Chocolate Cherry Sunflower
Chocolate Cherry sunflowers grow with branching stalks and multiple blooms of gorgeous, velvety, deep-burgundy petals surrounding a chocolatey brown center. These make a stunning backdrop to flower beds or fence lines. Chocolate Cherry sunflowers have long stems and they make great cut flower arrangements.
Keep them deadheaded until the end of the season. If you deadhead your sunflowers, they will keep pumping out new blossoms in their will to create seeds and more sunflowers. Don’t cut the stalk way back, the next sunflower often forms just inches from the place you deadheaded. Chocolate Cherry sunflowers are tall and may shade other plants, so plant in the back or on the North side of a flower or garden bed.
Leave the very last batch of spent flowers for the birds and for next year’s flowers. When it seems like the sunflowers are slowing down, leave the last set of flower heads on the plant for the birds. Even if it is a little ugly going into Fall, birds like the seed heads right on the plant. Little finches especially like to sit on top of the old brown seed head and bend over and pluck seeds out.
Color: 5–8-inch blooms with velvety-burgundy petals with chocolate centers
Height: 6 – 7′
Seeds/lb.: 13,000, (800/oz)
Bloom time: Midsummer to fall
Seeding rates for sunflowers:
If you are planning to grow a plot of sunflower plants and not just a decorative patch, you will need to consider the size of the individual plants and plant the seed accordingly. For a generic sized sunflower plant, plan on a seeding rate of 15,000 – 25,000 plants/ acre. That is around 3-4 lbs of seed/acre. (Plant the giant sunflower plants such as Grey Stripe and Black Russian farther apart.)
If you aren’t going as large as a whole acre, that breaks down to around 625 plants/ 1,000 sq feet, about 2 oz of seed. Increase this amount if you plan to plant thicker and thin down to the strongest plant.
Planting sunflowers closer together will result in smaller flowers, farther apart fewer larger flowers. Plant no more than 1 inch deep into loose, fertile soil, in the direct sun after the danger of frost is past when the soil temperatures are around 55 – 60 deg. Plant about 12 inches apart in rows about 30 inches apart. Ideally thin the weakest plants until you have 1 plant per 2-3 sq ft.
For more information about planting wildflowers, check out this post.