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Plant Velvet Queen sunflower seeds for 1.5m (5') tall plants with simply gorgeous blooms around 13cm (5") wide. This variety looks its best when contrasted with some bright yellow sunflowers in a border or raised bed. Be sure the soil is warm at planting time, and freely draining throughout the season. Velvet Queen is an early flowering type, so try planting at two to three week intervals instead of all at once. The bloom period will be longer this way, and the flowers are just right for cutting and bringing indoors.
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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