Multi-headed sunflowers

multi-headed sunflowerOn June 1st I posted about the sunflowers I’ve grown from seeds harvested from the summer batch of flowers. One of them had several smaller flowers along the trunk and I wasn’t sure what they’d do. Well, as the main flower is dying off, the smaller flowers are opening up. The main flower is the size of a dinner plate, the smaller flowers are more like the size of a mandarin. The whole effect is beautiful.
small sunflower
With the 3 large heads I’m hopeful of a great harvest of seeds from this batch (for both eating and sowing). I’m already looking forward to my spring planting – I’m going to overplant and see how many I can grow. Though overplanting might be difficult since planting my own seeds seems to give a much lower yield.sunflower
Unfortunately my harvest isn’t just dependent on the seed quality, soil fertility and the weather, it also depends a lot on when and how many parrots discover this meal on a stick!


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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4 Responses to Multi-headed sunflowers

  1. What do you mean by overplant?

    So kewl about the flowers!

  2. By overplant I mean I’m not going to space them nicely but I’m going to put handfuls of seeds in there. With any luck I’ll have the problem of having to thin them out. Maybe I’ll end up with so many I can cut them and bring them inside. But I’m not sure how well they’ll keep in a vase – the time between fully opened flowers and petals falling seems pretty short.

  3. Sue P. says:

    I live in Cwmbran, and have a sunflower with 13-15 heads ranging from dinner plate size to saucer size. It is a spectacle and I hope to retrieve seeds to grow more such plants in the future. Any advice?.

    • Sue, I’m not very experienced in sunflower seed collection and planting, but from my small trial I found it is super easy. My advice is to cut down the flowers once they start to die (the back of the flower head starts to go yellow or brown) and then leave them hanging off the ground (every creature on this planet eats sunflower seeds) to dry. Once the seeds start to fall out, or at least waut until the head is dry and the seeds are black, harvest them. I did this using a wire brush because they don’t come away from the head very easily. (This is my post on harvesting)

      After that, just pop them in the ground. I found the number of successful plants from self-harvested seeds to be a LOT less than from the packet of seeds (though it was also much colder outside which could have been the real reason) but since one head gives you hundreds of seeds, you can afford to plant 4 times what you normally would.

      But don’t be surprised if your 2nd generation plants don’t look anything like their first generation parents. Sunflower seeds sold in shops have been modified so that for one generation they produce as advertised, after that they revert to the unmodified base (whatever that was). Also sunflowers cross polinate easily so you end up creating your own species based on where your pollinating bee had been that day. Which only adds to the fun. I’ve posted about my variety change here.

      Good luck and let me know how you go.

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