Growing the Early Russian sunflower

Early Russian sunflower with about half the florets open. I'm always amazed to watch how they open in a constricting spiral.

It’s taken my Early Russian sunflower a week to bloom fully. I’m rather proud of it as it’s the first giant sunflower plant I’ve ever grown. Friends and family have come to see the amazing 2.2m tall sunflower and the neighbours are green with envy. *evil laugh*

The Early Russian plant in its entirety - 2.2metres tall!

I’m not entirely certain how I managed to get this plant to grow to its full potential. Maybe it’s because I planted it in the same spot that a tomato plant was in a few months ago and there were still traces of fertilizer there. I’m not sure, but I’m not complaining either!

Anyway, here’s my experience growing the Early Russian sunflower:

  • Sowed in soil in a small pot
  • 1 week to germinate
  • Transplanted to the garden when it still had only seed leaves because it grows FAST!
  • Fertilized weekly/fortnightly with whatever fertilizer I had on hand (but have been advised that it should be even more frequently)
  • Budded in about 3 months
  • Flowered fully within 7 days

Finally, almost all the florets have bloomed and the outer petals start losing their lustre. It will look like the flower is dying, but seeds will be ripening in the flower head for a few more weeks.

The Early Russian sunflower really doesn’t need any support. All my other sunflower plants tended to lean over and needed staking, but this plant had a really strong stem supporting it. I’d estimate the diameter of the base of the stem at around 3cm, which is thick, compared to the around 10 to 15mm that my other sunflower plants had.

The plant even started growing roots above ground to try to support itself better. I’ve noticed that other sunflower plants do this, too, and usually take the hint to add more soil around the base of the plants to help them out.

I’m not sure how much longer the flower will last. Now that all the florets have bloomed and the centre of the flower looks like a pincushion, the outer petals have started fading. I quite liked their wavy look earlier this week – they reminded me of a ring of crazy yellow feathers!

So now begins the sad part of growing sunflowers – the head will start drooping more and more, and the outer petals will die off. The leaves will stay green because they still need to generate food and energy for all the seeds ripening in the flower head that will fatten as the seeds develop. I just hope there were enough pollinators up at that height!

Well, the only thing to do now is to try to get more seeds to germinate…

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Growing the Early Russian sunflower — 4 Comments

    • Thanks, Sky. Hope there were some insects way up there to help pollinate the florets. Goodness knows I didn’t get to that height! LOL