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Sunflower Help

Posted by dwiggin3 7/No. VA (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 1, 06 at 15:06

Hello all - It's been a while but I've yet again, found the need to consult the wisdom of the group.

I have a very small plot of soil (2f X 3f) that is right up next to a brick wall. Presumably, a bush once lived their. Over the last 3 years, Ive planted flowers successfully and tried veggies (unsuccessful). Each fall, I weed. Each spring I dig up the compacted dirt; add new dirt and usually compost and plant thats about all I do as far as "putting the garden to bed and waking it up". I get direct afternoon sun beginning around 12 until sunset. There is also a fair amount of natural indirect light all day and the brick radiates heat.

This year, I tried growing flowers directly from seed in the ground. I dont know much about how to start a seed indoors so I just never tried. Anyhow, I planted some random variety of sunflowers and one has taken root. I planted it back in May. Its about 3.5 feet tall. It has several blooms on it, one which just opened. I would have thought it would be much taller and the main stem thicker by now. Ive taken to using an old tomato cage to provide support. Any thoughts on why its not very tall or the stem seems thin? Also, the leaves are being eaten by something I dont see any bugs and the apt. a few doors down is growing veggies from a pot (it seems they do nothing and the stuff grows fine). I fertilized with miracle gro about a month ago and thats it.

I dont know anything about sunflowers but would like to try to grow them again. Can anyone direct me to some sunflower growing info or share their experiences? Also, any idea whats eating the leaves?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Sunflower Help

Sunflowers can range from a foot or so high to over 7' tall depending on the variety. If you planted a mix, then yours may just be one of the shorter ones.

It's difficult to tell what's eating the leaves without seeing the leaves or the critter itself. June beetles will eat them as will sunflower beetles but I don't think the sunflower beetle is a problem in VA. Check the backs of the leaves carefully for insects and do it several times a day since different critters feed at different times.

If you want to search the internet there are many sites with lots of info on sunflowers. A good way to search is to go to Google and enter your search terms and then put after them (that's site colon dot edu with no spaces.) This will bring up only university sites where the info is usually more reliable.

Good luck. Growing stuff is so much fun but it can be a challenge. Don't give up!


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