Here is another cousin of the baby sunflower, which is part of the inratable perennials. Baby Sunflower, known as a small five-veined baby sunflower, forms a generous clump of solid herbaceous stems, with a somewhat loose bearing, which is covered from summer to autumn, more or less late depending on the region, with large pale yellow daisies. Vigorous, luminous, yet never invasive, it supports all climates, all soils, and requires only the sun to blossom.
Baby Sunflower belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is in the West of the United States, in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico, that this plant finds its origin. There, it grows in wet meadows, pine or oak forests at an altitude between 1400 and 4000 meters. This large perennial grows from a non-tracing woody stump with a taproot. It spreads out slowly to form a tuft 2 to 6 ft high (depending on growing conditions) for 2 ft wide, consisting of erect and straight stems. The flowering lasts approximately one month, it takes place from June to October depending on the region.
The simple flowers are long stalked, leaning down, they measure approximately 4 inches in diameter, pale yellow very luminous. The central disc is darker and measures 2 to 2 inches in diameter. The deciduous foliage, dark green, is carried by unbranched stems. The leaves are opposite, elliptical, lanceolate, pointed and can measure up to 20 inches long, with 5 clearly visible veins. The basal leaves are long stalked, the stem leaves are stalkless. The foliage takes on a lovely glowing red color in the fall.
When to sow annual baby sunflower seeds?
Annual baby sunflower seeds are sown outdoors from the end of April to mid-June, when there is no risk of frost and the ground is warmed up, or from March to May under cover. Don’t hesitate to mix the different varieties together to create warm and colorful pictures. If all the conditions are met, it will take about 3 months between sowing and the beginning of flowering of the baby sunflowers.
Planting the baby sunflower
Very close to the suns, baby sunflower is an imposing perennial very rustic. It likes heavy and cool soils, half-shade but also dry soils and warm situations. In these different situations, only its size varies. Like all plants with taproots, it does not like to be moved.
It can be easily reseeded in the garden, it will be preferable to prune the flowering inflorescences if you want to avoid spontaneous sowing. Fold down the tuft at the end of flowering.
Baby Sunflower watering and fertilizing
Water the baby sunflower seedlings well and then at least once a week while the plant is growing. Avoid wetting the foliage and mulch well in case of strong heat. If the soil has been well enriched at sowing, it is not necessary to add fertilizer during the growth of the baby sunflower.
Baby Sunflower care and maintenance
Once well established in the sun and in well-drained soil, baby sunflower or Garden Sun grows without much care.
A minimum of attention will however allow you to prolong the bloom.
If it likes the sun above all, the baby sunflower in pot as in full ground, fears on the other hand the drought.
It really needs to be watered regularly, but always without excess, when the soil is dry: never let the soil dry completely.
Mulch the plant during the summer to maintain sufficient freshness.
Remove wilted flowers as you go along to encourage the appearance of new ones.
Although robust, the stems do not require staking, however, the tallest varieties may have a tendency to collapse under the effect of the wind and especially under the weight of the buds which become heavier as the seeds mature: staking if necessary. At the end of the season, pull up the tufts of your annual baby sunflowers.
Diseases and pests, parasites
Baby Sunflowers can be victims of aphid attacks. If you first see white or light yellow spots on the leaves, it is probably mildew.
Baby Sunflower is an excellent perennial, very accommodating and very adaptable. It will be more or less large, will flower more or less early depending on the place or the geographical area where it grows, but always present. It is a plant which condemns you to succeed! In Normandy, its late bloom provides material for subtle associations with blue asters.
Plant this ‘small’ baby sunflower in company of large impetuous perennials, like Buenos Aires verbena, Aster turbinellus, bronze fennel, Cynara cardunculus, acanthus and Stipa gigantea in dry ground or with Angelica officinalis, large thalictrums, queen daisies, Miscanthus sinensis Sarabande or Solidago altissima in cooler soil.