Many gardeners are excited to grow sunflowers in their gardens. They provide brilliant yellow flowers all summer long, and the tall stalks make wonderful visual accents to your landscape. But not everyone thrives when growing sunflowers.
Some sunflower varieties don’t perform well in certain types of soil or climates, and others may not bloom well with other plants nearby. If your sunflower isn’t blooming or growing taller than it should be, read on for some possible reasons why.
Sunflowers need soil that is well-drained but not overly sandy. You don’t want the soil to be too packed down, as this can prevent the sunflower from taking in water and growing vigorously. Other things to consider when growing sunflowers in soil conditions are pH level and nutrients. Sunflowers are generally low-maintenance flowers, so when they aren’t blooming, it’s usually because the soil isn’t right for them.
Maintaining the right soil pH is especially important for sunflowers. A soil pH lower than 6.5 is too alkaline for sunflowers and can cause them to not bloom. A soil pH above 8.5 is too acidic for sunflowers and can cause them to become weak and prone to failure. It’s a good idea to check the soil pH using a soil test kit. A soil pH between 6.5 and 7.5 is best for sunflowers.
Timing Is Everything
Sunflowers bloom for about a month, but the bloom period only lasts about three weeks. As the flowers mature, their stems become woody and can grow up to 8 feet tall, reaching a maximum height of about 4 feet over the growing season. As the sunflower flowers bloom, they need to be pollinated by insects. The blooms should be open and free of insects during this time so they can be fertilized with nectar.
Be aware that if the blooms aren’t pollinated, they will eventually close and die. The timing of your sunflower planting will depend on the variety you choose. There are many varieties that can handle planting in the spring, but others will only grow well in summer or fall. If your sunflowers aren’t flowering, it could be because you planted them too early in the season.
No Pests Found
Pests will almost always be found in sunflower fields, so it makes sense that your sunflower is infested with pests and dying. When you buy seeds and plant them in the garden, you’re essentially bringing all these pests with you. If you don’t find any pests in your sunflower field, it could be because there aren’t any on the seeds you bought or because your garden is too far from the field to pick up pests from the sunflowers that do bloom there.
You can find out if your garden is too far away by measuring the distance between your garden and the sunflower field. The garden and field should be within a few hundred feet of each other. If your garden is too far away to pick up pests from the sunflowers, you can try growing sunflowers in a nearby field that is closer to your garden.
Not Enough Light
Sunflowers aren’t particularly fussy about light, but they do need a few hours of sunlight each day. The ideal level of sunlight for sunflowers is between 6 and 10 hours a day, but most gardens only get between 5 and 7 hours of direct sunlight. Once the sunflower flowers open and begin to bloom, their stems will be too low for the sun to hit them. If the sunflower flowers are too low for the light to reach them, they won’t be able to produce nectar, and the flowers will die.
You can test the light levels in your garden to see if they’re low enough for sunflowers by placing a sunflower in the center of the yard. Is the sunflower covered in a short period of time? If it is, it’s not getting enough sunlight.
The Wrong Sunlight Spectrum
Sunflowers come in a variety of colors and varieties, and some varieties may perform better than others in a certain part of the country because of the sunlight spectrum that they receive. Many sunflowers are available in gold, blue, or purple varieties. These colors are produced by pigmentation within the flower, and other varieties do not produce these colors. If your sunflower field doesn’t receive enough sunlight to produce pigmented colors within the flower, the flowers will be white, rather than yellow.
White flowers will not be as visually pleasing as yellow flowers, so you’ll want to make sure that your field is receiving enough sunlight. You can find out if the sunlight spectrum in your garden is wrong by placing a sunflower in the center of the yard. Is the flower covered in a short period of time? If it isn’t, the sunlight spectrum in your garden is wrong.
Lack of Water During Bloom Period
While the sunflower flowers are blooming, the plant will be thirsty. It won’t need much water during blooming, but it will still need a little bit of water every day. If your sunflower isn’t getting enough water during blooming, the flowers will wilt and die. You can test the soil for water levels in your garden to make sure that your sunflower is getting enough water. If the soil in your garden is dry, your sunflower will not receive enough water to grow.
You can also test the soil for water levels using a moisture meter. Place the meter on the soil and record how long it takes for the meter to stop dripping. The sunflower will need about an inch of water every day to remain healthy.
Sunflowers are a beautiful addition to your garden, and if you plant varieties that perform well, they should provide you with colorful flowers all summer long. If your sunflower isn’t blooming or growing taller than it should be, however, it could be due to one of the six reasons listed above. You can make sure that blooms will appear in your yard by ensuring that your soil is properly draining and that your sunflower receives enough sunlight.