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Who doesn't love this distinct and native annual plant? With its large, daisy-like flower and heat tolerance, it’s become a summertime staple for good reason. And that’s not even to mention its pest resistance and growth potential.

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Sunflowers are best planted directly outdoors (either into your garden or in an outdoor container) in a directly sunny spot that gets a lot of rays. Just wait until your soil has warmed to 50 degrees before getting started (this will most likely line up with April to mid-July in NC). Otherwise, you risk spring frost setbacks. 

Your soil is best if it’s well-draining and not overly compact. Early on, water around the root zone. Once it begins to grow, water and feed heavily but sparingly. They will reach peak maturity and full bloom in about 80-95 days. From here, continue with about an inch of water per week.

There are actually more color variants than you may expect. Red, orange, maroon and brown are all possible besides the classic yellow. In addition, you can choose between stem variations, different heights (there’s an incredible range here: from inches to 10-plus feet) and even if seeds will be edible. 

Popular types include the aptly-named mammoths, the distinctly fuzzy teddy bears and the multi-flowerhead perennials.

During the daytime, sunflowers actually turn their flowers to follow the sun across the sky. At night, they’ll set themselves back to be facing east to start the whole process again the next day. This is known as being heliotropic, which is not just unique to sunflowers.