Would I be wasting my time on sunflowers?

gardenlover(z5/6 OH)July 24, 2005

I planted procuts and strawberry blondes in May and they are doing well, but the blooming is about done. I just plowed up a new bed, and was planning on planting those same sunflowers again this week (last week of July). With our first frost being around October 5, I would have all of August and September left for growing. With a bloom time of 50-60 days, do you think this is a bad idea?

How will the progressively shorter days affect the blooming? I believe the procuts are day-neutral. Not quite sure what that means.

Thanks for any answers!

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crowspice(z4B IL)


I have asked myself the same questions. I have put off sowing sunflowers in expectation of rain - sometime LONG before now. It did not/has not come. So with the window of opportunity shrinking, I went ahead TODAY and sowed my sunflowers - a 100 degree day - one of the hottest on record for us. I sowed them into sun parched soil and watered them in very well after planting.
What else can be done? Either there is time or there is not; our frost date is same as yours.
Surely we cannot be locked in the heat and dryness forever! I like my sunflowers to come in at about the same time as fall grasses and pumpkins.
I say go ahead and plant and see what comes of it. We are in the same boat! Let's hope for the best possible outcome
to an incredibly difficult growing season. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 11:57PM
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gardenlover(z5/6 OH)

Thanks Crowspice!
I'll go ahead and try it. I was also picturing sunflowers to go along with browns and oranges of fall.

Today in central Ohio we're supposed to have 98, with a heat index of 110, so we're experiencing the same conditions. At least we've had a little rain over the past week!

I hope you get the rain you need, and that your sunflowers turn out beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 7:23AM
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I planted another batch about a week ago...covered them with row cover to keep the birds away and water them lightly each day to keep the germinating seeds moist. If the seeds are wet, then dry out, it will kill the seeds...once germinated, however, they do fine. Good luck...Ann

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 7:49AM
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susiq(NW AR 6B)

So THAT's why I've had trouble germinating my freshly planted under row cover suns! DANG! (hand to forehead slap!) LOL!

I've been TRYING to keep them wet--guess not often enough!

Another 98-100 day for us, too. We have a MAYBE chance of 30% rain on W, and 20% on Thursday, but that's for the WHOLE of N TX, not necessarily on MY field & house!

Out to sow again!


    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 10:26AM
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DapperDahlia(z6 Pa)

drip tape is a gardeners best friend!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 2:15PM
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Maybe get them going, and then Miracle Grow with almost every watering???...I got some of mine in late too, and thats what I am gonna do...I figure its an experiment this year to see if they have enough time to bloom for me....I was full of good intentions when I bought ALL my many seed packets, and this year got almost ALL of them planted!..albeit a few of them a bit late...but a bit of the unknown can be fun...lets revisit this thread and compare successes and failures with our late sowing adventures....Take care and enjoy your summer come what may...GardenLove

    Bookmark   July 27, 2005 at 12:34PM
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crowspice(z4B IL)

We have germination! On the first late-sown, double-row
of sunflowers. That in just 5 days! Let the countdown (to flowering) begin! We will need to provide the water as we are still without rainfall. Illinois has been declared a disaster area in terms of field crops. Don't know what that means for me!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2005 at 1:55PM
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gardenlover(z5/6 OH)

Finally - Johnny sent my seeds! Got them yesterday (July 30) and got them in the ground yesterday. We're still in a drought also, so I'll be dragging hoses around for the next week or so. Seeded about 500 procuts and 200 strawberry blonde. Here we go....

Hope everyone else's suns are off to a good start!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2005 at 10:23AM
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crowspice(z4B IL)

So, how are we all doing with our late-sown, 50-day sunflowers? Gardenlover? Anniew? SusieQ, anybody else who got in on the big sunflower experiment?
Our late- July sown sunflowers are just starting to bloom.
Plants are about 3' high - probably would have reached 4' with more rainfall and/or watering. Even so, they seem to be
growing by leaps and bounds daily! We will begin cutting them this wk - I actually wish I could slow them down a tad as the next market is not til Wed and they are popping big time - esp in the 90 degree heat we are STILL having - even this far into Sept! But they are just in time for pairing with the pretty Fall grasses! Yea! Can we possibly be just two weeks from frost? What a totally unpredictable season we are STILL having! So how goes it with the rest of you?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 10:58PM
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Noni Morrison

well, really different climate here in the PAcific northwest where we have had it cooler then normal this summer. mY sunflowers, planted the end of MAy are just blooming now.My dahlias are just piddling along, throwing out maybe 3-5 a week of some varieties and fewer of others. I love the cool crisp weather but Getting enough red, yellow orange and blue togtehr for a wedding this weekend and a funeral (My best friend from college days. so want to take a big beautiful arangement fromt he heart)..well, all that has us stretched to the limits. I did manage to come up with 8 bouquets for the stand today, mostly lavender or coral! (Not my best sellng colors.)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 11:40AM
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Mine should bloom in the next week or so. Ann

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 5:53PM
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Bob_Piper(NE Oklahoma)

You'all are way ahead of me with the suns. I planted another bed of Pro Cuts on Sept. 1 and they are around 10" tall right now so it will be interesting to see what kind of crop I get. Not nearly so much sunlight now and getting less every day. Got almost 3" of rain night before last and that didn't hurt my feelings a bit.
The Pro Cuts I grew earlier this Summer were a big success and my florists purchased every stem I hauled to town at 90 cents per stem. Am I selling too cheap???
The Strawberry Blondes I grew were quite popular with my customers but the danged grasshoppers (I think it was grasshoppers) damaged a bunch of the new blooms and something (deer?) croppped many of the stems completely off several inches below the flower.
Probably could have averted the bloom damage by cutting just before they open but don't know what to do about the whole top of the plant missing. This bed is about 6 feet from my back door. Anyone else have this kind of problem?
I am finding that I like single stems better than branched.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 7:57AM
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Noni Morrison

Bob, I could grow nothing here without deer fencing. I start out with the nylon mesh to get quick protection then replace it with cattle wire when I can. ON each metal post we wire a 10 foot peice of rebar and run a couple of rows of wire above the 6' cattle fencing. THat has worked for us so far....

    Bookmark   September 16, 2005 at 11:56AM
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gardenlover(z5/6 OH)

My sunflower experiment is turning out exactly the same as Crowspice: Planted July 30, plants are 3 ft. tall, still 90 degree temps here in Ohio, and cutting the first of the bloomers in the morning (Sept. 19). I cannot believe how well they have done. This has been a cool experiment!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 10:59PM
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susiq(NW AR 6B)

My experiment is a failure. Can't remember what happened to the late July/early August seeds, but they didn't make. Then we had lots of kid activities getting them hither and yon for college etc for most of August, so I tried sowing suns & zinnias in late Aug, early Sept. They were okay, but I started & left them too long in a friend's "sunroom" that didn't, in fact, get enough sun. Still they were alive, tho stretched, so I planted them, and they were doing okay. But the zinnias never did look strong, and one by one they died--either from their own lack of strength or me forgetting to water one day. The few suns I started were actually looking good, 4-5" tall, and then the grasshoppers came.

(Pause for DEEP sigh, many tears, and insert a picture of Oklahoma from The Grapes of Wrath)

I discovered their damage/demise Tuesday evening, and I've been in a sad slump ever since. It's my own fault. Like everyone's been saying about the hurricane(s), we KNEW bad things were going to come, but.....

I HAVE tried spraying seedlings in the past w/ nice strong chemicals to kill grasshoppers, but the stupid bugs eat the poisoned leafs anyway! Then, maybe the vile things go off to die, but only after they've ruined my tiny crops. I also should have kept row cover on them for a longer time, but I got impatient, and wanted them to have plenty of sun, and the grasshoppers weren't THAT bad,.....yet.

I even started another tray of mixed suns & zinnias about two weeks ago, most have germinated, some are looking good, but several have also been snacks for the grasshoppers. The ones still there need to have better sun than where I have them in my house garden because they too are starting to stretch, and they need to be planted, but w/ the hurricane coming this weekend, and possibly several days of heavy rain, now is probably NOT the time to plant the last of my efforts.

I had SO hoped to have SOME suns and/or zinnias for the fall--these last, if they live, will be (should be) blooming late Oct, early Nov, perfect timing for great late fall bouquets. Just no wonderful orange or purple or lime green zinnias for Halloween. :( Now I may have to either cancel Oct. bouquets w/ my customer, or order flowers from a wholesaler, or buy plants at Lowe's again, or just sit down and cry!

On the other hand, the rain this weekend should do wonders for my roses, and the few plants of salvia leucantha I have, so maybe I'll have at least some October flowers after all!

Welllll, enough sad news. As an aside, I do have one interesting success. I delivered the regular bouquet on Monday (made up of things from my M-I-L's garden), and there on the lady's desk was the bouquet from 2 weeks ago! I'd used ( all store-bought plants) of a feather type reddish celosia, some orange marigolds, and even some Kermit Green mini mums that were in a discounted, few days old bouquet at Walmart that I'd bought in order to have flowers for the bouquet I deliver. And all 3, the celosia, Kermit mums, and marigolds were still as fresh as when I cut them!

I used floralife conditioner in the water--or maybe just a Chrysal packet, left a packet w/ the lady, and she did or didn't use it but she did replace the water every few days.

So that was way cool!

High Fives to all of you who WERE successful w/ your late sowings. Now you know and you can repeat that success next year!


    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 12:43AM
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adrianag(AL z7)

I'm just getting into some limited sunflower production. Questions:
1. How variable are the "50-day" ProCuts in production time? I'm considering them for production for a once a month farmer's market, so timing is critical unless I have a secondary outlet if the timing is off.

2. Is the $.90/stem price typical of what you can get from florists?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 9:49PM
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bfff_tx(z8b TX)

I find that if I start the pro-cuts and sunbright supreme in plug trays (72 cell) and plant within the third week approx 4" apart you can get earlier suns. The sunbright's especially, bolt and I end up with this gorgeous mini that my florists love. I charge florists and market customers quite a bit more than .90c a stem.....
Apart from that Pro-cuts are pretty true to their time period if direct seeded, down here in Tx.
Good luck
Kim - Billabong Fresh Flower Farm

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 7:08PM
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gardenlover(z5/6 OH)

My records from last year show a 7 day variation.

Procuts planted on May 17 were harvested 59 days later. This was a period of mostly below normal temps, and lots of rain.

Procuts planted on July 30 were harvested 52 days later. This was just the opposite as far as weather - extremely hot and drought conditions.

Just my 2 cents, I don't know if it helps you out any.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 5:23PM
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