Sunflowers or Helianthus P H N
Asteraceae:   Helianthus annuus
Doublequick Sunflower, 2009
Doublequick Sunflower, 2009
Teddy Bear
June 5: I planted seeds along the outside of the fence, in the gaps between the day lilies.
11: Some sprouts.
24: Sprouts in most spots. I transplanted to fill all spots but the transplants died.

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Other Years

Teddy Bear
Teddy Bear
May 31: I planted about 40 seeds from a new packet in the garden.
June 12: 4 or 5 sprouts.
May: I bought a package of seeds from T&T.
~May 24 I planted a row along the house.
June 2: Sprouts.
10: I moved plants and planted more seeds where there were no sprouts.
July 13: I weeded along the house and found that the weeds had choked out the sunflowers. None left.
June 10: Ben planted seeds in one bed, some from the bought package and some collected myself.
18: Sprouts.
August 21: Many tall plants but no flower buds yet.
December 31: They flowered but didn't have time to fully open or ripen.
May 19: I planted a long row of seeds collected last year along the house.
30: Some sprouts.
June 12: Very good germination. They will need thinning.
May: I bought a package of seeds from T&T.
~May 24 I planted 20 seeds in 10 spots.
June 1 2 sprouts.
June 10: Sprouts in all spots now.
August 11: Tall plants. I can barely reach the top of the tallest one!
October 3: From the ground to the highest point on the flower is 2.7 m. The stem is a little longer than that because it is leaning and the flower has started to nod.
Golden Hedge
May: I bought a package of McKenzie seeds. Gold-yellow blooms measuring 45 cm across with a unique greenish gold center. This pollen free branched variety performs well as a nannual hedge, with stems that branch out to form a thick barrier. Can be planted a a tall border plant, or used as a windbreaker.
June: There were only 5 seeds in the package! I planted them and got 4 sprouts.
July: 3 plants growing tall. No branching yet.
King Kong
May 27: I sowed what I believe are seeds saved from last year in 4 spots.
June 5:Up in 3 spots.
March 13: I ordered seeds from Dominion Seed House.
May 23: I sowed 6 spots, with 2 seeds per spot. The seeds may be a little deeper than the instructions said, 2.25 cm instead of 1.25 cm.
June 17: Sprouts in all but one spot are coming along, some well, some poorly.
July 12: Two plants remain, both over 2 feet tall.
Double Quick
April 5: I planted 8 seeds in 8 large foam cups. First I lined the cups with cones made from newspaper, about 5 layers thick after folding.
9: 3 sprouts this morning, already!
18: 6 sprouts from that batch, although one pushed its way out of the soil and may not survive.
May 30: I set out 5 plants.
July 4: Coming along, a bit slowly.
August 3: There are several flowers but I not admire them. They are small and ragged looking, with petals of various sizes. They appear distorted to me.
18: The plants died away after producing their few pitiful blossoms.
Amit Sunflower, 2009
Amit Sunflower, 2009
April 16: I planted 8 seeds in 8 large foam cups. First I lined the cups with cones made from newspaper, about 5 layers thick after folding.
May 30: I set out 6 plants. I have one left over.
July 4: Coming along, a bit slowly.
August 3: One flower is open and growing.
18: The flowers grew to only a medium size and finished quickly. This variety is a disappointment, but it might do better if I don’t start it indoors so early.
Double Sante Fe
March 13: I ordered seeds from Dominion Seed House.
May 23: I sowed 6 spots, with 2 seeds per spot.
June 17: Good germination and the sprouts are coming along well.
October 16: A nice display of flowers in September and this month..
Russian Giants
May 10:  I put 15 seeds into 5 small styrofoam cups to sprout. There are no volunteers in the garden. Everything is late this year.
15:  They sprouted today and I set them out.
24:  Growing fine.
31: Sunflower beetles have eaten large parts of their leaves so I powdered them with rose dust.
August 16: The growing tips became brown and scaly a few weeks ago, and were not growing, so I cut them off. I hope to get some flowers from lower down.
~28: I just discarded them.
May 10: I planted 15 seeds from last year in 4 spots.
12: There are about 5 volunteers.
18: A few of the seeds I planted have sprouted. There are volunteers in many places too.
June 24: I have removed most of the volunteers. Today I found a few sunflower beetles.
December 31: They did alright.

May 5: I started seeds today in very large plastic soft drink cups. First I cut the bottoms off then I put lids on then I inverted the cups and filled them with a soil-based starting mix. Into each cup I put 4 seeds; the seed at the front was from 2004 and the others were from 2005; the seed at the back went in point down, the one on the left point up, and the one on the right on its edge. The point of using the inverted cups is to minimize root disturbance when I put them into the garden.
11: 18 sprouts. No difference between point up, down, or sideways. Only 2 sprouts were from the 2004 seeds.
12: Thinned to 1 sprout per cup and put under the fluorescents.
16: Out for sun. Already they are tall and leggy.
21: I set 4 out.
22: I set 2 more out. That will be all. Two plants broke in the wind while still in their cups. I think it is necessary to get the seedlings out into the wind sooner, as soon as possible, to keep their stalks strong.
29:  They look good. They have grown and their stems look strong and are close to upright.
August 1: Doing ok. They are not as tall as last year and they are much thinner. I attribute this to the extremely dry weather. I have added irrigation to them and this may help.
Russian Giant Sunflower, 2003
Russian Giant Sunflower, 2005
May 5:  I started 6 very large cups with 3 seeds in each, 1 seed from 2003 and 2 from 2004.
13:  I have seedlings in 5 cups. I put 3 more 2004 seeds in the empty cup and brought it upstairs. I took the other cups outside even though it is cool and rainy as I do not want the plants to become spindly in the basement.
24:  Putting the plants outside seems to have been a good idea. Their stems toughened up, slowly, and they can now hold their leaves almost erect. I planted my 5 plants today. The seeds in the other cup have not germinated.
June 19:  Strong winds yesterday cause one stalk to mostly break.
July 27:  Flourishing. The tops of two plants are just beyond my reach.
August 8:  One flower is open, others are opening.
October 4:  Four large plants remain, with large heads filled with seeds. One head is curled, the others are well-formed. The leaves on the earliest one were yellowing so I cut it down, and found that many of the seeds were empty.
Russian Giant Sunflower, 2003
Russian Giant Sunflower, 2003
May 4:  I planted seeds in large styrofoam cups, 2 per cup.   I left some cups for tomorrow but left the seeds soaking on a very shallow layer of water.
9:  Many sprouts.
23:  I set out 2 plants.   I put all the seedlings out in a breeze once to harden off and they bent over.   I then staked them to soda straws to straighten them out.   They are still staked to the straws but I don't think they are using the straws for support any more.
24:  I set the other 10 plants out, with their straws.
29:  A cutworm got one so I sowed 3 seeds in its place.
June 23:  Doing well, although one blew over and snapped at its base yesterday.
24:  I gave each plant 2 g of 20-20-20 fertilizer.   Their median height is 60 cm.
29:  71 cm.
July 5:  91 cm.
11:  110 cm, and there were a few sunflower beetles.
15:  134 cm.
21:  150 cm.
October 18:  They were interesting, but most flowers did not open well. Only one head produced good seed.
April 15:  I planted 32 seeds in pasteurized soil in very large cups.   2 seeds in each cup were from 1993 and 2 from 1996, so I am not confident that they will germinate.
20:  4 sprouts.
21:  4 more sprouts.   Thinning leaves plants in 6 cups.
22:  I replanted the 2 empty cups.   I found all the previous seeds.   None had sprouted and one had white mould spots.   I put the plants outside for the day.
May 14:  I set out 3 plants in the ground and one still in its cup.
May 22:  I set 3 plants in the ground.   Two others lost their roots when the soil in their cups separated while transplanting, so I discarded them.
June 3:   They have straightened up wonderfully, and are growing very fast.
21:   One has started to flower, much earlier than ever before, and the rest are budding.   Unfortunately the plants are still fairly small.   I think they got stressed by their early growing conditions or the transplant and so they have started to flower early.   The flowers will not be large.   I found one sunflower beetle 2 days ago.
July 29:   The seed heads are filling out.   I never saw another sunflower beetle.
August 25:  I collected seeds, but left some plants for the birds.
September 29: I collected seeds from plants at a house on William Avenue. The plants were extremely large and tall, and the seeds look quite distinct from those that I have, so I am hoping for giants next year!
June 30: One volunteer is standing up proudly in the north perennial bed.
August 10: 5 flowers are opening at the top, all small, with only from 1 to 5 outer petals in a brown colour.
October 22: It made a grand plant, until I composted it today.

May 28: First sprouts today.
June 3: 20/28 seeds sprouted.
18: Destroyed 2 sunflower beetles.
July 5: Rose dust against the beetles.
September 2: Grackles ate almost all seeds. They grew well.

May 23: None this year. Many volunteers.

June 20: Good germination, but those beetles are back!
July 4: Dusted with Sevin (2% carbaryl) because of sunflower beetle larvae.
August 17: In flower or ripening. No more beetle problem, but there are some black ants and aphids.

August 2: I bought some Sevin, and put it on the buds and top leaves of the sunflowers. The leaves have many holes in them, and there were grubs in the opening buds. There were beetles like Colorado potato beetles there, but the grubs didn't look like their larvae.
18: More beetles on the sunflower flowers. I squashed those I found. I don't want insecticide on the seeds, or to kill the bees.
~20: One sunflower toppled over. The beetles or their larvae get inside the stem and eat it and thereby weaken it.
September 4: The sunflowers are fully open and will start to ripen soon.
~October 3: A good harvest of heads. The pith inside many of the stalks has been eaten away, in vertical columns.
Red Velvet Sunflowers
May 25: About 12x2 seeds of Red Velvet sunflowers from a Thompson and Morgan package planted in the garden.
31: Sprouts up.
June 1: 20/22 seeds up. More seeds planted along the fence, between the poppies.
August 7: In flower in the yard, and opening along the fence. Brown, not red!
December 18: Poorly formed flowers in dry weather, i.e., most of the time.
Titanic Sunflowers
Titanic sunflower, 2001
Titanic sunflower, 2001
March 2: I planted 10 seeds from last summer's Titanic plants in vermiculite as a germination test.
29: No sprouts, so I discarded the contents and the collected seeds.
April 13: I put 9 (purchased) seeds in soil mix in Styrofoam cups, using 5 large cups and 4 small. I did not water them yet.
14: Watered.
18: 5 sprouts. The cups without sprouts are the cups that got over-watered at one point, accidentally.
May 20: Many of the plants are dying or have died, I don't know why.   The lower leaves go limp and shrivel, then the whole plant does.   This happened to a few plants weeks ago; now it is affecting almost all of them.   The same thing is happening to my zinnias.
28:  I set my 4 remaining plants out.   They appear healthy.
July 24:  Still healthy, but not very tall.   I found 1 sunflower beetle yesterday.
August 2:  The developing flower heads are visible now at the top of the stems.
August 12:  One plant appears to have died.   3 days ago, its leaves suddenly were drooping.   Although some of them partly revive some days, I think the plant as a whole is beyond recovery.
September 5:  One flower is starting to open.
September 22:  There are several medium-sized flowers on each plant.   I removed the other buds from the plants to help the existing flowers grow.

January 3: Seeds of the Titanic variety arrived today from Thompson and Morgan, US$2.99.
May 18: I planted 8 seeds in the garden.
June 4: First sprout.
June 11: There have been only 3 sprouts so I dug up the seeds. I found two; they were dried out. I planted 6 more seeds after soaking them overnight.
June 17: Some more sprouts.
July 20: 6 plants are growing.
September 18: The flowers are beginning to open on 2 plants. Maybe they'll have to be started indoors next year, even though regular sunflowers don't do well that way.
September 29: The flowers are continuing to open and grow, and they look stupendous! What a wonderful variety they are! Four plants are in flower now.