Helianthus annuus

We couldn’t let the summer pass without mentioning the glorious sunflower – they are usually large, very easy to grow and the kids will love them. Some varieties grow up to 12 feet tall though – so pick one they will still be able to see!


Preparing the planting site well with fertiliser before planting will encourage growth. Plant the seeds about 2 feet apart and 2 inches deep in the soil. Predictably they like full sun so plant them in a spot they will get at least 6 hours of sun a day. They are very drought tolerant and need a well-drained soil.  They take about 11 days to germinate and 2-3 months to grow to full height, so plant in May to see them flowering in August.


Sunflowers do need watering while they are growing, but not too much. Feeding is ok as long as you don’t apply feed directly to the growth as this can rot it. The flowers can be removed once they have finished their bloom, however if they are left they will set seed – which will attract birds into the garden. This is great for you and the kids to enjoy, and also a good way of controlling slugs which they will also snack on during their visit!

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