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Pruning/deadheading sunflowers and honeysuckle

WildFlower85WildFlower85 Cambridgeshire, UKPosts: 78
I have two plants that were planted this year, and I'm not sure what pruning or deadheading I might need to do.

The first is my honeysuckle.



It's had some growth but not much, and I'm wondering whether I should have pruned more to encourage new shoots? Any advice on what to do now, or even next spring, would be grateful.

And then there's my massive sunflowers grown from seed. 



The middle has already flowered and faded and you can just about see that some of the seeds have either been eaten or fallen out. The far right one is coming to the end of its flowering, and the left one is just starting. What's the general rule for large sunflowers? Should I cut the head off after some time has passed and birds have pecked the seeds? How far down should I cut the plant? And can I use the seeds to regrow new ones next year?

And, for bonus points, is there any trick to redirect the heads? All mine are facing out of the garden, facing approx N/NE? I thought they would follow the sun which is SE facing and face into the garden, but no such luck!

Thanks in advance  :)
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  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,433
    Just let your sunflower ripen and let the birds have the seeds, they are fun to watch.  When you see the birds after them you can gather a few for yourself for next year.  They are not ripe yet.  Don't bother deadheading, it's too late for secondary side flowers to bloom.
    Utah, USA.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 63,816
    edited 2 September
    As they are growing the head of sunflowers follow the sun, but once grown a mature sunflower stays facing roughly east 

    Interesting info here ... scroll down to find the section about the mature stage 
    https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/sunflowers-always-face-follow-sun.html

    🌻 🌻 🌻 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,041
    The honeysuckle is very tiny, so it's best left just now. On a trellis against a fence isn't the best site for them though - they're not like roses and clematis, they're more scrambly and get very heavy, and more suited to going over sheds and buildings, or scrambling up and over shrubs and hedges. It might be very dry there too, so you'll need to keep an  eye on watering. If the site suits those sunflowers though, it's unlikely to suit the honeysuckle. They like a shadier spot. 

    The sunflowers are annuals, and as @Blue Onion says, the birds will take some seed, and you can just remove the whole plant once it all dies down and looks rough. 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • WildFlower85WildFlower85 Cambridgeshire, UKPosts: 78
    Thanks Fairygirl. Unfortunately, we don't have anywhere else to put the honeysuckle, as all our other less sunny fences belong to neighbours, and our shed is completely in shade. Our soil is clay (although I dug up the area the honeysuckle is in to add some organic matter), so it keeps quite moist. And I water it 1-2 times a week when there has been no rain. We'll see how it fairs, although it sounds like it's going to struggle  :(

    Didn't realise the sunflowers were annuals! Will definitely just leave them and remove when they're completely dead. Are there varieties of sunflower that return each year?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,041
    There are perennial sunflowers.  I don't think there are many, but Lemon Queen is a popular one. Just search for perennial Helianthus and it should bring up a couple  :)

    You could always add a few perennials etc round the honeysuckle to give it a bit more shade low down. They're plants which like a woodland edge sort of setting.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • WildFlower85WildFlower85 Cambridgeshire, UKPosts: 78
    That's great, I'll definitely look at perennial Helinathus (although I have some giant sunflower seeds left so will do both!).

    Great idea about planting around the base of the honeysuckle. I had planned to do this but have been stalling about what to plant there given how clay our soil is. Any suggestions?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,041
    If you add a good bit of well rotted manure in autumn, that will help break up the clay a bit for next year, and generally improves the structure. It's always worth doing that in autumn, even just with spent compost, or new stuff, as it all helps over time to get a good medium for planting  :)

    Having said that, you could plant hardy geraniums, as most of them grow in sun or shade, and are tolerant of almost any soil. It will be a balance though- too many plants means more competition for moisture, but those will be fine, especially if you water well and mulch. There will be other plants that would be fine too.  
    You can add bulbs in with them for spring to give you some succession of flowering. Most daffs/narcissus will be fine there, and the usual crocus etc.
    All easy to obtain too, and very little maintenance.  :)
    If you like your sunflowers - there are loads of varieties of those too. I don't grow them very often although I had a nice dark one a few years ago. Black Magic I think.   I have a freebie one in the border this year - a random seed in with some Ipomeias I'd bought  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,433
    Consider multi headed sunflowers.  Many will grow just as tall.. mine are at least 9 feet tall now.  I have yellow this year, but have grown red ones in the past.  I feel like the blooms last longer, but never measured if that is true.  
    Utah, USA.
  • WildFlower85WildFlower85 Cambridgeshire, UKPosts: 78
    Fairygirl said:
    If you add a good bit of well rotted manure in autumn, that will help break up the clay a bit for next year, and generally improves the structure. It's always worth doing that in autumn, even just with spent compost, or new stuff, as it all helps over time to get a good medium for planting  :) 
    The area where the honeysuckle (and indeed current sunflowers) was broken up and some fresh compost added/mixed in to about 6-8 inches deep so hopefully that will continue to break down further over the Autumn/Winter.

    Having said that, you could plant hardy geraniums, as most of them grow in sun or shade, and are tolerant of almost any soil. It will be a balance though- too many plants means more competition for moisture, but those will be fine, especially if you water well and mulch. There will be other plants that would be fine too.  
    You can add bulbs in with them for spring to give you some succession of flowering. Most daffs/narcissus will be fine there, and the usual crocus etc.
    All easy to obtain too, and very little maintenance.  :) 
    Both really lovely ideas. The Spring bulbs would bring some early colour into the garden, and I was planning on buying some bulbs for our front garden anyway so can just get a few extra to plant. And I did look at hardy geraniums so pleased to hear these should work well. Is it worth waiting to next spring by buy and plant the geraniums, or can I source and plant them this month?
    If you like your sunflowers - there are loads of varieties of those too. I don't grow them very often although I had a nice dark one a few years ago. Black Magic I think.   I have a freebie one in the border this year - a random seed in with some Ipomeias I'd bought  :)
    I love sunflowers; remind me of having some in our garden growing up. Definitely time to explore some varieties I think! Maybe mix with tall and shrub like versions  :)

    As ever, thanks for all your advice.
  • WildFlower85WildFlower85 Cambridgeshire, UKPosts: 78
    Consider multi headed sunflowers.  Many will grow just as tall.. mine are at least 9 feet tall now.  I have yellow this year, but have grown red ones in the past.  I feel like the blooms last longer, but never measured if that is true.  
    Definitely going to try something different for next year I think! Love the idea of red varieties. As I said to Fairygirl above, I think I might try and mix up shorter with taller varieties too.
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