Many plants and flora, including sunflowers, thrive in Virginia, thanks to its humid, subtropical climate!
Because of this, there is no doubt why there are over 20 sunflower fields in the state, where people can take photos and enjoy the look of these bright and shining blossoms.
If you want to create your own small sunflower garden, plant them in April and May, and read here to learn more about when to plant sunflowers in Virginia for successful growth!
Table of Contents
Best Time to Plant Sunflowers in Virginia
1. Plant sunflowers outdoors in April and May, two weeks after the last frost
Sunflowers are heat-loving plants that develop well in mild climates. For this reason, growers in Virginia should wait until springtime when temperatures are warm to plant them, specifically, while the danger of frost is no longer present.
Ideally, the good time to plant them is two weeks after the final expected frost in the state. That is because sunflowers need warm soil of around 60-70℉ to germinate, and springtime ground that is warming up is perfect for their needs.
Sunflowers are sensitive to cool temperatures. And that is the reason we must avoid the cold period and know what month to plant them in the fall, as the first frost dates vary depending on where you live in the state.
Growing sunflowers too late will make it harder for them to have healthy development. In the worst-case scenario, exposure to sudden bursts of frigid temperatures before maturity may lead to their death.
Here’s a table of the last and first frost dates for different locations in Virginia, which you can refer to for proper planting time.
|Location||Last frost date||First frost date|
|Bristol||April 28||October 15|
|Chester||April 7||October 30|
|Richmond||April 9||October 31|
|Suffolk||April 1||November 9|
For those pondering “how late can you plant sunflowers?” successful growth is more possible if you choose quick-maturing varieties like Teddy Bear, which only needs 65 days to mature. What you need to do is to count 65 days backward from the date of your first frost.
For example, if you live in Richmond, you should plant sunflowers on August 27, since your first frost is October 31.
2. Plant indoors from February through April, four weeks before the final frost
An alternative time to grow sunflowers in Virginia is before the last frost date. This timeframe will give you a head start for an early sunflower bloom, especially if you plan to grow tall varieties.
Titan and Pike’s Peak sunflowers are examples of tall varieties that need about 100-110 days to grow. Since they require a long period to mature, planting them early is necessary.
The best time to grow them indoors is four weeks before your region’s last frost date. Therefore, start seeds inside your home on April 2 if you live in zone 5. But if you live in zone 8, grow them as early as February 28.
|Zone number||Last Frost Date|
|Zone 5||April 30|
|Zone 6||April 21|
|Zone 7||April 3|
|Zone 8||March 28|
To ensure that they thrive indoors, the trick is to place seeds in pots or trays with starting soil. Let them grow under warm lights or near a window, and keep them hydrated but not drenched with water.
You can transfer sunflowers to their new environment outdoors once true foliage emerges.
Tips for Planting Sunflowers Successfully in Virginia
- Plant them in soil with adequate drainage, since sunflowers have long roots that grow vertically. Good ground will help relay water and nutrients for quick growth.
- When planting in pots, pick small dwarf varieties with heights up to three feet at most.
- Sunflowers like acidic soil. Therefore, put them in a soil pH of 6.0 – 7.5 with organic matter applied to the ground. They will add nutrients that help produce lots of blooms.
- Planting sunflowers along the fence is crucial when you grow tall varieties. Fences will keep them firm against strong winds and support their heavy weight. Wooden stakes are one of the best foundations to keep sunflowers upright.
- Prepare a location where they can get 6-8 hours of sunlight, and sow sunflower seeds at a depth of 1 inch, with a distance of 6 inches between them.
- Continuously sow seeds every two weeks to have constant blooms before the chilly period starts if you prefer having a garden full of sunflowers.
- Water plants four times per month and keep them hydrated during dry spells.
- After the blooming season, you may want to save up the seeds from the flower heads for the next growing period. To keep animals like birds from picking them up, cover them with paper bags.
We can say many positive things about sunflower plants. Not only do they bloom very attractively, but they are also easy to grow! They only need warm temperatures in the spring to stay healthy.
Whether you choose to sow short or tall varieties, place them somewhere where they can get sufficient sunlight. However, if you opt to grow tall sunflowers, ensure to use stakes to support them.
I hope you learned a lot about when to plant sunflowers in Virginia, which will lead you to sow them at the proper time.
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