From one little seed…

From just one little seed a whole new garden can begin to grow…and we are here to help you at every step of the way.

On these pages we wanted to share some information about three of our favourite plants that can be grown from seed – the agapanthus, the echinops and the helianthus – and how you can grow them. We hope you find them both interesting and a fun way to begin your journey to a new dream place.


Helianthus is most commonly known as the sunflower.  It is a genus of plants comprising 52 species in the Asteraceae family, all of which are native to North America, with some species – particularly Helianthus annuus (sunflower) and Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke) – cultivated in Europe and other parts of the world as food crops and ornamental plants.

The scientific name Helianthus is a combination of two Greek words: helios is the word for sun and anthos is the word for flower.

The Helianthus annuus (sunflower) is an annual plant and got its name from its huge, fiery flowering heads, whose shape and image is often used to depict the sun.

From the Americas, sunflower seeds were brought to Europe in the 16th century, where, along with sunflower oil, they became a widespread cooking ingredient. Sunflower leaves can be used as cattle feed, while the stems contain a fibre which may be used in paper production.

A common misconception is that sunflowers track the sun. In fact, mature flowerheads typically face east and do not move. The leaves and buds of young sunflowers do turn towards the sun as their orientation changes from east to west during the course of a day.

Most people associate Helianthus members with great height (between 1.5 to 3m), but some dwarf varieties that only reach 45cm in height are available.

Growing Sunflower (Helianthus)

If growing Helianthemum outside then it is best to sow sunflower seeds outdoors at a depth of 6mm following the last frost of spring. Sunflowers like to grow in a sunny or partially shaded area that has good drainage. They can be grown in most soils but if you want to grow big sunflowers then use a soil that is of pH5 to 7, deep and rich.

Contact us now for a free garden consultation on 01403 700736

How to grow

Sunflowers can be sown straight in to the ground where they are going to flower, so make sure the space you are going to sow is weed free, by using a trowel to remove the weeds.

Rake the soil to a fine crumbly texture and make drills 12mm deep. Leave a 10cm space between each seed.

Place the seed in carefully and cover them up with soil. Don’t forget to water the seeds gently. As they grow, if the plants are crowded, then thin them out to about 45cm apart leaving the strongest, tallest plants.

Be careful, as slugs and snails like to eat the new shoots. You may like to protect the seedlings by cutting the top off a plastic bottle and placing it over your seedlings.

As your sunflower begins to grow taller than you, you will need to help support the stem, by placing a cane near the stem and loosely tying the cane to the plant with string.

Watch your sunflower grow and grow and grow!

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