The Growing Demand For Ornamental Sunflower Becoming Increasingly Popular

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The Growing Demand For Ornamental Sunflower Becoming Increasingly Popular
Ornamental sunflowers are becoming increasingly popular for landscaping, gardening and floral arrangements. With the right cultivation techniques, sunflower farming can be a profitable


Ornamental sunflowers are becoming increasingly popular for landscaping, gardening and floral arrangements. With the right cultivation techniques, sunflower farming can be a profitable business venture. Proper seed selection, soil preparation, pest management and harvesting methods are key to successful ornamental Helianthus production.

Seed Selection

When starting a Ornamental Sunflower farm for ornamental purposes, selecting the right hybrid seeds is important. Look for dwarf varieties that will grow 3-5 feet tall and have large colorful blooms. Popular hybrids include ‘Pacino’, ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Velvet Queen’. Avoid tall, large seeded varieties meant for oil or birdseed production as they may not hold up structurally for ornamental uses. Order seeds early from reliable suppliers to ensure availability of desired varieties.

Soil Preparation

Sunflowers thrive in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil with a pH between 6-7.5. Incorporate 3-4 inches of organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure into the top 8 inches of soil a few weeks before planting. This will improve moisture retention and provide essential minerals. Soil testing helps determine any amendments needed to optimize fertility. Apply lime if the soil is acidic.

Pest Management

Common pests of ornamental Helianthus include aphids, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers and birds. Use floating row covers at planting to exclude pest insects until blooms open. Apply insecticidal soaps, neem oil or pyrethrins as needed for small infestations. Larger problems may require targeted insecticides. Control weeds that compete for water and nutrients by cultivating regularly. Deer fencing helps protect vulnerable young plants.

Planting and Care

Sow sunflower seeds 1/2 inch deep, 18-24 inches apart in rows spaced 3-4 feet apart after last spring frost. Provide even moisture until germination in 5-10 days. Thin seedlings to the recommended spacing as they grow. Stake tall varieties for stability. Provide 1-2 inches of water per week, avoiding wet foliage. Fertilize monthly with all-purpose plant food to support robust growth and large blooms.

Harvesting

Most ornamental hybrids will bloom 8-10 weeks after planting. Cut flower stems in the morning using sharp bypass pruners or a machete. Trim stems to 12-18 inches, removing any foliage below the water line. Group stems by variety and store in buckets of cool water in a shady area until arranging. Blooms will open fully indoors. Cut additional stems throughout summer as side shoots develop for extended floral displays. Properly dried and cured seed heads can also be used in floral arrangements.

Expanding the Customer Base

Offer pre-cut bouquets, centerpieces and seasonal bundles online and at farmers markets to draw new customers. Partner with florists, wedding planners and nurseries for wholesale accounts. Host how-to workshops on growing, arranging and crafting with sunflowers. Participate in festivals and fairs to promote the farm. Stay connected through social media featuring sunflower fields in bloom. With creativity and hard work, farming ornamental sunflowers can become a successful business.

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