1
point
One of the sunflowers started drooping today, missed watering.

Sunflower    Karachi, Pakistan

I couldn't water the plants today in the usual afternoon time. I decided I wouldn't be a problem as I've watered in the evening on the missed days. But today i found of the sunflowers drooping. The taller plant is fine but the shorter one is drooping from the top. I tried bending it up to check but its hardened with the bend. I am guessing that they've had competition over water today and so the shorter one was deprived of the water. I watered two times about a liter each time, but its been hours now and I don't see any difference. Usually before the flowering when the sun would be harsh and the leaves would go scrawny, just an hour after watering again I could see the improvement but with this drooping today I don't see the changes after watering.

What could be the problem here?


Posted by: Naveed (6 points) Naveed
Posted: November 15, 2014




Answers

1
point
Hi Naveed,

Sometimes this happens with sunflowers as they bloom and their seeds develop because the flower head becomes too heavy for the stalk to support. When the plant doesn't have enough water, it can't keep the stalks "stiff" with water pressure, and you will see drooping like this that is not reversible with re-watering alone because of the weight of the flower head. I see that you are growing them next to a low overhanging roof. If possible, you could suspend a thin piece of twine (string) from the roof and tie it just below the flower head to hold up the head and encourage it to grow straight as it recovers. You could also try to use a very tall bamboo stake pushed all the way down in the pot and running along the length of the stalk (tie the stalk to it at a few places), but I think a short string support from the roof would be a better bet for making it stand tall again.


Posted by: Kerry Mauck (58 points) Kerry Mauck
Posted: November 16, 2014


Naveed commented,
Thanks for the advice Kerry! This started happening to the other sunflower too after a couple of days and I did not miss watering so it has to be the fact that without support the heads got too heavy for the plants to hold up themselves [I have uploaded photos in my plant journal]. I also read that normally sunflowers have a lifespan of 3.5 months then the whole plant dies. I'm not sure about the sunflower kind I have the seeds for but I have a question; suppose the plant dies in the coming weeks after developing seeds, will I be able to plant new seeds in the same soil with the old roots? Or should I dispose of this soil and start fresh?

Another question is regarding the difference in the two flowers, if you check in my plant journal, one sunflower is forming what seem to be seeds where as the other doesn't and has this yellow pollens. Is that a male vs female difference I am seeing? I'm not too knowledgable with plant biology.

about 6 years ago.

Kerry Mauck commented,
Hi Naveed. Generally it is best to avoid planting the same thing twice in one pot or plot of soil. Diseases and pests may be present that can do damage to young seedlings. Your soil may also be lacking in the nutrients that the young sunflowers will need. If you want to reuse the soil, make sure you add some compost and then you can plant something that is very different from sunflowers (something that is not in the family Asteraceae).

As for your second question, sunflowers are actually composites of many flowers. The center of the sunflower head has tiny flowers called disk flowers and the big outer "petals" are another kind of flower called "ray flowers". Here is a website that has some nice photos to illustrate what I mean
http://ohioplants.org/families-astera...
The disk flowers of sunflowers should have both male (pollen making) and female (seed making) parts, so you should just wait and watch and both your sunflowers should produce seeds in the disk part of the head. They will start out small and get larger over a couple if weeks. As the plant matures and eventually dies, the seeds will dry on the head. Watch out because at this point they are very tasty to birds and other seed eaters.

about 6 years ago.

Naveed commented,
Quite intriguing. I will study further about asteraceae. Thanks Kerry. Could you also look into my journal for the recent photos and tell when will the seeds be forming. After the bees came around, last seen 4 days ago and pollinated the flowers, a few petals started falling and now the petals are drying up. I was wondering when the flowers will be fully forming the seeds.
almost 6 years ago.

Kerry Mauck commented,
Glad the information was helpful. I took a look at your photo and it looks like the seeds are already forming. Usually the entire inflorescence (the "head") starts to turn brown around the time the seeds are mature. To help you out I looked around for some pictures online that show you what I mean and I came across this site that shows you the dried head and how it looks, and also how to harvest the dried seeds if you want to eat them yourself.
http://texasbutterflyranch.com/2012/0...

Good luck with the rest of the sunflower experience!

almost 6 years ago.



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