How I Grew My Sunflowers

Sunday, April 25, 2021


Sunflower in the garden in the middle of green foliage

My mornings this month have been filled with wonder and anticipation, as I observed my sunflowers blooming one at a time, at its own pace. These little yellow joys have undoubtedly made my summer days much more memorable despite the pandemic situation we're still all in. I'd like to share with you my personal experiences, tips, and insights in growing them in the last three months. 

I have been used to growing succulents and vegetables, but this year, I thought of giving flowers a chance. I've always thought it would be a new challenge, because I felt they required more attention, but I just applied the same learnings I gained from growing veggies. It's similar in a way, but it did require extra strategy!

I chose to grow sunflowers because they thrive under the sun, and I live in a tropical country. I initially had second thoughts, since I had the impression that while sunflowers love the sun, they also would do better in colder climates, but with the sun. I also know of sunflower fields up in the north of the Philippines where it's much colder. Here where I am, it's hot through and through.. but it was worth trying. It was my first time, but you know how the saying goes: we'll never know unless we try.

Growing sunflower stalk from the soilGrowing sunflower from the soil with lots of growing leaves

So I began planting seeds back in January of this year. I planted a total of ten, although not all have bloomed, yet. January, February, and March passed with no blooms, just the stalk growing taller each month. Some grew fast, while some are taking their time. Then finally, the first bloom came in the first week of April; you could just imagine how thrilling it was to witness it! I felt like that was it, I was finally a Sunflower Mama.

Sunflower budding, almost opening in the morning

Half opened sunflower plant in the morning

Blooming sunflower in the morning

Allow me also to share my own personal tips and tricks in growing them; these are personal notes that I have taken in the past three or so months:

  • TIMING: Consider planting sunflower seeds 2-3 months before summer season. Their stalks need time to grow tall.
  • LOCATION: Choose a spot where you are sure the sun can directly shine upon the sunflowers throughout the day. I planted them directly onto the soil, in a place where I knew the sun shined most. You can opt to plant them in a pot, although it may not grow as tall as those planted in soil. 
  • WATER: Establish a watering schedule: mine is twice a day, 7am and 5pm. They need water in the morning so they can be prepared for the long day of sun ahead, then water in the afternoon, for they have done a good job at absorbing all the sunshine. Plants can get stressed from the sun, too. 
  • SOIL: Ensure their roots are always covered with soil. Think of the soil as a blanket for the roots ;-)  The roots tend to show as they grow taller, and also watering them would make the soil recede; always good to add more soil on top of the roots, and if possible, try watering just around the roots and not directly on them. 
  • FERTILIZER: Mix the soil with organic fertilizer to help them grow better and (somehow) faster. 
  • WEEDS: Be on the look out for weeds that grow around it, and pull them out as needed. They compete with the soil's nutrients meant for the sunflower. 
  • SUPPORT: If needed, the sunflower can be tied to a piece of wood to help them stand if they grow very tall. But from my experience and what I've noticed, they are strong and can stand tall on their own. It's fascinating, really! They've grown over 3 feet tall without support, and whenever the winds would be strong at times, they still hold out.
  • CUTTING FOR INDOOR APPRECIATION: If you'd like to bring the cheery yellow sunflower inside your home, cut the stalk up to what fits your vase. Make sure to cut during the morning, and also just when the bud is starting to bloom. Mix the water with a teaspoon of sugar and a few drops of bleach to let the sunflower last longer.
There is no such thing as a secret magical formula to keep plants alive, nor do I believe in what people call having a green thumb. I only know that this season of my life has taught me the value of observation, discipline, and consistency. Considering it is my first time, I've had to really observe how they grow, every day. There may not be noticeable differences, but just believe that they do grow each passing day.

Tiny sunflowers growing on the stalk

There were some stalks that grew tiny sunflowers around itself! Really lovely to see, and I had no expectations. And although its main bud grew out, I just let it be, let nature take its course from birth to decay, it is all a part of life and I'm grateful to witness its full life cycle. 

Sunflower following the sun

Another fascinating observation for me would be how their heads would always face the East where the sun would rise in the morning, then later in the afternoon, their heads faced West, where the sun would set. It is indeed true, they follow the sun. 

Sunflower bud about to openBlooming sunflower in the morning

Two sunflowers growing together

As much as I wanted to grow them in one spot only, since it was my first time doing this, I had to experiment with two spots. I can therefore conclude now which spot is more ideal! And perhaps in the next time, I'll be planting a bunch of them on that same location. While I'm not able to create my own field of sunflowers, watching them grow and bloom slowly has already been more than enough. 

Which brings me to this reflection I've had one morning as I watered them: although I planted them at the same time and they for sure receive the same care and attention, they all grew at different times. Which is why, there really is no such thing as being a late bloomer, just really blooming at our own pace. 

Hello Anna Jo guide to growing sunflowers

Hello Anna Jo guide to growing sunflowers

---

How have you been today, dear reader? Hoping all these cheery yellow blooms have somehow brighten your day, and I hope you have gained some knowledge nuggets. : - ) please do share with me if you have any planting tips or experiences, would love to chat about it, because we can always learn something from each other. 

10 comments

  1. Sunflowers are so cute and adorable!!! (so are you <3)
    http://sputniksweetheartn.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely agree with you, sunflowers are so lovely <3 (and thank youuu! :") )

      Delete
  2. I think they are quite hard to raise, otherwise, they are interesting and beautiful. I think 1 kilometer from where I live, we have a huge field for sunflowers, literally the sunflowers come out during summer and dies when autumn hits. Anyway, would love to take photos of them when they grow again :D

    www.kandicekaye.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to go to a field of sunflowers someday :) it would be a wonderful experience. I'm looking forward to see the photos you'll take ;) have a lovely weekend ahead, Kandice!

      Delete
  3. they look so good! i planted a few sunflower seeds last year as the season was coming to a close, and i'm hoping they actually bloom this year. fingers crossed! 🤞🏾

    Xx http://theactivespirit.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crossing my fingers for you as well!! :") Hope they bloom and grow!

      Delete
  4. It is so cool that you grew your own sunflower! They look super cool - I never knew until a few years ago that they can grow to be super tall. It is so important to have the right elements in order for plants to grow. I should look into growing a sunflower one of these days! Hope you're doing well!

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never knew much about flowers until I grew my own! It's an interesting experience altogether. I know sunflowers can grow on its own, and also in fields, but it's different in my case since it was my first time to grow it on our own soil. Really glad we had these yellow cheery flowers throughout the summer season. :) Hope you're also well, Nancy! Super great hearing from you. Have a lovely weekend.

      Delete
  5. Congrats on becoming a sunflower mom! Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. This post was so informative. I'm not much of a gardener since I hate being outside and bugs but I can appreciate the patience those who grow flowers must-have. My mom has grown many beautiful flowers and even a peach blossom tree! The peach blossom tree is right by my window and it bloomed for the first time this year and it was so beautiful! I'm bummed it only bloomed for like less than 2 weeks. ♥

    www.mooeyandfriends.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Michelle! :") patience is indeed part of the process, since plants really do like to take their time, but it's all well worth it in the end. It's lovely to know that your mom had a peach blossom tree and it's still with you until now! At least you were able to enjoy it for around 2 weeks :) it must've been so delightful to see from your window. Happy Friday!

      Delete