Autumn Beauty Sunflowers
Seed Count: Approx. 50 seeds
Days to Maturity: 80 Days
Description: A vibrant mix of lovely sunset colors, oranges, reds, & yellows in various patterns. Autumn Beauty Sunflowers are reminiscent of seasonal leaves and are an interesting alternative to the traditional yellow sunflowers. Fun Fact: Sunflowers were named because of their habit of turning their faces toward whatever direction the sun is in. Sunflowers attract bees, butterflies, and birds, plus all the good vibes.
How To Grow
Sowing: Direct sow seeds in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost. They face the sun, so make sure they are in an open area of the garden. They
will cast shadows on other plants, so plant these at the north end of your garden. You can also start seeds in starter pots, and transplant them a little deeper to encourage a strong root system and base for these towering beauties. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep in groups of 2 or 3 seeds. Space the groups 18-24 inches apart. Seedlings will emerge in 7-10 days.Thin to one plant per group when seedlings have two sets of leaves.
Growing: Water the seedlings occasionally as they develop. Mature plants tolerate drought pretty well, however, avoid over-watering, since this can cause disease. They may need some fertilizer for the big head growth, but be careful to not over fertilize.
Harvesting: For fresh flowers, cut the stems 1 1/2-2 feet in length, and at a 45 degree angle. Strip off any leaves that will fall below the water level, and place stems in water immediately. For the longest vase life, recut the stems and replace the water every three days. To save the seeds for eating or future growing, first cover the heads with a protective fabric covering such as cheesecloth to discourage the birds and squirrels. As the heads ripen, they will drop their petals; the back of the head will turn from green to brown, and the seeds will develop a hard coating. Cut the heads, leaving several inches of stem. Hang them to dry in a protected, well ventilated area. Remove the seeds by gently rubbing the dried heads, and store the seeds in an airtight container.