Ask a Question forum: Droopy Sunflower?

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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Aug 18, 2015 9:24 AM CST
Why is this Sunflower so droopy? I give it a good drink nearly every morning. I'm beginning to think that maybe this spot next to the house isn't a good place for most plants. It's on the sunny side and gets a good dose of sun every day in the afternoon. It didn't start out as a place where I planned to put plants, I was not into it at that time. It was just a place to pile dirt pushed up by moles last year. I left it and when the pile started growing weeds and looked depressing, I just spread the dirt out and started putting plants there.
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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
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Chillybean
Aug 18, 2015 9:37 AM CST
I had that happen frequently when I grew mammoth varieties. I always thought it was from the weight of the seeds developing. I double checked the internet and others seem to agree with this. I think you are watering your plant enough, the leaves do not look dried or wilty.
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
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Zencat
Aug 18, 2015 11:02 AM CST
I agree. The plant itself looks great. The heads do get very heavy and can flop over. Have you noticed it popping back up over the night? Does it come back up at all?
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Aug 18, 2015 11:08 AM CST
I used to get such a kick out of the birds hanging upside down working on the seeds!
Name: Celia
West Valley City, Utah (Zone 7a)
Pour vivre parmi les fleurs
Irises Garden Photography I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Butterflies Birds
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Zencat
Aug 18, 2015 11:11 AM CST
It is pretty funny. Hilarious!
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Aug 18, 2015 11:54 AM CST
Zencat said:I agree. The plant itself looks great. The heads do get very heavy and can flop over. Have you noticed it popping back up over the night? Does it come back up at all?


When I first planted it, it was upright for several days until I came home one the evening when I had skipped watering it. It was droopy and the leaves looked wilted, so I gave it a good drink and the next morning it was upright. But, since then that hasn't been the case.

As long as it's normal the way it is, I'll relax.
"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Aug 23, 2015 6:10 PM CST
Well, it's no longer droopy, it was decimated. Not sure what would have done this to it. It happened sometime between the time I left for work around 11:30am on Saturday and the time I got home around 9:30pm. There is still a bud on it, is it salvageable? I was thinking maybe a rabbit, but when I went outside the next morning, I scared off a stellar jay that was pecking at it. There's two of them that hang around our place. But the way the smaller flowers were ripped off, I'm not sure a bird could do that, could it?

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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Aug 24, 2015 9:03 AM (+)]
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Name: Kim
Iowa (Zone 5a)
I kill ornamentals... on purpose.
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Spiders! Critters Allowed Birds Houseplants I helped beta test the first seed swap
Region: Nebraska Keeper of Poultry Rabbit Keeper Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Procrastinator Garden Ideas: Level 2
Chillybean
Aug 23, 2015 6:23 PM CST
Do you have ground squirrels?
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This was a ground squirrel planting, so I wasn't concerned about it. They take seed from bird feeders they can reach, or what falls to the ground and bury them. That was something we learned that year. We saw sunflowers coming up in odd locations and mowed over most, but left a few. Even before the seeds were fully dried, up he went to munch on some.

I would be ecstatic to see a Stellar's Jay. I feed the birds by buying food for them and planting flowers they like. Did you have plans for the flower/seeds? Some people cover them in some type of bag to keep birds off.
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Aug 23, 2015 6:53 PM CST
Chillybean said:Do you have ground squirrels?
Thumb of 2015-08-24/Chillybean/d3f5f6

This was a ground squirrel planting, so I wasn't concerned about it. They take seed from bird feeders they can reach, or what falls to the ground and bury them. That was something we learned that year. We saw sunflowers coming up in odd locations and mowed over most, but left a few. Even before the seeds were fully dried, up he went to munch on some.

I would be ecstatic to see a Stellar's Jay. I feed the birds by buying food for them and planting flowers they like. Did you have plans for the flower/seeds? Some people cover them in some type of bag to keep birds off.


We have Eastern Gray squirrels. Yes, we love the Stellar Jays and if they did it, we're not upset with them. Whatever it was, were they after the seeds? Here's the Jays playing in our hedge a couple years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH82rFAwwsk

"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Aug 23, 2015 6:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 23, 2015 7:54 PM CST
LOL, Greg -- I was going to ask if the sunflower was on the west side of your house, because that afternoon sun is pretty unforgiving...

But then I saw the most recent photos and now it looks like a case of animals/birds perching on the plant that are heavier than the recommended load limit! Blinking Maybe next time consider putting in a tall stake that you can tie the main stem to...
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Aug 23, 2015 10:59 PM CST
Weedwhacker said:LOL, Greg -- I was going to ask if the sunflower was on the west side of your house, because that afternoon sun is pretty unforgiving...

But then I saw the most recent photos and now it looks like a case of animals/birds perching on the plant that are heavier than the recommended load limit! Blinking Maybe next time consider putting in a tall stake that you can tie the main stem to...


As a matter of fact, it is on the west side. I had a couple of azaleas in that spot that got fried too (I moved them, but only one survived). If it isn't the afternoon sun, then it's hungry animals. There's been a vole digging around in that spot too.

"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Aug 24, 2015 7:58 AM CST
It's always something! Rolling my eyes.
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Sep 17, 2015 11:40 AM CST
After the sunflower got chewed on, I left it for a couple of weeks intending to prune what was left of the main bud. I waited too long, whatever picked at it came back and finished it off about a couple weeks later. I was surprised that there were NO remnants left of the bud, not even on the ground! Nothing! What ever it was picked it clean, no leftovers!

Fast forward to today. Reading the morning paper, I was surprised to see this picture. I couldn't find it in the online version, so I scanned it. Where the sunflower sits, it's possible for a deer to reach down and chew on it w/o stepping in the soft dirt of the bed and leave an obvious track, and the surrounding area is a gravel parking area. I honestly did not think there were any deers in this area, I was wrong. But I'm still surprised that I have not seen tracks in other areas of the property, particularly the side I've been working on. I'm out there everyday and it can be viewed from the kitchen and living bay windows. I have not seen any tracks.

It is possible that it wasn't a deer, since whatever chewed on the sunflower left the rose next to it alone, but there aren't many flowers on it, 2-3 at any one time.

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"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
[Last edited by Brinybay - Sep 17, 2015 11:48 AM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 17, 2015 12:16 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing That's a Pac. Northwest deer for sure - it's got moss hanging from its antlers!

Greg, you will know pretty soon if the deer are raiding your garden. As the weather cools off they move down from the higher country, especially when it's been such a hot, dry summer as you've had. Not a lot of lush green growth later in the summer, means they will pursue the irrigated garden goodies that will stay around longer, at lower altitudes.

You can start using scent deterrents to keep them away - things like hair from your hair brush and old pairs of stinky sneakers that you can't wear any more. You can also buy different scent deterrents from HD and Lowe's that are specifically formulated against deer but will also keep away things like bunnies.

Got to have been something pretty hungry and determined to eat the whole sunflower - but deer are very fond of roses, too. Got a GoPro so you can video the garden? How about motion-detector lights outside? That's what I have to alert me at night when the raccoons are in my garden. The lights come on and I go out and behave like a demented person, waving, clapping, growling and barking. I'm sure my neighbors think I am really nuts.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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LAMinMT
Sep 17, 2015 8:16 PM CST
My son put out bird feeders during the winter 2014-15 and the little brat birds kept pitching the sunflower seeds out onto the ground. To our dismay, some of the seeds took root and gifted us with sunflowers in front of our deck this year. We were delighted! I noticed the larger headed sunflowers did have a droopy stance while the smaller heads were erect. Watering did not seem to change the situation. I have raised the flowering types before and did not have this issue. I recently harvested the larger heads and was surprised by the weight and all the seeds these produced. Not bad for being cultivated by the birds.
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Brinybay
Sep 17, 2015 11:30 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said: Rolling on the floor laughing That's a Pac. Northwest deer for sure - it's got moss hanging from its antlers!

Greg, you will know pretty soon if the deer are raiding your garden. As the weather cools off they move down from the higher country, especially when it's been such a hot, dry summer as you've had. Not a lot of lush green growth later in the summer, means they will pursue the irrigated garden goodies that will stay around longer, at lower altitudes.

You can start using scent deterrents to keep them away - things like hair from your hair brush and old pairs of stinky sneakers that you can't wear any more. You can also buy different scent deterrents from HD and Lowe's that are specifically formulated against deer but will also keep away things like bunnies.

Got to have been something pretty hungry and determined to eat the whole sunflower - but deer are very fond of roses, too. Got a GoPro so you can video the garden? How about motion-detector lights outside? That's what I have to alert me at night when the raccoons are in my garden. The lights come on and I go out and behave like a demented person, waving, clapping, growling and barking. I'm sure my neighbors think I am really nuts.


I don't know for sure if it was a deer, I doubt that it was, I was just surprised there are any in this small but forested town. I emailed the photographer and asked him where exactly he photographed that deer, haven't had a response yet. I don't have a GoPro, but have been considering getting a motion-activated wildlife camera. I looked at some online but I get confused when I read the reviews, they're all over the board. We have motion-activated dual flood lights at 90 degrees from each other at that same corner where the sunflower is, but it's mostly for when we pull in the driveway at night and for anybody approaching the porch. A deer would certainly trigger the lights, but a rabbit would not. We usually don't notice the light triggering when we're asleep, and if we do, we ignore it. I'm much more sensitive to noises that don't belong.

The sunflower plant is still there, just the flowers were eaten. Not sure if it will ever grow new ones, but for now I'm just going to leave it.
"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara

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