I increased my sunflowers this year. I used make shift greenhouses made of 2 liter soda bottles, milk containers or any bottle that is clear and set them on my deck to germinate. I grew my sunflowers using this method last year and they did great. The American Goldfinch picked every sunflower seed off the flowers last year. They’re such beautiful birds, I couldn’t get mad. I decided to plant some for them and some for me to roast and store for the winter. I have marigolds and Blue Buttons planted in the tray. Here’s my list of sunflowers:
- Lemon Queen Sunflower (My fav)
- Autumn Beauty Sunflower
- Evening Sun Sunflower
- Mammoth Sunflowers
- Mexican Sunflowers
- Marigolds (French Dwarf mixed)
- Blue Buttons
If you want to try this method this is what you will need:
- 2 liter or other large bottles that are clear
- a box cutter
- seed starting mix ( I use Miracle Gro, just make sure it’s quality)
- selection of sunflower seeds
- duct tape
Bleach your bottles to ensure all liquid has been removed and the bottle is sanitized. Allow to air dry. Cut the bottle at the half way point all the way around with the box cutter leaving a small hinge. Leaving the hinge will make it easier to tape the bottle closed. Once you have your seed starter mix ready, place a few inches in the bottom of the bottle and plant the seed the depth recommended on the package. Use the duct tape to close the bottle and mark the bottle with the name of the sunflower with the permanent marker. Place the bottle in a location where it will receive sun, rain and close to your house to help shield from wind gust. You may have to gently water the seeds if you don’t receive enough rain.
Once the seeds germinate and reach the height of the cut, remove the duct tape and top from the bottle by cutting the hinge. You may need to add potting soil to the bottle once the plants takes off to ensure that the roots are covered. Just remove the tape and add the soil to the bottle.
Make sure the last frost has passed before removing the top permanently. It serves as protection from those cold, frosty nights. I’m in Zone 6B, so it’s usually early May in my area.