Annual sunflowers are a popular choice for gardeners due to their large seeds and easy cultivation. With a wide variety of options available, breeders have developed an immense selection of sunflower varieties, offering not only unique colors and full flower baskets but also different heights. Some varieties branch out strongly, resulting in prolonged blooming. These branched varieties, which can reach a height of about 120 centimeters, are particularly suitable for container gardening. While it is possible to grow single-stemmed giants in containers, it is crucial to ensure the containers are large and heavy enough to provide sufficient space for the roots and prevent the plants from tipping over.
Container Sunflowers: Here’s How to Proceed
When growing sunflowers in containers, there are a few steps you can follow to ensure successful cultivation:
- Choose compact varieties suitable for container gardening: Select sunflower varieties that are known to perform well in containers.
- Use containers that are large and heavy enough: Opt for containers that are at least 30 centimeters deep to allow the sunflower roots to grow properly.
- Provide a sunny location and regular watering: Sunflowers thrive in sunny locations, so ensure they receive adequate sunlight. Water regularly, especially on hot days, to keep the soil moist.
- Fertilize on a weekly basis: Provide sunflowers with liquid fertilizer every week to meet their nutrient requirements.
Choosing Suitable Sunflowers for Containers
When selecting sunflowers for containers, it is important to consider more than just the appearance of the flower. Pay attention to height indications and branching descriptions to find the variety that suits your landscaping idea.
For small pots and flower boxes, dwarf sunflowers are recommended. Here are some examples of compact varieties:
- ‘Big Smile' (35 cm)
- ‘Pacino' (30 cm)
- ‘Teddy Bear' (70 cm)
- ‘Sunspot' (60 cm)
- ‘Sunny Smile' (50 cm)
- ‘Garden Statement' (80 cm)
Medium-sized sunflowers, reaching about 1 to 1.5 meters in height, are suitable for greening pot terraces and balconies. Consider varieties such as:
- ‘Waooh' (90 cm)
- ‘Orange Sun' (140 cm)
- ‘Piccolo' (100 cm)
- ‘Vanilla Ice' (120 cm)
It is advisable to research the dimensions a small sunflower will reach in adulthood before choosing a flowering plant in late April. This will prevent any surprises when it comes to size.
Planting Sunflowers in Pots
When planting sunflowers in pots, it is essential to consider their space requirements. Compact sunflowers are not suitable for narrow balcony flower boxes. Even the smallest varieties need a pot with a diameter of at least 20 centimeters and a depth of 25 or 30 centimeters to ensure healthy growth and abundant flowering.
Before planting, it is important to add a drainage layer of approximately two centimeters of granules or a similar material above the pot's drainage hole. This layer will prevent water from stagnating during watering.
In addition to their decorative appeal, sunflowers can also serve as visual protection when planted in suitable containers.
Caring for Potted Sunflowers
Given the large foliage of sunflowers, they require regular watering, especially during hot weather. These plants are not resistant to drying out and should be watered as soon as the leaves start to lean. Sunflowers that have dried out may recover poorly, if at all.
Providing a continuous supply of fertilizer is equally important. Liquid fertilizer is the most suitable choice for potted sunflowers. These tall-stemmed plants with bright flowers have a high nutrient requirement and can benefit from weekly doses of fertilizer from the beginning of flowering until autumn.