Accidental Sunflowers

I adore sunflowers, especially the giant varieties. I grow them every year, always hoping to grow one just that little bit taller or with a bigger bloom than the year before. Once they’re past their best, rather than pull them out I leave them in situ, all through autumn and winter, right through to late spring. The flower heads eventually provide seeds for wild birds and a place to shelter for insects.

Seeds dropped by birds or carried on the wind fall to the ground, self-seeding/sowing where they land. Recently I noticed sunflower seedlings appearing here and there, not too far from where their parents once stood. Some of the seedlings started life in awkward places, on the pathways between the raised beds for example. Fortunately, quite a few germinated in good positions, places that I probably would have chosen for them to be. I’m nurturing these seedlings through the cold nights by covering them with homemade plastic bottle cloches to keep their growing environment warm, this also helps to prevent slugs devouring the young plants during the night.

I will be sowing more sunflowers using bought seed but I think these seedlings are extra special. Nature, sowing sunflowers.

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12 comments

  1. C’mon Karen. You have 17 feet high Sunflower to beat. Although this was when I was a kid and my Dad used to grow them for us kids so we could have the heads at the end of the school summer hols. We used to sit and pick the seeds out and eat them mmm. Dont know what variety they were though but get growing, best of luck.

  2. Wow! 17 feet! I think my best was a 14 footer (approx), a few years ago now! It was too tall to measure properly.

  3. Same over in my veg patch – sunflower seedlings appearing everywhere. Obviously the birds had a good feast last year… I let last year’s self seeders grow but this year am going to be more careful so that they don’t shade the other veg too much.

  4. You’ve reminded me I need to sow my sunflower seeds. I haven’t tried any for a while, but I’m trying to do more for the wildlife. I get borage and French marigolds self-seeding in the veg patch a lot. (Btw I’m me again. That was me in disguise earlier)

  5. I’ve got sunflowers appearing all over the allotment. I left the plants there over winter for the birds to feed on but think some have been spread by them since I’ve got them sprouting at the opposite end of the plot!!! I love sunflowers, such cheerful plants. My allotment plot is pretty exposed so I tend to grow a slightly shorter variety with smaller heads Helianthus debilis Vanilla Ice, my sown seedlings are just starting to appear in pots in the cold frame too.

  6. I love Sunflowers too but it occurs to me that I would not recognise a wayward seedling. I shall have to have a good look around, surely we must have some because we also leave some heads laying around. Of course the hens get some but we leave some for the wild birds too.

  7. Lovely post and photos! I also like sunflowers so grow lots of them including giant singles, which I generally let self-seed and leave some of the stems standing until they eventually fall over! xx

  8. It’s impossible to look at a sunflower and not smile. I’ve sown some giants already, but I really want to try some of the dark red varieties too.

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