I am interested in planting some taller and perhaps shorter sunflowers in my...

Asked May 18, 2017, 12:11 PM EDT

I am interested in planting some taller and perhaps shorter sunflowers in my garden (6ftx6ft approx) which faces south and is located in front of my garage. I have several metal trellises which I will place next to the garage wall for support. I also plan to plant vegetables in this garden. I have not grown sunflowers before an i am trying to avoid the sparse look I sometimes see in gardens where one or two tall sunflowers are planted and look out of place and very alone -. In other words, I think I would like a more full look if possible. What kind of sunflowers grow well in Minnesota ...both the taller and shorter species? Can one purchase plants already started or only start from seeds? How close should they be planted to avoid that sparse, lonely appearance? Are there recommendations on how to prepare the soil? I just purchased my home and have been told by the neighbor that we have very good soil but beyond that, I do not know. I live in the Summit /University neighborhood in St Paul. Please also tell me if you have any suggestions on what to use when tying the stem to the trellis so as not to damage the plant? How often should I water esp in the beginning of this process? Thank you so very much for your assistance! And ... will there be sunflowers for sale at the Master Gardener Sale this Sat. in Maplewood?

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

What a great idea! We've all seen the single sunflower in a garden looking the worse for wear. Having a variety of heights if only a couple of each will produce a well designed backdrop for your vegetables. They also provide food for pollinators and many birds.

The following reference from U of M Extension will answer your questions about planting, watering, spacing, etc. Soil that is good for your vegetables is fine for sunflowers. Your plot is small. It's easiest to keep the soil the same. Sunflowers are not very choosy.


Helianthus giganteus, Helianthus annuus and Helianthus petiolaris are three Minnesota native sunflowers that are described at: https://www.minnesotawildflowers.info They are listed according to height.

Midwest Living magazine describes seven sunflowers for the upper Midwest at: http://www.midwestliving.com/garden/flowers/best-sunflowers

> what to use when tying the stem to the trellis so as not to damage the plant?

Use something soft. Material for tying plants to trellises is available in garden centers but you could use strips of old nylon pantyhose or T-shirts. Tie them loosely.

I believe that the MG sale in Maplewood is run by the Ramsey County MGs. Questions to Ask an Expert are assigned to us. I'm in Wright County. I'm familiar with that sale. It is a good one. It's also possible that they don't all know what will be brought to sell until it's there. Your best bet is to seek out a Ramsey County MG as soon as you arrive and ask them about sunflowers.

It is common to plant sunflowers from seed as soon as the ground warms. You will probably have better luck with variety if you go that route. They grow fast.

I can just imagine your "knockout" garden. Best of luck with it.