There is not really a trick to growing sunflowers successfully. They prefer moderately moist soil moderate fertilizing and lots of sun. If your soil is salty or droughty, or if there are diseases in the soil that affect the roots you might experience symptoms similar to what you described. The next time you try planting sunflowers if one should start to die as they have in the past I suggest pulling a plant in taking it to your County Extension office for them to diagnose. With the sample in hand they should be able to tell you what's wrong with it and suggest a good course of action. You might also try growing them from seed. It could be that in the transplanting process they are getting stressed and not establishing well.
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