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Petals surround a dark chocolate-brown disk, bringing an appealing high contrast effect to flower borders and cut flower bouquets. The flowers appear on multi-branching stems over a long period in summer atop stems that can reach just over 2m (7') in height. This classic heirloom is drought tolerant and thrives in poor soils.
Direct sow repeatedly after the last frost date. Starting indoors is possible, but does not gain much time. If sunflowers are allowed to get root-bound, they will lack stability at transplant time, and will require staking. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 21-30°C (70-85°F). Seeds should sprout in 10-14 days.
Sow seeds 5mm-1cm (¼-½”) deep. Space dwarf varieties 15cm (6″) apart, but give the giants lots of room at 1m (3′) between plants.
Sunflowers planted near rows of corn are said to increase yields. Sunflowers can be used to draw heavy metals, toxins, and even radiation from soil, but should be burned at the end of the season if grown for this purpose. Plant sunflowers amid squash plantings to improve pollination and overall production.
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