Three Steps To… Sunflowers: Target 100

Evington Community Nature Reserve is up and running, with a least forty households putting aside at least four square-metres of their gardens for nature. To help increase the number of flowers in the nature reserve, we’re setting a target to plant at least 100 sunflowers in people’s front gardens. This will provide food for pollinating insects like bees and food for birds. It will also be a visible sign of our Community Nature Reserve in action.

If you have any ideas, information and images for a ‘Three Steps To…’ guide, please send them using our email or contact page.

Step One

Start by getting hold of some sunflower seeds. You can buy a pack of seeds from most gardening outlets – including Bennett’s on Main Street.

Alternatively, we can supply you with a pack of about 15 seeds if you send us an email.

Then choose a suitable place for your plants: ideally a sunny spot in your front garden but, if you don’t have a garden, use a pot – about 20cm or more should do.

Sunflower in raised bed

Step two

At this time of year, you can sow seeds directly into the ground or pot.

Make sure your soil is loose so that the seed can send out roots. If it isn’t, just dig a hole, take out the soil, break it up a bit and put it pack.

Sow the seeds about 1cm deep and 15cm apart. Cover them loosely with soil and sprinkle with water to dampen the ground around them.

A bee visits a sunflower

Step three

The seeds should germinate after a week or so. All you need to do is make sure they don’t dry out. There’s no need to water them every day, unless the soil looks very dry.

If there’s a very windy period, you may find your sunflower ‘flops’, in which case use a cane or stick to support the stem – tie loosely with string.

When the flower heads open, watch out for the pollinators that will visit them. If you’re lucky, birds will land to pick out the seeds as they form.

Sunflowers in hedgerow