Sunflowers are so easy to grow they are the perfect starter plant for your kiddos who are looking to get into the garden. By creating a backyard sunflower house your kiddos will get to enjoy the flowers that they grew all season. And if they save the seeds they can create another house for years to come!!
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Notes Before You Start Your Backyard Sunflower House
- It takes between 7 and 12 weeks for your sunflowers to grow up nice and tall.
- You need to plant sunflowers that will grow to be at least 6 feet tall. Check out this post on different sunflower varieties to give you some ideas.
- You also need good spot that’s flat and full sun (6-8 hours of direct sun a day) with normal, moist soil that drains well.
Begin by picking out a good spot to grow sunflowers. Sunflowers grow best in full sun and prefer moist but well-drained soil. Your sunflower house can be any size or shape you want it to be, but a good start is to plant one covering an area that is 4′ x 4′.
Next, create the house outline by sprinkling flour on the ground to mark the perimeter of the house where the sunflower “walls” will grow. With a shovel, make a trench along the marked perimeter. Clear the weeds and grass in a 6- to 12-inch wide area along this perimeter line to form a planting bed. Dig down about a foot to loosen the soil. Leave an un-dug portion on the perimeter; this will be a doorway. Make sure that it’s wide enough to walk through (about 2-feet wide). Clear any weeds, grass, and rocks from inside the perimeter. You can always place flattened cardboard inside the marked area, and then cover the cardboard with mulch or seedless straw.
Plant the sunflower seeds 6 inches apart and 1 inch deep. For thick “walls,” plant two rows of seeds. Leaving about 1 foot between rows, plant the second row of seeds between the seeds in the first row.
Water your seeds and keep the soil moist, especially while the baby plants are young. Once your plants are older, they will grow deep roots and be able to handle drier conditions.
Once the plants have a few sets of leaves, gently place mulch around them to help keep the weeds and grass from growing back and competing with your sunflowers.
Depending on the variety of sunflower you planted, plants will begin to produce flowers in 7 to 12 weeks.
Time to play! Let your kids decorate and furnish the house by adding a stone doorstop or maybe chairs and a table for visiting with friends. Let them explore and play in the house during outdoor time.
For a roof, plant morning glory seeds among the sunflower seeds! As the plants grow, the morning glories will climb the sunflower stalks. When the sunflowers start to bud, tie string or twine to the sunflower stems and across the top. The morning glories will follow the string, creating a roof on the tower.
Plant corn as a companion plant, interspersed with the sunflowers.
Plant a carpet of white clover inside the house to create a soft “carpet.”
Sometimes it’s fun to “decorate” the sunflower house. Add a stone doorstep or perhaps a couple small chairs for a fairy tea.
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Getting Your Kids Involved-
This project was inspired by a book (Sunflower House by Eve Bunting) that I read with my kindergarteners in the classroom and one that I read with my kiddos. It is a great way to show your kids what their sunflower house could look like.