The Q&A Archives: Staking Sunflowers

Question: I Have started gigantic Sunflowers in doors under grow lights with soil warming cable preset to 74 degrees. They are now about 12 inches tall. The bottom two pairs of leaves are turning brown on each plant. Is this normal? The two bottom leaves seem to want to die off when two more form above them. The stalks are very thin and fragile. Will they toughen up with age? Should I fertilize?

Answer: Fertilizing will not be helpful in this case. Unfortunately, these plants are very fast growing and it is very difficult to grow sunflowers indoors. They need full sun all day long in the garden and indoor conditions are just very dark in comparison. Although you might be able to stake them, it is still a relatively long time before you will be able to plant them outdoors. This is why sunflowers are usually direct seeded in the garden rather than started early. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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