The stalks can be cut down and used to make trellises and many other items. You may also find that dried sunflower stems are useful for making musical instruments and cooking utensils. After harvesting the heads, some people also leave the stalks in the garden.
Perennial sunflower stalks are pruned in spring before they begin to bud; avoid pruning annuals, which can kill them. Perennial stems can be reduced by half or more in late spring or early summer to reduce the mature flower’s height and avoid the need for staking.
Sunflowers growing in a container will likely need staking too. So, do sunflowers transplant well? Answer: in most cases, not so well. Only attempt to transplant those you ‘ve started from seed and do that as quickly as the plant allows.
3 ways you can keep using your sunflower after it’s died Harvest and roast the seeds and sprinkle on salads or enjoy as a healthy, tasty snack. (Seeds are generally ready to harvest when the head turns brown on the back.)
Not only are sunflowers not poisonous, but the flowers can be used in a variety of applications beyond simply sprucing up a garden or, in the case of a cut arrangement, a room in your home. From stem to petal, sunflowers can be used in a number of culinary applications.
Science aside, sunflower stalks make great snacks, too. With a satisfying crunch and a taste comparable to celery, the stalks of young sunflowers can be added to salad, or eaten raw with hummus or peanut butter.
Cut the sunflower stalk and foliage to the ground. For tall varieties with thick stems, you may need to use lopping shears. Otherwise, a pair of garden clippers or pruning shears should be enough.
They do not grow and bloom again. These are usually the varieties cultivated for their large size, showy flower heads and edible seeds. A few types of sunflowers, however, can be grown as perennials, which means they will grow more flowers again the next season.
Harvest when seeds are plump and developed. Harvest when flower petals begin to dry out and fall off. Harvest when the back of flower turns from green to yellow (if you are cutting the stem off to dry). Harvest when the back of the flower is brown (if you are letting seeds dry with the stem intact).
Sow and Plant Sow sunflowers from spring to summer. Poke seeds into the soil about 1 inch (3 cm) deep and 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Thin to 12 inches (30 cm) apart in all directions for dwarf varieties. Extremely tall sunflowers or those that grow into multi-branched bushes may require 3 feet (1 meter) between plants.
Are sunflowers annuals or perennials? While most varieties of this bright beauty are annual sunflowers, meaning they will not come back the following growing season, they may self-germinate from dropped seeds if you leave the heads on the plants throughout the winter.
It is recommended that you only soak most seeds for 12 to 24 hours and no more than 48 hours. After soaking your seeds, they can be planted as directed. The benefit of soaking seeds before planting is that your germination time will be reduced, which means you can have happy, growing plants faster.
To prevent reseeding, remove spent sunflower heads before they go to seed. Alternatively, leave the flowers on the plant if you’d like to collect seeds for future planting or to save as food for wildlife. Frequent deadheading results in healthy, full sunflower plants.
Another common reason why you may not see any seeds on the sunflower is simply lack of pollination. It might be there are limited bees and insects in the area, and not enough to pollinate all the seeds. Ideally, the sunflowers need to be within 300 feet of a beehive to have enough chance of bee pollination.
A sunflower will signal that it is dying with stunted growth followed with dropped leaves, the leaves and stem turning yellow, brown, or black, and the petals on the flower head shriveling up.