Fancy Sunflowers, or How to Grow a Giant Sunflower?
The word "sunflower" in most people is associated with a cheerful, bright basket turning after the sun, and delicious roasted seeds. But sunflower is a unique plant and has a huge number of varieties that can impress with its taste, decorativeness, and even size. So, for example, in 2005 in with. Spassky has grown a giant sunflower 4.5 meters high! Its leaves reached 60 cm in length, the trunk had a diameter of 12 cm, and a basket - 47 cm. Such a giant sunflower is no coincidence! Giant sunflowers - a whole direction in the selection of this culture. I will tell you about sunflower varieties that amaze with their huge size, and about their agricultural technology in my article.
Sunflowers from the Guinness Book of Records
To be precise, the “Spassky miracle” is not a record among sunflowers. This record-breaking sunflower was registered in the Guinness book and had a height of 9 m 14 cm! Hans-Peter Schiffer, who lives in the town of Karst, raised this giant in the not-so-distant 2014 ordinary amateur gardener from Germany. And this is his third record! It all started with an eight-meter height.
When asked how to grow such a sunflower, Hans honestly answered, which is not easy. Giant plants need good nutrition, loose soil, constant watering (especially so that moisture is accessible to deep roots), open sun. But, in addition, in the area where the gardener's plot is located, thunderstorms often occur, hail falls, which destroys almost all leaves on the plants. And yet, the giant sunflower, so that it does not fall, has to be supported by a multi-level skeleton.
By the way, sunflower with the largest basket - 82 cm in diameter - was grown in Canada. And the smallest sunflower in the world was represented by Oregon growers. Its height was only 5 cm. It was grown in a bonsai style.
Giant Sunflower Varieties
Most of us have nine meter monster sunflowers on the plots. However, sometimes it’s interesting to grow something unusual, just in order to surprise relatives. And it is possible! Because today you can buy anything, even the seeds of giant sunflower varieties. And every year their choice is becoming wider.
So, the famous Zipp Holzer variety Taraumara (Tarahumara) grows up to 4 m in height and grows large, up to 50 cm in diameter, baskets in which large white seeds are formed.
Sunflower Bear Fang reaches 3-4 m in height, the diameter of its basket is 25-30 cm, the seeds are large, white, slightly curved, from which the name comes.
Sunflower variety Mammoth Russian - 4 m high, a basket of 40 cm, seeds are thick white.
Grade "Titanium" (Titan) forms plants up to 4 m high, heads from 30 to 70 cm and large, about 2 cm long, gray striped seeds.
Grade "Kong" (Kong) may be higher, up to 5 m in height, heads 25 cm in diameter.
Grade The Mongolian Giant (Mongolian giant) up to 5 m in height, heads 45 cm in diameter, seeds 2.5-3.5 cm.
Tall are also a variety "Giant exhibition" (Exhibition Giant)and sunflower "Giant white seed» (Giant white-seeded), which reach 3 meters or more.
When buying a change of giant varieties, you need to understand that, like other varieties, these, too, on different soil and under different conditions, behave differently. No, they will not grow dwarfs in any case, but in order to reach the full potential, you must try. For planting, you should choose the sunniest, most fertile place, ensure good soil breathability, purity from weeds and regular watering.
With a lack of light, sunflower develops worse, baskets are formed smaller, yield is significantly reduced.
Seeds are best planted immediately in open ground, as the culture does not tolerate transplanting. However, if the summer is very short, then you can apply the seedling method, but do not delay the landing in a permanent place. Already 20-25 days after germination, you need to transplant the sunflowers into the garden.
Glasses for seedlings are best taken deep, about 30 cm tall. The seed placement depth should be 3-4 cm. Before planting in open ground, seedlings must be hardened. It is better to leave a distance between plants larger, at least 1 m, in order to increase the nutrition area.
For sowing seeds immediately to a constant place, the soil temperature should reach +10 ° C. Return frosts for culture are not terrible. In the phase of up to 4 pairs of leaves, sunflower tolerates a short-term decrease in temperature to -5 ° C.
Sunflower and crop rotation
A place is better to choose a new one, where before sunflower was not grown, or grew at least 3-4, and preferably 5-9 years ago, and be sure to think about the predecessor.
The main principle of choosing predecessors should be the absence of common diseases with sunflower, in particular, it is necessary to exclude from the crop rotation all crops that may be affected by phomosis, gray and white rot.
Sunflower is not recommended after different types of cabbage, radish, daikon, mustard and other cruciferous crops. Also after legumes - peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, beans, soybeans. After other oilseeds and potatoes. Additionally, well-treated loose soil and sparse planting contribute to the prevention of diseases.
In addition to common diseases, the incompatibility of sunflower with cabbage, broad-leaved aster and oilseeds is also explained by the negative impact of allelopathy - the ability of plants to produce root secretions that inhibit the growth and development of other plants.
Zarazikha - the personal enemy of sunflowers
A separate issue in the cultivation of a crop is considered to be broomrape - a parasitic plant that sprouts on the roots of sunflower and takes away its nutrition and moisture. As a result of this, the sunflower develops worse, experiences obvious inhibition and grows up a smaller basket with puny seeds and low-quality grain, which is formed with a low content of unsaturated fats. In addition, plantings affected by broomrape become more susceptible to diseases, which in combination reduces their productivity from 35 to 70%.
To avoid the appearance of broomrape, the following conditions must be met:
- the time interval for planting a crop in the same place for at least 5-9 years; deep digging of the soil with a turnover of the reservoir (30-35 cm) before planting sunflower; can be dug in the fall with the simultaneous introduction of manure;
- systematic weeding of broomrape in order to prevent the plant from forming seeds;
- compliance with the spatial isolation of plantings of the current and last year, liming of acidic soils.
The sunflower is not very pretentious to soils, but sandy, loamy with a high content of lime, heavy clay, alkaline for obtaining high yields and growing giant sunflowers are not suitable.
Giant Sunflower Care
In the matter of fertilizers, sunflower is considered a poorly responsive crop. However, in an effort to get the highest plant, all who tried to win mention the increased introduction of organic matter. Thus, Richard Hope, a gardener from England who grew a 7.9 m high sunflower, told reporters that he had spent 15 bags of manure to get this result.
If your goal is not competition, but just a good harvest, it’s enough to add 1-2 kg of well-rotted manure per square meter for autumn digging for the crop.
To obtain a high result, it is very important to monitor the absence of weeds, to which sunflower is especially sensitive at the initial stages of development - the first 30-40 days. Weeding is also the prevention of crop damage by pests.
Sunflower has a well-developed root system. On the one hand, this allows it to extract moisture from deep soil layers, up to 2-3 m. On the other hand, it requires that the soil be loose. But the need for moisture at different stages of plant development is different. The most demanding period is flowering and seed filling. The rest of the time the plants do not need abundant watering.
Sunflower drains the soil very much. After its landing, the restoration of its moisture supply requires up to 3 years. For this reason, following sunflower, it is recommended to plant crops with a superficial root system that extract moisture from the upper layers of the soil.
Sunflower harvesting occurs in September. To understand that the time has come is easy in appearance of the basket: its reverse side turned yellow, the flowers began to fall off, and the leaves die off.