to have been cross pollinated. One of these plants was a 3m tall sunflower. It reached over the greenhouse and shade cover. It’s leaves were 40m by 40cm in size. I’ve seen big, but not this big before.
To save on space, we use a different germination method for sunflowers. We have a plastic tray and line it with toilet paper. We wet the paper and place the seeds ontop. We then place a single layer of toilet paper ontop and wet it down again.
Generally after 24 hours you can see the seeds germinate. Prepare a seedling tray (104 pot or 50 pot) and fill it with potting mix. Using s texter lid push down on the soil to make a small hole.
After 24 hours check the board, you will generally see the back end of the seed has been lifted up. The tail of the seed pushes through and curls downwards. Using some tweezers, you gently remove the seed from the tissue. Place the seed with the green tail facing down. This is important as a germinated seed will always head the direction of gravity first. Cover the seed and wait a day or 2.
A close up of what the tray germination method looks like. It becomes more economical to do this method where you have limited space to grow.
On the lright the uncovered seeds. On the left the covered seeds. Germination generally occurs 24 after and finished upto 5 days after.
Sunflowers really do draw in the pollinators, look wonderful in the garden and even attract birds. We currently have a small tom bird who has made a nest in one of the leaves (The nest was weaved into the leaves). The flowers generally last a few weeks before closing off. Seeds are normally ready once the place has died and dried.