Count Your Blessings!

With love and passion, everyone can have a nice garden...Elaine Yim

Count Your Blessings!
Count The Garden By The Flowers, Never By The Leaves That Fall.
Count Your Life With Smiles And Not The Tears That Roll.
..... Author unknown.

Knowing me, Knowing you..... Aha.....!

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Malaysian Flora USDA Zone 11
Welcome to our exotic world of everlasting summers and tropical rainforests!

Friday, October 12, 2012

How I grow sunflowers in Malaysia

1.
My green heart sunflowers were started from seeds from Miruku's Garden. I have just harvested 4 flower heads of sunflowers, each giving me about 200 seeds which amounts to more than 800 seeds. 
  • This sunflower has a bright yellow outer petals and a green centre.
  • The flower head is about 10-15 cm diameter
  • The plant can grow to about 4-5 ft tall.
My grateful thanks to Miruku for this precious Gift. Now I wish to pass this on to other gardeners.

If there is anyone in Malaysia who wish to grow sunflowers from seed in your garden, I can send some to you by ordinary mail . These are my fresh home saved seeds. All you have to do is email me (mynicegarden@gmail.com) your postal address. 

I have already announced this on my Facebook page and the first batch of seeds had been mailed out.

Here's how I grow sunflowers from seeds:



2.
I use a container or seed tray due to my limited gardening space on the ground. 

Fill the seed tray with regular potting mix suitable for germinating seeds.
The soil should be wet before you put the seeds into the soil, one to each compartment.
Place the tray in a sheltered area, away from the full sun and rain. 
The seeds should germinate within a week or so. 
Water only when the soil surface is dry. 
Over-watering may lead to seedlings dying from damping off disease.

Note: 
The best way to grow sunflowers is to scatter the seeds on the ground. Sunflowers grown on the ground and under the full sun will usually reach their optimum height and flower size.  If space is a problem, then we need to start them in containers.

Sunflowers grown in containers will be of shorter height and have smaller flower heads. But if you only have a handful of seeds and scatter them on the ground, the birds and other wildlife may find it and eat away all the seeds! It had happened to me before, hence I am documenting this method of starting seeds in containers.

“How I grow sunflowers in Malaysia”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on October 12th, 2012.

3.
You can also use a 4 inch plastic pot. Place 1-5 seeds in a pot. Start applying a diluted fertilizer after you see the second set of leaves. Frequency of application is every week.


4.

Some people select the most healthy seedling and thin out (dispose off) the rest. I find that I can use all the 5 seedlings and they had transplanted well.

5.
Transplant the seedlings to larger containers (at least double the size or 6") when they are about 6" (15cm) tall. By now, the seedlings are about 3 weeks to a month old.

If you have more space in your garden, grow sunflowers on the ground. The plants will grow taller, stronger and the flower heads are also larger as compared to growing in a container.

Full sun, regular watering and weekly fertilizing is needed for sunflower plants to grow well and produce large blooms.

This sunflower variety can produce a few side branches. The flowers do not follow the movement/direction of the sun.

6.
Flower buds form when it is about 2.5 months old (from germinated seed stage).


7.

8.

9.

10.
Scientific name: Helianthus annuus
Family: Asteraceae 
Historical origin: North America

11.
 The flower heads, called composite flowers are actually made up of many florets, closely packed and spirally arranged around a centre. There are 2 kinds of florets; the outer ring of ray florets with large yellow petals are sterile and inner disc florets which will mature into seeds.

12.
 Each floret has an inferior ovary contained inside a 5-lobed corolla bearing 5 stamens and a style with bilobed stigma. The stamens surrounds the style.

13.

14.
Close-up on the double lobed stigmas. 

15.

16.
17

As the sunflower head matures, it will droop.
The back turns from green to yellow and the petals dry up.

18
It is time to harvest when the yellow disc florets can be easily rubbed off, otherwise the birds will have a party.  

19.
Run your fingers through the flower head to remove the disc florets. It should easily drop off as you do so exposing the dark coloured seeds.


20.
Use a scissors/garden shears to cut off the flower heads and let them dry further for some time. You can use your fingers and thumb to press and scrape off the seeds. Those seeds at the outer edges are larger while those in the centre are smaller or immature. Save the larger seeds for future use.

Seeds are best stored in paper bags (not plastic) and kept inside an air-tight container.

This is my entry for:
Fertilizer Friday hosted by Glenda at Tootsie Time.
Today's Flowers #216 hosted by TF team Denise, Pupo, Sandy and Luiz.
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day October 2012 hosted by Carol at May Dreams Garden.

69 comments:

  1. Szkoda, że nie mieszkam w Malezji. Dobrze, że chociaż mogę popatrzeć na piękne zdjęcia słoneczników. Pozdrawiam.
    Too bad I do not live in Malaysia. Well, at least I can look at beautiful pictures of sunflowers. Yours.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting to know how you manage to do it in Malaysia Autumn Belle!

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  3. I wish I would live in Malaysian! I love sunflowers and so do birds!

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  4. Brilliant Ms Belle. Love the flower so much and your write-up is great! Very helpful indeed. Can't wait to get my hands on those seeds. And thanks again Ms Belle ;)

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  5. Great post, complete with wonderful photos and information. I'm sure fellow gardeners in your country will love growing these and appreciate you sharing the seeds with them.

    FlowerLady

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  6. Good information for others to have. Great photos.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  7. Thank you, Autumn Belle, for your timely post. I have 3 sunflower heads drying in the garden and have been wondering how do I harvest the seeds? One of the heads have fungus, but the other 2 seem ok.

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  8. What a great How To with incredible shots- those close ups are amazing!!!

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  9. Belle...so nice yr sunflowers..wow.... tapi can, how come i've planted sunflower here, big big flowers..somehow nothing inside the seeds? i benci nak tanam sunflower besar2 lagi....hehehbaik tanam yg kecik..lebih cute kan..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too can't figure out why your big big sunflowers don't have seeds. You mean empty shells?

      Delete
  10. I'm sending my address for the seeds

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suka suka, please send an email to mynicegardenblog@gmail.com

      Delete
  11. I love suflowers. I think they usually like dryer conditions and I think of Malaysia as a very rainy place - not sure if that is true. Looks like they grow very well where you are.

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    Replies
    1. Jason, sunflowers love our equatorial sunshine. We do have good rainfall and the rain becomes our free watering on the plants. The monsoon season is expected next month. The sunflowers will be okay as long as there are no floods and extremely strong winds.

      Delete
  12. I learned something new today. I did not think you could grow sunflowers in your climate. This year the fields just South of the gardens here on the shores of Lake MIchigan had acres and acres of sunflowers. What a dramatic sight to see. People were stopping their cars and taking photos for a good week. Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jack, yes, we can grow sunflowers in our home gardens in this land of perpetual summers. However, I have never seen sunflowers flowering in such massive scale in Malaysia as in Lake Michigan. I can imagine what an awesome sight it must be.

      Delete
  13. sunflower is a bright, gorgeous flower. i pass by a house near my apartment with lots of sunflowers in the yard, but i'm shy to take photos.:p

    visiting from Today's Flower: Heliconia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Luna, this may be a chance for you to overcome your shyness and make a friend ;-)

      Delete
  14. Very informative post. I like sunflowers. The only problem is that my garden is too small to grow too many plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. skseet, just KIV in your mind about the sunflowers. Perhaps one day when you are bored with those plants you have already experimented with, why not try sunflowers instead? 1 flowerhead = hundreds of flowers on a single stalk. My flower lasted 2 months!

      Delete
  15. Wow!! Here, you throw a couple of handsful of seed on the ground, and what the birds don't eat, sprout! You seem to take such care of the seedlings! I love the way you have shown the whole life cycle of the sunflower, too! My favourite photo is the last capture of the bud, just before it opened!!! That one is just so beautiful!!

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    Replies
    1. Judy, I started with only a handful of seeds and when you only have a handful, every seed counts!

      Delete
  16. Wonderful and informative post from the planting of the seeds to the harvesting of the seeds. That was a nice close-up of the double lobed stigma.

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  17. Such a beautiful display of the sunflowers in close-ups and awesome details of their ongoing growth too, A.Belle. Love them... adding sunshine to the garden.
    Thanks for visiting my garden site and your concern about my health. You're a sincere friend indeed!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Jacq, I am so glad to see your comment here. It is a good sign. I have been thinking of you.

      Delete
  18. A perfect post to see the flower's life through your wonderful photos. Thanks so much for sharing these with Today's Flowers, and have a great week!

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  19. You have certainly inspired me to try this. I usually scatter them or plant them in the ground, and I think the birds or the chipmunks or the squirrels get them. I will try this method next summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle, I use this method because of limited space and limited seeds. Scattering seeds is a good idea.

      Delete
  20. Nice! I love Sunflowers, but I can't grow them in the shade. So I sure enjoy seeing them on your blog! This is an incredible series of photos. Pure joy!

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  21. I'm not sure whether my previous comment came through or not. I love Sunflowers! Thanks for sharing the beautiful series of photos!

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  22. The post is like a documentary of sunflower! SO pretty!
    DO you mind sent me some?

    ReplyDelete
  23. such a beautiful post. Love your sunflowers.....

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  24. The sunflower could be the most photographed flower in the world. And thank you for that little lecture, i didn't know that some of the flowers are sterile. However, i am a bit lost because you said the outer florets are sterile, then i wonder why all of them become seeds in the more mature photos. You got beautiful photos.

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    Replies
    1. Andrea, actually not lecture but sharing of my learning notes. The ray florets are those in the outer ring (only one row) with the conspicuous yellow bracts.

      Delete
  25. I salute your efforts in recording this photo series... very good rendition, I must say...

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  26. A great match of the beauty of nature and the skills of of clicking the camera. Lovely sunflower.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your post is great. I've always love sunflowers but only got down to planting it twice. So, I just resort to admiring them in the neighbourhood. Your blog has inspired me to try it out again one day.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Autumn Belle, Love your garden, your very well taken pics. I too love gardening but living in an apartment does have it's limitations.
    One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.
    Have fun and keep a song in your heart.
    Lee.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Great information and great pictures I love the sequence

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  30. Thanks Belle for the seeds.
    Your write-up here really helps me a lot in what to expect in planting Sunflowers.
    I had tried ones but it never germinated. Guess as what you mentioned the soil would have been very soggy.
    Will try to plant the seeds like you mentioned here by this weekend.

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  31. Gorgeous flowers! The last time I planted these was years ago! You are inspiring me to start again!

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  32. wow yr close up pics of sunflower are so beautiful. they are a delight to grow. i used to grow sunflowers but i often find one persistent problem...always kena attack by the white powdery mildew disease.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Ms Belle,
    I am very excited to nominate you for a Beautiful Blogger Award because I just love your blog! To accept all you have to do is tell us 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 other bloggers. You can find the BBA thumbnail on my blog if you'd like to post it on yours and, you know, show it off :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Autumn Belle, I am pleased to nominate you for a Beautiful Blogger Award because I love your blog! To accept all you have to do is tell us 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 other bloggers. You can find the BBA thumbnail on my blog for posting it on yours. I can see that you are a popular nominee -that shows the popularity of your blog. Regards, STilleTTo

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  35. gorgeous! I loved this series of photos! Sure sounds like a lot of seeds. Wish I could take some but I have a great lack of sun, and am planning a major reno at some point.

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  36. Hi, I would really be glad if you can send me sunflower seeds! I love planting.. but not expert yet. I wnna try pls.. Thanks! You have an awesome blogs.

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    Replies
    1. Glotie, if you live in Malaysia, I'd be happy to seen you some sunflower seeds. Please email (mynicegardenblog[at]gmail.com) me your postal address.

      Delete
  37. I just sent you a mail.. thanks =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glotie, yes! I received your email and will send you the seeds soonest possible.

      Delete
  38. owh.. i love these sunflowers.. can i have some seeds too? ;) hehe. but i live in brunei, if you don't mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dya, I am so sorry that have run out of sunflower seeds due to overwhelming requests. But you can buy them from Miruku's blog (link provided at the top of the post). If you wish to buy other types of plant seeds from me, visit My Garden Directory blog, the link below:

      http://mygardendirectory.blogspot.com/p/seed-exchange.html

      Delete
  39. i don't know why my sunflower can't survive after 3 weeks it's grow. so sad..

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    Replies
    1. Masidah, during the first 3 weeks, the seedling is still very young. They could be many reasons - damping off diseases, watering, sun, etc. To learn and share notes about gardening, do join my facebook gardening group here:
      http://www.facebook.com/groups/mynicegardenchat/

      Delete
  40. it perfect for my garden, do you mind sent me some seeds?

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    Replies
    1. Chik Det, please write to me with details. Thanks!

      Delete
  41. Hi, I just started to plant sunflower two months ago and been searching for sunflower of this size, is it OK for me to request for some seeds? Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Jia Lim, you can buy sunflower seeds from Miruku's Garden. The link is give at the start of this post. Just click on "Miruku's Garden".

      Delete
  42. My bf brings me those more often than any other flower..knowing theyre my favourite any time :)

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  43. Wow...really beautiful thing u got going there..sunflowers truly have a smiley face and bring sunshine wherever it goes :)

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  44. Hi!! I stumbled upon your blog when researching how to plant sunflowers in Malaysia! I'm hopeless with plants but I love them. My daughter has also developed a keen interest in gardening and I thought planting sunflowers would be very rewarding. A few questions:
    - I don't have a garden but intend to plant them in a container on my west facing balcony. Would this be feasible?
    - would it be a good idea to plant them now with the monsoon season just around the corner?
    - if not, when is the best time of the year to plant them?
    Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Answer:
      1. West facing balcony that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight is ideal for sunflowers
      2. You can start sowing the seeds if your part or whole of your balcony is covered/protected from rain splash
      3. In Malaysia we can plant sunflowers any time of the year.

      Delete
  45. I love your blog. Can't wait for mine to bloom like yours!

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  46. Hi! I need help. I've tried to plant my sunflower seeds but it never grew (waited 1 month after planting them and nothing grew! I bought my seeds at your typical hardware shop so I don't know whether they are good seeds or not. Do you still hand out free seeds to fellow gardeners by any chance? Thanks!

    My e-mail is noorfarahin_iab@yahoo.com (if you wanna contact me! :D )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Noorfarahin, so sorry that I don't have sunflower seeds to giveaway anymore. Also, very sorry to know that the seeds you bought did not sprout. Did you check that the date is not expired? You can also complain to the seed producer which you can find out from the details on the packet label.

      Delete
  47. Hi, I live in KL and my porch only has sunlight from 9am to 2pm (at most, on a perfect sunny day). My first batch of dwarf sunflowers became too leggy. When the 3rd set of true leaves appeared, the plants started to dry and wither from bottom to top. Now, I'm on my second batch. I planted the seeds last Saturday and they already sprouted today. I'm afraid they will become leggy again. Any tips? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi.. nice post!..i'm trying to grow mini-garden of sunflowers in my factory garden.. You said it's best to scatter the seeds all over the soils, but beware of the birds.. I never grow anything in my life, this is the first try!

    Wish me luck!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maximillian, Good Luck! Looking forward to hear about your success story.

      Delete

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