Grow A Sunflower Indoors To Bring In The Spring
In this our latest blog we take a look at how you can add some sun to your life during these darker months by way of growing an indoor sunflower, starting right now!
The sunflower is probably one of the most well known and loved flowers in the garden of the mind’s eye. Images of the heavy yellow crown of petals bobbing in a summer’s breeze are a joyful reminder of warmer months ahead. But did you know you can get one started indoors right now?
To continue our ongoing quest to brighten up your house with some lovely greens, we’re going to give a quick rundown on how to grow a small, but beautiful sunflower indoors, preferably by a window.
You’ll need a pot, of course, as well as some compost. We’ve gone for a water-retaining, well fertilised compost and a pot roughly eight inches in diameter, but to be perfectly honest limiting pot size will limit the size of your final flower.
The seed variety we’ve chosen is called ‘Big Smile’, a relatively easy to grow variety that loves the indoors. Big Smile seed can be bought online for very cheap prices and you’ll only really need to use one (or more if your seedling doesn’t get big enough).
After planting the seedling should shoot upwards relatively quickly – don’t worry about watering in compost as it holds water easily – once a week should be okay, and don’t flood it. If the soil gets very dry, make sure to add a ‘top up’ of a bit more water.
The Big Smile is a shorter dwarf variety that thankfully doesn’t reach the person-sized height of some of the larger varieties, but you will need to stake it after it grows about 6 to eight inches high. Make sure to anchor the stake to the outside of the container if you are adding it once the plant is grown to avoid poking it through the roots.
As a sun-loving flower, you will need your pot to be in a window which preferably faced to the south, as this will get light for most of the day. North facing windows aren’t great, and east or west facing ones are okay, but south is optimal. Try to keep the sunflower away from other plants as this might encourage pests to pester it – they are vulnerable to greenfly and other aphids, and if the flower becomes infested it’s tricky to remove the bugs.
Hopefully you’ll manage to get a fully grown sunflower by the time summer comes around – when the plant gets bigger it’ll need more water and should last through until it goes to seed. When it starts to wilt, cut it at the base of the stem and hang it upside down until the seeds dry out and ripen. You can check to see if the seeds will germinate by simply trying to plant them once more and seeing if they sprout. If they do they can be re used again next year.
Have fun and good luck planting your sunflower!