1
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Sunflowers Concerns: Current pot sizes and future home, the lawn

Sunflower    Karachi, Pakistan

I started my first sunflower last August with seeds in a paper cup that thrived pretty well and I changed the pots 2 times (I have documented this in my plant journal). A couple of weeks ago I started new seeds in the paper towel method and moved them to paper cups. But after watching many Youtube videos I have a concern for their initial development as I not only used smaller paper cups compared to what I saw in the videos, but I also planted the seeds from the paper towel with not much soil as evident in my journals and the photo. My goal is to transfer all 14 of these to the lawn outside (photo attached) without any re-potting in between but directly from these paper cups after they grow a little more to be able to withstand the transplantation shock and pests.

I don't want to invest much into 14 of larger pots as currently my only options would be cutting plastic water bottles half way through and moving the seedlings from the paper cups to those OR, collecting more paper cups (perhaps a bit larger in size) and transplanting the seedlings with enough soil so the soil is just a little more than half an inch below and rim of the cup. Also, I have not created any drain holes as I did the first time I grew sunflowers, the reason being nutrients drainage and the reason that paper cups get soggy if the outer wax is cut and the drain holes end up closing anyways and the sogginess have attracted white paper bugs. Further more I am prone to use paper cups as it is easier to cut them on the side with scissors making removing the plant with soil easier. Any suggestions on re-potting would be great which Is my primary concern at the moment.

Moving on to the lawn, as I said my plan is to plant these sunflowers in the lawn but there seems to be grass outside which is not any special kind just weed. My plan is to divide the lawn into two lengthier halves and so there is walking space on the left side and sunflowers on the right in 7 rows, next to the boundary wall. I read that sunflowers plant when matured enough can out-compete the grass for nutrients however I have sprinkled some old sunflower seeds cut in half to prevent germination, but for the purpose that I read about online that sunflower seed shells are toxic to grass. Am I good to go ahead and replant in my lawn in the coming weeks?


Posted by: Naveed (6 points) Naveed
Posted: January 17, 2015




Answers

0
points
You could try to add more soil to the cups that the seedlings are currently in. They look an ok size to me, just with too little soil to support a growing sunflower. If you have an extra cup then what I would do would be to fill that with a greater amount of soil and then very gently transplant one of the seedlings into it. The seedlings will be very delicate. Perhaps you could transplant 2 or 3 to begin and watch them for a few days to make sure they survive before you transplant the rest. Not having any drainage holes is not ideal but if you are very careful not to saturate the soil when watering then you may get away with it.

You are correct in what you say about sunflowers being toxic to other plants. They possess chemicals in the shells of the seeds as well as in the leaves and roots which inhibit the growth of some other plants (this is a plant defense mechanism called allelopathy). Some plants are more sensitive to sunflowers than others. Have you noticed any effect on the grass where you have put the shells?

I planted sunflowers last year in an area along a fence which had previously been grass. I cut out a strip of the grass to make a bed and I added compost to the soil before planting. The plants grew very well all summer. Are you going to lift the grass before planting?



Posted by: Lindsay McMenemy (2 points) Lindsay McMenemy
Posted: January 19, 2015


Naveed commented,
Thanks for the response and encouragement Lindsay. You are right, transplanting them would to bigger paper cups with topped off soil should be a good idea so by the time the roots reach the bottom the plant is mature enough to adjust in the lawn outside. And the convenience with paper cups is that I can cut them with scissors and remove the cup without affecting the molded soil with the plant [see here http://bit.ly/1uijnBr & http://bit.ly/1Gk0Xe1] and transplant it.

As for the grass, I haven't noticed any change yet, I will closely observe tomorrow, I just couldn't evenly spread the little seed shells into the vast area of the lawn compared to the little I could collect. Actually, yesterday I came up with plan B, I took the packet of lots of leftover seeds from the health store I originally got the seeds from, ground them up in the miller and what I am thinking next is that I'll use it as compost when transplanting the sunflowers into holes, this way, the sunflower could use the compost and the ground up seeds shells will inhibit the growth of the surrounding grass allowing the sunflowers to flourish. Hoping this will work.

Lastly, no, I will not be lifting the grass before planting, I think I'll just manage to dig holes bit deeper than the dimensions of soil in the paper cups so as to add some ground leafs and twigs from previous sunflower plants as compost. I have some old ground coffee beans too to mix in as greens with the browns.

almost 6 years ago.

Lindsay McMenemy commented,
Sounds good. Let us know how your experiment with the ground seeds goes!
almost 6 years ago.

Naveed commented,
Yes of course. I'll keep documenting that in my plant journal.

By the way, should I stick to my plan B and plant them out now, or should I put in effort and do as you suggested into transplant to larger cups first?

almost 6 years ago.

Lindsay McMenemy commented,
It's hard to say, if you plant them out you should harden them off first. They will not be used to the heat and strong sun (correct me if I am wrong). Again. to be safe you could try it first with a couple of plants and if they do well go ahead and plant them all out.
almost 6 years ago.

Naveed commented,
Thanks Lindsay. At this point some seem to be really small and haven't fully pushed out of the soil. Only a couple have shaken off the seed shells and forming first leaves. I think I should wait just a little longer and transplant them to larger paper cups first.

Could you give tips how to harden sunflowers? I have a gut feeling on how to harden them and could improvise and read up in detail but what can I immediately start doing?

almost 6 years ago.

Lindsay McMenemy commented,
yes, if they are so small then i think that transplanting into larger pots might be the best thing to do. Hardening is not difficult. All you have to do is start taking the seedlings outside for increasingly longer periods of time prior to planting. Here is a detailed post I wrote a while back that should help - good luck!

https://www.plantvillage.com/posts/64...

almost 6 years ago.

Naveed commented,
Oh outside. They have been outside ever seen I planted them from the damp paper towel after sprouting, and never brought in since. As they are a little lower in the cups they don't get directly hit by the sun but they still are getting pretty much enough sun. Earlier I have even put them on the ground [I keep them on the window frame outside] and at that level they've been exposed to full sun already. So sun is not an issue. They're loving the sun already I can tell.

So is there more to hardening like tolerating pests and young plants such as mine being more prone to catching a disease? I have seen some grass hoppers jump around in the lawn. Also, the coffee power I have should come in handy to ward off snails as I have read.

almost 6 years ago.



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