Answer: Ballad sunflowers are a special breed - they produce no pollen, which is great for people with allergies. Your sunflower is an annual. Once it flowers and sets seed it will die. Don't bother saving the seeds; they will be sterile due to the lack of pollen. In general, sunflowers grow best in full sunshine with regular watering. If the flowers formed but never opened, the plant didn't get enough sunshine or was water stressed for a period of time. The small white bugs are feeding on the fluids within the tissues of your sunflowers. Sometimes called plant lice, they colonize on a stem or the back of a flower head and have a great time feeding on the plant. You can hose them off when you see them. They'll probaby come back but while they are working their way back they won't be feeding on your plant.
Best wishes with your garden!
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