Best of the bunch
SOME may consider them gaudy, others associate them with children’s gardening, but sunflowers do cheer up the summer garden with their huge yellow flowers above fantastically tall stems.
The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is traditionally single and yellow, but there are double and red varieties, dwarfs and giants, growing up to 10ft tall. They can be easily sown from seed in April, preferably in the greenhouse or on a windowsill, and are an ideal starting plant for children.
Transfer them to the garden after the last frosts. They will need support early on as the heavy flowers will break the stems in wind or rain.
Keep them wellwatered in summer, as you will see the leaves wilting quickly if the soil is dry, although they will recuperate if you catch them quickly enough.
If you want a different colour, go for ‘Prado Red’, or the deep orange ‘Solar Eclipse’.