Mammoth Grey Striped Sunflower
Seed Count: Approx. 25 seeds
Days to Maturity: Annual
Description: The Mammoth Grey Striped sunflower is an iconic, classic, giant variety that produces loads of yummy edible seeds. Its huge flowers boast beautiful, golden yellow petals, with a darker central disk on sturdy stalks. Plants grow about 8-12 feet tall, and produce heads that span 10-12 inches across. Mammoth Grey Striped sunflowers are a show stopper when added to your garden, and because these plants are so huge, the make a great privacy screen. Plus, bees and butterflies absolutely love these easy growing plants. You can harvest and roast the seeds for yourself, or you can leave the seed heads on the pants to feed the birds.
How To Grow
Sowing: Direct sow seeds in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost. They face the sun, so make sure they are in an open area of the garden. They
will cast shadows on other plants, so plant these at the north end of your garden. You can also start seeds in starter pots, and transplant them a little deeper to encourage a strong root system and base for these towering beauties. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep in groups of 2 or 3 seeds. Space the groups 18-24 inches apart. Seedlings will emerge in 7-10 days. Thin to one plant per group when seedlings have two sets of leaves.
Growing: Water the seedlings occasionally as they develop. Mature plants tolerate drought pretty well, however, avoid over-watering, since this can cause disease. They may need some fertilizer for the big head growth, but be careful to not over fertilize.
Harvesting: For fresh flowers, cut the stems 1 1/2-2 feet in length, and at a 45 degree angle. Strip off any leaves that will fall below the water level, and place stems in water immediately. For the longest vase life, recut the stems and replace the water every three days. To save the seeds for eating or future growing, first cover the heads with a protective fabric covering such as cheesecloth to discourage the birds and squirrels. As the heads ripen, they will drop their petals; the back of the head will turn from green to brown, and the seeds will develop a hard coating. Cut the heads, leaving several inches of stem. Hang them to dry in a protected, well ventilated area. Remove the seeds by gently rubbing the dried heads, and store the seeds in an airtight container.