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Get Cooking

 

By Ruth Barnard

Find out how to grow your own sunflower and learn about their lifecycle.
  


What you need:

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Compost soil

  • Small starter pots (plastic yoghurt pots will do - just get a parent to put drainage holes in the bottom)

 

CAUTION:

Gardening gloves and face masks are recommended because compost soil can sometimes be toxic.

 
Sunflower Species:

Ask at your local garden centre for the sunflower that is best for what you want and where you live.

What to do:

1. Fill up your starter pot with soil

2. Make a dip in the soil about 2.5 cm deep with your finger and put the sunflower seed inside, covering it with soil*

3. You can put in a label to help you and others remember that your sunflower is growing there

4. Water your pot whenever the surface of the soil feels dry

5. Within about 7-10 days your sunflower should have grown into a seedling. Make sure your sunflowers get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight everyday and water them several times a week. Enjoy watching each stage as the sunflower grows taller.


 
     

Think about Size:

You can carefully plant your flower outside in a sunny space sheltered from the wind. If your sunflower species is one that grows very tall you may want to plant it next to a wall for support or perhaps use a wooden steak to give it support.

 

Think Ahead:

We recommend you plant more than one seed. We planted this one and also filled a gardening tray with the rest of the seeds. Some seeds may not germinate well so it's good to increase your chances.


 
     

Think of Food:

SOME sunflower seeds are edible, these species are great for us or for birds. Let the flower die on the stem and harvest the seeds from the middle of the flower ready to enjoy!

 

A Sunflower's Life Cycle

Seed to Shoot

After the dormant (sleeping) sunflower seed is planted it needs water and warmth as well as soil which will help it to germinate. When a seed germinates small roots will begin to grow from it.

 

After about 7-10 days a shoot will grow out of the soil in search of sunlight and leaves will begin to grow from the stem. At the same time the plant will grow roots in the soil absorbing nutrients and water for the plant.

 

Bud to Bloom

With enough sunlight, water and nutrients the seedling will continue to grow and a bud will form which will eventually begin to open and then fully bloom.

Death and New Seeds

When sunflowers die the whole plant shrivels and the seeds in the centre of the flower are released ready to grow new sunflowers.


Fun fact:
Sunflowers are heliotropic so they follow the suns path. 

Keywords: seed, shoot, bud, bloom, wilt, germination, roots, bloom, stem, heliotropic

Try and find out what each of the above words mean and use them when you're describing your sunflower.

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