Sunflower maximiliani Early Bird
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Multiple flowers per stem coupled with a gorgeous chocolatey scent makes this perennial Sunflower ‘Early Bird’ extra special. Ideal for the back or the middle of a border and best planted in groups where its upright stems and slender habit gives a lovely airy appeal as well as bringing a long season of mid-height interest. A breakthrough from T&M's own breeding programme, flowering earlier and for longer than other Helianthus maximiliani varieties, this hardy perennial variety will also return each year, gradually forming bigger and more impressive clumps each time. Height: 75-100cm (30-39”). Spread: 50cm (20”).
Direct sow Sunflower seeds outdoors where they are to grow from April to May. Choose a position in full sun on well drained soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Sow seeds thinly, at a depth of 2cm (3/4") in drills spaced 30cm (12") apart and cover seed with its own depth of soil to exclude light. Water the ground regularly, especially during dry periods. Germination usually takes up to 20-30 days. When sunflower seedlings are large enough to handle, thin them out to 23cm (9") apart.
Alternatively, sow indoors in individual 7.5cm (3") pots from March to April at a temperature of 18-21C (65-70F). Once germinated, grow sunflower plants on in cooler conditions until large enough to plant outdoors after all risk of frost has passed.