The Life Cycle of a Sunflower Seed

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The Life Cycle of a Sunflower Seed
Most sunflower varieties live 70 to 100 days between planting and harvest. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Named for their resemblance to the sun, these flowers devotedly turn their heads to follow the sun as it passes through the sky, a natural and rare occurrence known as heliotropism. Before your beautiful sunflowers bloom and start following the sun, however, they will have to pass through other life stages.

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Emergence Stage

After they've been planted to a depth between 1 and 4 inches, sunflower seeds will require approximately 11 days before tiny stems emerge from the soil. Once emerged, seeds pass into the first stage of life, referred to as the vegetative emergence stage.

Vegetative Stages

Once those tiny stems start to produce leaves measuring more than 4cm, the plant passes into the vegetative stage of life. The vegetative stage is characterised by the number of correctly sized leaves, with V1 standing for one appropriate leaf and V5 standing for five leaves measuring longer than 4cm.

Reproductive Stages

As a tiny bug begins to form at the top of the stem, sunflowers pass into the final life stage, known as the reproductive stages. The reproductive stages are distinguished by nine smaller stages regarding the size of the bud, bloom of the bud, wilting of the flowers and discolouration of the back of the seed head. Reproduction stages completely end when the back of the flower head turns pale yellow, indicating seed harvest time.

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