You may have always believed that sunflowers only grow one head at a time. But this isn’t the case! It’s entirely possible for sunflowers to grow multiple heads, and in actuality, there are some evolutionary advantages to this!
In this article, you’re going to find out all the different reasons sunflowers can grow multiple heads, what types of sunflowers have multiple heads, how to grow sunflowers with multiple heads, and whether it’s worth deadheading them or not.
So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
5 Reasons Your Sunflowers Are Growing Multiple Heads
There are a number of different reasons that your sunflowers may be growing multiple heads. Some of them are completely fine, where others could be a sign of trouble for your sunflowers. Here are the most common reasons!
Some Varieties Have More Than One Head
We’re all used to a sunflower only having one head. However, it’s actually a lot more common for sunflowers to have more than one head. While one-headed sunflowers normally have one stem, sunflowers with multiple heads appear a lot bushier.
In fact, the bushy, multi-headed varieties are actually a lot better at growing in containers than their counterparts, as they’re a dwarf variety.
Too Much Fertilizer
Another reason that your sunflowers may be growing more than one head is that you’re giving them too much fertilizer. Remember, the more sunflower heads a sunflower has, the better its chance of reproduction. So if your sunflower is receiving too much fertilizer, it may use the excess nutrients for growing multiple heads
Some sunflower pests such as sunflower seed weevils and sunflower midges are known to feed on developing seeds and heads. While a lot of the time this damage just results in the heads becoming damaged or malformed, in other cases, it can cause multiple heads to start growing instead.
Herbicide Drift/Chemical Residue
If chemical residue has been leftover from a previous year, or herbicides have drifted from one area of your garden to another, this can also cause a sunflower to have multiple heads. The herbicides and chemicals can cause sunflowers to grow in peculiar ways, which can sometimes make more than one head sprout.
A Hybrid Seed
And lastly, a hybrid seed could be the reason that your sunflower is growing multiple heads. This can often occur when the wrong seed gets placed in a packet of sunflower seeds.
Why Have Your Single-Headed Sunflowers Suddenly Become Multi-Headed
Sometimes you may have a once single-headed sunflower that has become multi-headed. This is actually completely normal, and once again, it’s because that gives the sunflower the best evolutionary chance of survival.
It’s most likely to happen when the original sunflower dies and drops its seeds. Once the seeds start to grow again they may grow multiple heads, even if they were once a single-headed variety.
What Types Of Sunflowers Have Multiple Heads?
There so many varieties of sunflower and believe it or not, a lot of them have multiple heads. In fact, just the standard wild sunflower can grow up to 20 heads per plant. Which is testament to just how much they can vary from plant to plant.
Here’s a list of common multi-headed sunflowers.
- King Kong Sunflowers
- Maximillian Prairie Sunflowers
- Alchemy Sunflowers
- Suntastic Yellow Sunflowers
- Hallo Sunflowers
- Choco Sun Sunflowers
- Wild Sunflowers
- Solar Flash Sunflowers
- Irish Eyes Sunflowers
How Do You Grow Multi-Headed Sunflowers?
Fortunately, multi-headed sunflowers don’t require any special treatment compared to their single-headed counterparts. However, if you want to grow more heads, it can help to pinch the middle when they’re younger to encourage them to shoot more than one useable stem. As well as making sure they’re getting enough nutrients in the soil.
Do You Deadhead Multi-Headed Sunflowers?
While it’s necessary to deadhead multi-headed sunflowers, if you do want your sunflower to just grow one large plant head, then it’s best to deadhead the rest of them. This way all of the nutrients is going to be given to just the one head, rather than split amongst a few.
Are Branching Sunflwers ‘Cut And Come Again’?
One of the greatest things about branching sunflowers is they are what is considered a true cut-and-come-again plant. They will keep growing a number of new heads, even when others are cut, and they also live a lot longer than one-headed sunflowers!
How Long Do Branching Sunflowers Bloom?
Branching sunflowers typically tend to live between 8-12 weeks. However, they’ll generally die when the first frost comes. The typical time frame for them to grow is between July – October.
Do You Need To Pinch Branching Sunflowers?
Branching sunflowers don’t need to be pinched, as they’ll generally grow on their own. However, to influence their shape better it is a good idea to pinch them. Just make sure you’re doing it once you’ve seen a set of at least 4-5 true leaves.
Now you can see that branching sunflowers are actually completely normal, and there’s actually a whole bunch of reasons it can occur. Not only this, you can even have a direct influence on the chances of your sunflowers branching or not!
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