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The best time to plant sunflower seeds

Updated April 17, 2017

Sunflowers provide cheery, beautiful blooms that we all associate with the summer. But in fact, spring is the best time to get sunflower seeds in the ground for an enjoyable show all summer long. Consider your planting carefully, taking into account sunflowers' seasonal needs for warmth and sunlight, as well as their growing patterns.

Know Your Seasons

The best time to plant sunflower seeds is when your soil is beginning to warm in early spring. Be sure that the last freeze date for your area has passed and that the soil is soft and warm. If you're starting seedlings indoors to transplant, you can start them about 2 to 3 weeks prior to your area's last frost date. This timing will ensure that the seedlings are well-established and will be safe from damaging temperatures. Your sunflowers will appreciate at least 6 hours of sunlight per day for their best growth, and will point their heads toward the sun regardless of where you plant them.

Planting Considerations

Try to protect the planting area from animals and birds, as they may dig up the seeds you've so carefully planted. Seedlings are also a good way to get your sunflowers started. Regardless of the season, sunflowers prefer well-drained soil with a lot of organic matter; adding a little compost to the planting area will help them out. Remember that you'll want to position your sunflowers somewhere in your yard where the sun will encourage the blooms to turn toward your window or patio; otherwise, you'll only see the backs of the flowers from your favourite viewing point.

Enjoying Your Sunflowers

Planting sunflowers in the spring will allow you to enjoy watching them grow and bloom. If you would like for your sunflowers to attract wildlife, you can also let the blooms go to seed. The seed will attract and feed birds and other wildlife, serving as a natural birdfeeder. You can also harvest the seed for yourself. Dry the flowers after they have bloomed during the summer, when high heat and dry weather help cut blooms dry evenly and without mould. You can then use the dried flowers for decoration in vases or wreaths.

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About the Author

Susan Sivek teaches journalism and communication and is also a freelance writer. She has been writing since 1999. Her writing interests include travel, health, exercise, cooking, crafts and more. She has been published in scholarly journals, on MediaShift.org, and on eHow. Sivek holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.