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questions re: Sunflower Sunny Smile

Posted by diggerdee z6 CT (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 4, 07 at 19:59

Not sure if I should post this here or perhaps the market forum, but...

Despite my less-than-stellar success in the past with sunflowers, I am going to once again plant some for cut flowers for the local market.

While looking through some catalogs, I came across Sunny Smile, which looks like a great dwarf type.

But I'm confused....

My question is, if I pot up a plant of Sunny Smile, will it rebloom? The description says it blooms season-long, regardless of day length, but I'm not sure if they are referring to the same plant re-blooming, or if they mean I can succession-plant.

The description also says branching can "be induced" which leads me to believe it naturally does not branch.

Basically, I'm wondering what I would be selling to the customer. Would it be a single-stem plant, with one bloom (presumably at point of sale), which will not bloom again? If so, I'm not so sure how popular a seller it would be. I suppose I could try to induce branching, which would help with bloom count, and of course I could perhaps pot up three to a pot or something like that...

I have had Big Smile in pots for my personal use for many years, and while I love it, I am disappointed in re-bloom - a few smaller blooms, but not much to speak of. As a customer, I'm not sure I would buy a pot in bloom just for that short period of time.

Any thoughts, opinions, suggestions? Sorry if this is a beginner-type question - but that's what I am, lol!

Thanks for the help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: questions re: Sunflower Sunny Smile

My question is, if I pot up a plant of Sunny Smile, will it rebloom? No; but, I don't think that much matters to some of the customers who have purchased potted dwarf sunflowers. They're pretty much impulse sales. Depending on the size of your pot, they are usually sold with more than one sunflower in a pot -- in odd numbers. Although I'm thinking they might do well as one plant in a 3.5" pot. The seed after all is costing the grower less than a penny each. You're gonna be rich!!

Sorry if this is a beginner-type question - but that's what I am, lol! This is going to be your third season is it not? That's not to say that we're not all of us continuously learning. When we stop asking questions, we stop growing.

RE: questions re: Sunflower Sunny Smile

Wow, I'm very flattered that you know this will be my third season! I didn't think anyone was really that aware of me, lol!

Yes, it will be my third, but I still feel like a brand-spanking-new newbie at times. My first season was totally unplanned, last minute, and I kind of fell into selling. Plus, the other cut-flower vendor at my market has not only been doing this for many years, but comes from a prominent family that has been farming in the area for a few centuries. I'm just a transplanted city girl with an acre of land, lol! So I do still feel like quite the novice!

Thanks for the answer. I'm figuring on this type of flower being an impulse buy, but I still want to make sure I'm selling a worthwhile product, that the customer will get his or her money's worth. I also am debating whether to go with one plant in a little pot, or to pot up 3 or so in a larger pot. Maybe I'll do some of each - some may be willing to pay more for the bigger pot, while the smaller pots may attract the kids.

But I have to add that since I am such a small grower, I don't buy seed in bulk. I'm paying a bit more than a penny per seed - about 6 cents per seed - but that still works out to a bit of profit, huh? Maybe I won't be rich, but as Daffy Duck says, "I'll be comfortably well-off"! :)

Thank you, flowerfarmer!

RE: questions re: Sunflower Sunny Smile

Dee,this will be my first yr. to sell at the market.I plan on bouquets,4 in. pots of perennials and some annuals,my veges.Can I ask what you sell your small pots for?I may do some 6in. pots of some also.I ws so I have alot of seedlings I am just now poting up for May sells.Thanks for any info.I just found this forum and am so excited to read the post here and learn.I am going to also get the book of selling plants at market but I do not think I will sell on a lg. scale.I live in a tourist town and know one vender there that already sells plants and seeds.I too will sell some of my seeds.

RE: questions re: Sunflower Sunny Smile

moonphase, I don't know that I am the one to ask about pricing, since I still consider myself rather new, and I feel that I am still finding my way with pricing. I think you have to experiment and see what your market will bear. But, I'll tell you how I do it at my market.

As far as pots, it depends obviously on the size of the pot but also on the size/age of the perennial. For instance, I also winter-sow, and last year had lots of extra seedlings. Some of the smaller plants, the ones that were only a few inches tall and in two- to three-inch pots, I sold for $2 to $3. (These were perennials - I didn't sell annual plants last year.) By the end of the season, some of the larger plants went for $5, and the year-old plants I grew from seed from the previous season, I sold for $8 to $10. I figured the longer I had to take care of it, the more it cost me. It also depended on whether it was a common plant or something more unusual. For instance, my dwarf balloon-flowers seemed to catch everyone's attention in bloom and were big sellers, and I could get a bit more for those.

I'll be doing potted herbs this year too, and haven't decided on a price yet, but am thinking of $2 to $3 for a 2 or 3-inch pot.

I wonder, moonphase, how the market will be for plants for you, if you live in a tourist town. Will tourists buy plants, if they have to travel home with them? Perhaps your emphasis should be on the bouquets and seeds? Obviously you will have town residents at your market also, but if the majority of customers will be tourists, I think the bouquets and seeds might be a better sell.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I don't sell plants of the flowers that I put in my bouquets. I figure if people buy the plant from me, they won't need me to sell them bouquets!


RE: questions re: Sunflower Sunny Smile

I found this while trying to decide what variety I wanted to buy for a kids project I'm working on.

Here is a link that might be useful: Guide to Sucessful Pot Sunflower Production

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