Whether you are looking for something to cut for the dining table or exhibit at the Mountain State Fair or simply have cheerful color in the garden it’s not too late to sow annual sunflowers. Stagger sowings over 5 to 6 weeks to keep enjoying continuous blooms. Give plants plenty of room, especially for low-growing varieties that will branch out 2-3 feet depending on the variety.
The towering Mammoth variety is the traditional giant sunflower and excellent for seeds.
Autumn Beauty has 6-inch flowers in shades of yellow, bronze, and mahogany on branching stems up to 7 feet tall.
Sunbeam is a “van Gogh sunflower” that grows on a 5-foot plant with 5-inch flowers that don’t shed pollen – great for the flower vase.
Teddy Bear is great for containers. It reaches 2 to 3 feet tall with yellow double long lasting flowers.
There are a number of perennial sunflowers on the market too, several of which are native species such as the willow sunflower. They are very easy to grow, deer resistant, have good fragrance and are great plants for bees, butterflies and other nectar feeders.
For more information, call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.