Sunflowers are blooming on our deck in containers. Since young plants are often deer candy, another option is growing them in a fenced flowerbed.
Three kinds of dwarf sunflowers are chosen to grow in 17-inch diameter re-cycled plastic pots with plenty of potting medium for hot summer days. Dwarf plants are compact and suited proportionally for small spaces and for pots. They are Sunray Yellow Hybrid and Ms. Mars from W. Atlee Burpee Company, and Big Smile from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
Sunray Yellow plants are 18 inches above soil level and have 4-inch diameter butter yellow ray florets with contrasting dark brown discs. Largest blooms are terminal, with several lateral buds too, for many flowers per plant. Due to the short distance between leaves along the stem, and leaves that span 5 inches across, the container of plants remains full foliage as it matures.
Ms. Mars plants are 25 inches above soil level and have dark purple stems and buds, dark green leaves and four-inch diameter flowers. Ray florets are patterned merlot with light yellow tips and disc flowers are dark. Large leaf foliage is well-proportioned to the height of plants in containers. The coloration of foliage and patterned flowers add interest. Buds are terminal with some lateral buds.
Honeybees choose the Ms. Mars plants as the standout pollinator plant today. Pollen pouches were indeed full.
Big Smile plants are 27 inches tall with mostly terminal buds and a few lateral buds. The butter-yellow flowers are 6 inches in diameter with a medium brown disk.
Green leaves also span 6 inches, with attractive air space between leaves along the stems. While some prefer compact foliage, these plants are more a miniature of the traditional sunflower. Pollinators also visited these plants today. Large flowers are showy even at a distance.
We’ll look closer at growing sunflowers in a later post. Thanks for joining us today.