We have put together some useful information below about how to grow sunflowers from seeds with your little ones at home.
Including a Sunflower growing chart, and the opportunity to get involved in our annual sunflower competition. Read on to find out more.
Sunflowers are an easy flower for children to grow and make a perfect hands-on experience for little ones to see the full life cycle of a plant. All you need are seeds, a few pots and water. Children benefit from caring for the plant, practicing early mathematics as they note its growth and witnessing how (with a little water and love) a tiny seed can grow into a big beautiful flower.
Did you know the current World Record for the tallest Sunflower is 917cm! Our current record is 396cm. Do you think you could beat either of those records? Learn how to enter our Sunflower competition in this blog.
The tall, yellow faced flower was originally from North America. However, the sunflower is now grown all over the world. Native American’s grew the sunflower as a crop and discovered that it had a multitude of purposes. Including edible seeds, milling for flour, extracting oil to be used in cooking and the flower was (and still is to this day) given as a beautiful gift. They have also inspired many pieces of artwork in our nurseries!
For best results, the best time of year to plant (sow) your Sunflower seeds is between mid April and the end of May. Sow the seeds in individual pots with multi-purpose compost and water. As their name suggests, the flower loves the sunshine! So, make sure to put your pot in a sunny spot and water regularly.
Sunflowers germinate in late spring, by the end of May, and this is when you should see your seeds grow a stalk and leaves. This means its time to move your Sunflower outside. Prep the soil by removing weeds and plant it at the same depth as the plant pot it was in. Water thoroughly and add a plant support stick, or a bamboo stake for support as your flower grows.
Make sure to water regularly and check to make sure the flower is not being eaten by slugs. Once fully bloomed (11-18 weeks from sowing the seeds) you can cultivate the seeds, dry and store for next year. Sunflowers usually only bloom once, and are mostly annuals. So, if you would like a continuation throughout the summer, plant seeds every few weeks or keep them to grow again next year!
Gardening with children is a fantastic learning experience and one which allows the development of a whole set of new skills, something we are implementing within our Sow & Grow programme as part of our educational curriculum, Foundations for the Future. Learn more about the education programmes offered at our nurseries here.
This year we will likely be waving goodbye to our Sunflower competition that has been running since 2017, with plans for an exciting new activity to follow in the years to come.
Therefore, this year will be your final chance to beat our previous record older Isaac from our Whitwick Day Nursery and Preschool back in 2021!
Keep an eye out for our our Sunflower pack give away on our social media @grandiruk! If you missed it, don’t worry, you can still enter our competition by purchasing some Sunflower seeds and downloading our Sunflower chart here. Or, your little ones can take part at the nursery with their seeds they have received them.
Once grown, take a photo of your little one with their amazing sunflower and send it, along with your flower’s tallest height, to [email protected] or by Monday 7th August 2023.
The tallest Sunflower winner will be announced on Tuesday 15th August 2023 and will receive a bug themed bundle of books and games provided by Books & Pieces.
Our previous record holders were:
2021 Record 396cm: Isaac at Whitwick Day Nursery and Preschool in Coalville
2019 Record 334cm: Rhys at Kiddi Caru Day Nursery and Preschool in Harlow
2018 Record 297cm: Ava at Kiddi Caru Day Nursery and Preschool in Redhill
2017 Record 289cm: Alex at Kiddi Caru Day Nursery and Preschool in Caldecotte
Of course, if you want to set your sights for the ultimate Sunflower goal, remember the world record for the tallest Sunflower is 917cm!
Happy seed sowing!
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