Often known as the Maximilian Sunflower, this attractive species produces masses of golden yellow, 7cm (3") wide blooms all the way up the tall stems, which have a sweet chocolate fragrance. Perennial sunflower Helianthus maximiliani makes a stunning addition to the back of borders and a good late summer food source for both birds and butterflies. Height: 250cm (98"). Spread: 100cm (39").
Companion planting: Try growing sunflowers with chives to deter aphids.
Sow sunflower seeds individually in 7.5cm (3") pots of a good compost from February to April. Place in a propagator at a temperature of 18-21C (64-70F) or seal the seed tray inside a polythene bag until after germination, which usually takes 7-21 days. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged and do not exclude light, as this helps germination.
After germination, grow sunflower plants on in cooler conditions before moving to a cold frame outdoors. When they are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, plant sunflowers at a distance of 60cm (24") apart in a sunny, sheltered position on moist, well drained soil.
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