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sunflowers - Rita_Mae - 09-09-2007

My sunflowers were beautiful in July but now they have turned ugly. However, the seeds are not yet black. Is it too early to cut them down?
Many thanks,
... rita b

Re: sunflowers - IntrepidMeredith - 09-10-2007

Sunflowers require a lot of water while they're flowering, and without it their blooms may not grow as large or last as long. And the flowers always start drooping downwards as the weight of the ripening, plumping seeds increases. Wind and hail also take their toll on the leaves, oftentimes leaving them tattered looking by the end of the season. If you're wanting to collect seeds, my understanding is that the seeds are ripe when the back of the downturned flower turns brown/yellow-brown. If it looks like birds are eating the seeds before they ripen, you can cover the flower/seedhead with some stretched out pantyhose or a paper bag.

Re: sunflowers - Rita_Mae - 09-16-2007

Thank you, intrepid friend. Little by little I am either pulling up the sunflowers or cutting them down at ground level. The flowers are drying on our side porch--and I sure hope they don't attract any unwelcome critters.
... rita b

Re: sunflowers - nan325 - 09-18-2007

Some critter; likely a raccoon bit off the top of a small sunflower. Left the yellow petals nearby and absconded with the head. It was a young flower and so pretty. We were suprised that it even bloomed.