Updated/Fact-Chacked on April 19, 2023 by Gareth James
Are you a sunflower lover? If yes, you might be among the millions of other sunflower farmers who believe that sunflowers only have one head at a time. Sunflowers can have multiple heads, which come with many benefits.
But it is important to note that not every type of sunflower grows multiple heads, and that is what this article is all about. In this post, you will learn the various reasons why sunflowers grow multiple heads, the different sunflower varieties that grow multiple heads, how to grow sunflowers with multiple heads, and more.
Reasons Why Sunflowers Grow Multiple Heads
The reasons for sunflowers growing multiple heads can be varied. Some may be good reasons, but others could be a sign of trouble for your sunflowers. Understanding the various reasons why sunflowers grow multiple heads can help you with mitigation measures before you get into losses with your farming venture.
Some of the reasons why we have sunflowers with multiple heads include the following;
Use of Excessive Fertilizer
While it is common to have sunflowers grow a single head, it might be different if they are supplied with more nutrients. The use of too much fertilizer is among the reasons why we have sunflowers with multiple heads. Excess fertilisers supply more nutrients to the sunflower, making it more reproductive, which will manifest by the sunflower growing multiple heads.
Sunflower pests such as sunflower seed weevils and sunflower midges are another cause of multiple flower heads in sunflowers. These pests are known to feed on sunflower seeds and developing heads.
The destruction of the heads by these pests will often leave the heads damaged, thus lowering the productivity of your sunflower farm. But there are instances when this will lead to multiple flower heads. This usually happens if they eat the heads while at a tender age, thus giving the bud a chance to sprout into many heads.
Planting Sunflower Hybrid Seeds
How do you get hybrid sunflower seeds? This usually occurs when the wrong seed is put into the packet of sunflower seeds you want to plant. Hybrid sunflower seeds can be why you are witnessing multiple heads in your sunflower gardens.
To avoid the incidences of hybrid seeds, ensure you get quality seeds that the local agricultural authority has approved.
The sunflower seed species you choose can be why you have multi-headed sunflowers in your gardens. The normal single-headed sunflowers have one stem and don’t appear bushy. The multi-headed variety, on the other hand, is bushier with multiple stems and flowers.
Sunflower Varieties That Grow Multiple Heads
Not all growers are aware that the majority of the sunflower varieties are multi-headed. Studies show that most sunflowers grown can have as many as 20 heads per plant, making them more productive than the single-headed variety. Some of the most common multi-headed sunflower varieties include the following;
- King Kong Sunflowers
- Solar Flash Sunflowers
- Irish Eyes Sunflowers
- Alchemy Sunflowers
- Suntastic Yellow Sunflowers
- Hallo Sunflowers
- Choco Sun Sunflowers
- Wild Sunflowers
- Maximillian Prairie Sunflowers
How to Grow Sunflower With Multiple Heads
While there are many ways to grow multi-headed sunflowers, such as using hybrid seeds or excess fertilizers, these methods are usually unintentional. Hence, the success rate will be very low. However, you can intentionally turn your single-headed sunflowers into multi-headed ones by pinching their buds while young to encourage them to shoot more heads.
Adding more nutrients to the soil will be a big plus to your efforts as this will go a long way in ensuring that the pinched parts get the nutrients they need to shoot more heads.
Should I deadhead multi-headed sunflowers?
Deadheading multi-headed sunflowers is not necessary, as they naturally produce multiple blooms. However, you can remove wilted or spent flowers to maintain a neat appearance and potentially encourage further blooming.
What is the most heads on one sunflower?
The most heads on a single sunflower plant can vary, but some varieties have been reported to produce over 20 blooms. The Guinness World Record for the most sunflower heads on one plant is 837.
What are the sunflower seeds with big heads?
Sunflower seeds with big heads usually refer to the seeds of giant sunflower varieties, such as the ‘Russian Giant’ or ‘Mammoth’ sunflowers. These varieties can produce heads that measure up to 20 inches in diameter.
What is a cluster of sunflowers called?
A cluster of sunflowers is often referred to as an “inflorescence.” In the case of multi-headed sunflowers, each bloom is part of the larger inflorescence on the plant.
How many blooms are on a sunflower stalk?
The number of blooms on a sunflower stalk can vary depending on the variety and growing conditions. Single-headed sunflowers typically produce one large bloom, while multi-headed varieties can produce multiple smaller blooms on one stalk.
How long do sunflowers last for?
Sunflowers generally bloom for 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the variety and growing conditions. However, with proper care, they can last longer. After the blooms have faded, the seeds mature and can be harvested or left for birds to enjoy.
Can you overwater a sunflower?
Yes, overwatering can be harmful to sunflowers. They prefer well-drained soil and moderate moisture. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues, which may stunt growth or kill the plant. It is essential to balance providing enough water for growth and avoiding excessive moisture.
John Green is a 46-year-old graphic designer living in Durham. John is RHS level 3 certified and owns an allotment in Durham.