We decided to plant sunflowers this year. Most sunflowers get very tall though, and we wanted something a bit smaller. So we decided to plant Dwarf “Incredible” Sunflower, which grows a full size sunflower on a much smaller plant.
Here are the seedlings popping up in mid-March. I may have planted them a little too early. The seeds are planted in simple seedling soil, nothing fancy.
The Dwarf Incredible seedlings look very healthy and strong
Here are the seedlings 7 days later – they already have their first true leaves
2 and a half weeks later, one of the Sunflowers is almost a foot tall!! Others are over 4-6 inches tall. I’m getting concerned about their growth rate since the last frost date is over a month away still.
In the end, I did plant them too early. It was a struggle to keep the plants in the sun enough to sustain them, and at the same time keep the roots from outgrowing their pots. We had to fertilize them and move them every day into the windowsill to keep them healthy and from getting too leggy.
I think a better time to plant them would probably be 3-4 weeks before last frost date. In the Toronto area, that means planting in early to mid April.
We eventually did get them out in the garden, and we had the most beautiful sunflowers. They really are ‘Incredible” – this sunflower head must be 10-12 inches across, and it’s only around 2-3 feet tall.
What I really like about “Dwarf Incredible” is that it brings goldfinches into the garden. They LOVE this plant – they fly back and forward to the sunflowers while I’m gardening. I really like goldfinches, they are the beautiful little yellow birds.
I’m not sure, but I think that’s a goldfinch there on the sunflower in the back, the one that’s done flowering and has gone to seed. They adore the seeds.
At the end of the day, when it comes to growing these sunflowers, I recommend skipping planting them indoors altogether, and just plant them directly in the garden when danger of frost has passed, in the GTA that’s around the 2nd week of May. It’s hard to keep such a vigorously growing plant strong and healthy before it’s safe to transplant outdoors.
Plant Information, in my Opinion:
Helianthus annuus ‘Dwarf Incredible’ Sunflower
Height: 1-2 feet, occasionally 3 feet Width: 12-18" Zone: (Annual) Location: Sun Water: Average Bloom Time: Mid-late summer, for a few weeks Special Needs: None really Difficulty: Easy / Beginner