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What have I done?

I thought I planted a sun flower, it is now nearly 3m - it's brilliant, but it also seems great to our little friends, they love the leaves.  It has multiple heads and not stopping to grow.    The strange only gets sun in the morning and evening.   The picture does it no justice as the ground drops.  I have staked it with the biggest steak I had, 2.5m, down to about 1m into ground, and cabled tied a 2m bamboo.  Any advice....I love it and everyone is expecting me to make it better - I'm not even a gardener!!!! Help me to save this beast...please......😀 


  • Perthshire. SCOTLAND .
  • Jac19Jac19 Posts: 496
    edited September 2021
    Sunflowers are a pain.  I started out with about 10, all germinated from seeds, but only 1 has survived in my very windy garden.  I have watched about 2 big ones die on me from wind damage, and it felt as if a family pet died each time.

    That is a majestic beast!

    This is what I have done.

    I use this velcro to do the tying because it is kinder on the stalk.

    The stalk is held up by water pressure.  So, water it every day, and once a week with liquid fertilizer (blood fish and bone or a natural tomato liquid fertilizer) in the water, so that the internal plant stays strong and holds up the top part.

    I have branches coming off the main stalk with flower buds and I have had to make like slings to secure them from stripping and falling off from their own weight and the winds.

    Mine finally started opening its flowers 2 weeks ago.  Big bumble bees LOVE them.  The liquid fertilizer should help yours to get flowering, too,  as well as make the plant stronger.

    I will post a picture of mine tomorrow when the sun comes up.
  • Jac19Jac19 Posts: 496
    Who do you mean by "our little friends"?  Slugs? Butterflies?
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 12,160
    My money's on slugs (or snails) 🐌. 
  • Jac19Jac19 Posts: 496
    edited September 2021
    This is not harmless as it is toxic to hedgehogs who eat the affected slugs, slugs being a big part of their diet.  But to save your beauty, for a few weeks, I'd advise spreading these pellets near the base and on the leaves.  Use some chicken wire to cordon off a small circular area at the base of the plant so that hedgehogs won't go there to get affected.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,353
    I wouldn't worry about it too much @bjornbclc - it's looking pretty good for the time of year.  :)
    It should flower for you soon. It's possibly not been in the best site for you - they like a sunny spot, and plenty of water to do well, but you'll get there, and you've done well with keeping it staked - they can get annihilated very quickly otherwise   :)

    A few slugs and snails are pretty standard on them, and the best way to get on top of it is to do a bit of slug hunting at night, and 'dispatch' them, if you don't want to use a chemical method - a few slug pellets is all you'd need though, round the base. The beer traps seem to be reasonably popular though.
    Most of the other deterrents don't really work that well. If you were to read the may threads on the forum about them, you'd see how inefficient most of them are  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,935
    edited September 2021
    If a sunflower is not supporting its own weight or the weight of its flower heads it’s likely to be due to etiolation due to lack of sunlight. 

    Next year plant them in a south or south-east facing spot.  That should produce much sturdier plants with larger leaves.  

    A sunnier spot should also mean there are fewer slugs and snails in the vicinity. 

    While it can be helpful to stake the stem in a windy spot, it shouldn’t be necessary to support the flower heads … before they open the flower heads track the course of the sun as it appears to move from east to west across the sky … then when the flowers open they remain facing the rising sun in the east all day … hence their name.  Tieing up the flower heads would impede this and really shouldn’t be necessary on a well-grown plant.

    Here in East Anglia there are fields full of sunflowers holding up their smiling faces to the east … the farmer doesn’t need to support them. 🌻 🌻 🌻 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Jac19Jac19 Posts: 496
    edited September 2021
    My beauty.  It's up to 45 knot winds that got the others.  This one was somewhat sheltered by the wall.  I have a couple of long bamboo poles supporting the main stalk. I even put cotton around where the velcro ties the stalk so that it does not cut into the stalk in the winds.

    This is a branching one and the branches were coming off the main stalk at the joints.  One came off with 3 flower buds on it :( and I quickly put slings up for the others.

  • Jac19Jac19 Posts: 496
    No! The scaffolding is for work on the roof. LOL. Yeah, I get the joke.
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