Of all the seeds I have ever placed in the ground, sunflower seeds are the most likely to produce, survive, and develop into astounding gorgeousness. They are reliable, edible, and beautiful. I prefer the giant sunflower varieties like Mammoth Russian and Mammoth Grey. This year’s favorite variety is Lemon Queen Organic Heirloom from Botanical Interests (see above photo). Just look at that face. It’s as if heaven is smiling on you when you look into the face of a Lemon Queen.
Lemon Queen loves full sun, is an annual, and grows between 5′ and 7′ tall. It is also the sunflower variety being grown for a multi-year bee count project to gather information about native bee populations. According to Botanical Interests, more than 100,000 citizen-scientists across the U.S. and Canada participate in the research by counting the number of bees that visit their Lemon Queen plants. Bees and other pollinating insects are attracted to the nectar and pollen provided by the large, pale lemon yellow colored flowers with dark brown centers.
Here’s the thing – Organic sunflower is easy to grow in almost any well-drained soil. If you want continuous bloom, sow a new crop every 2-4 weeks up until 3 months before first fall frost and you will have total sunflower domination in your neighborhood for months. Gently push the seeds in the ground, water the first week or two, then ignore. Do not fertilize or spray with chemicals of any kind – no need – as you will be amazed at the results.
*Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am noting that Botanical Interests Seeds supplied seeds for this planting experience. All the sunflower seeds successfully came up and I would have used their seeds whether they gave me the danged things for free or not. Why? Because it’s a great company that sells chemical free stuff, that’s why.