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How to have a sunflower race

Sunflowers are one of our favourite plants, easy to grow with bright cheery faces and all kinds of varieties from dwarf to giant. A sunflower race is a great way to get children into planting and something all the family can get involved with!

Shopping List

  • Small plant pots
  • Your choise of sunflower seeds
  • Good quality multi-purpose compost
  • General fertiliser such as bonemeal
  • Plant labels
  • Hand trowel
  • Bamboo canes
  • Watering can
  • Gardening gloves

Step By Step Guide

  • First fill a few small pots with good quality multi-purpose compost and use your finger or a blunt stick to make a hole in the moddle of each.
  • Plant one sunflower seed in each hole, positioning the seed on its side, then cover with compost and firm gently. Let everyone choose their sunflower, then label each one with a different name.
  • Water them well to start them off and make sure you keep the compost moist as the seedlings grow.
  • Keep them indoors on a bright sunny windowsill to protect them from the cold, pushing a bamboo cane into each pot to support them as they grow taller.
  • In late spring, once all frosts have passed, plant them outside in a sunny spot. A handful of plant food mixed into the soil will give your sunflowers an extra growing boost.
  • Measure their height every two weeks, keeping a growing chart to see which sunflowers are growing the fastest. The winner is the one whose sunflower has the tallest by summer!

 

Top Tip: List the different insects that you see visiting your sunny flowers. Look out for bees and butterflies in summer and garden birds feasting on the seeds in autumn.

Know Your Sunflowers

Russian Giant

It's really is a giant among sunflowers, groing up to 3m (10ft) tall! With its towering height and beaming cheery face, it's a great choice for a sunflower race.

Claret

It's an unusual chocolate-brown sunflower with a gorgeous metallic sheen. A little smaller in height at 4-6ft, it looks lovely planted in a flower border for extra height and impact.

Dwarf Sun Spray

It's great for those looking for a smaller sunflower. What it lacks in its 2ft height it makes up in flower power, producing loads of sunny yellow flowers. You can even eat the flower buds - they're delicious lightly fried in butter!