Sunflower Challenge 2019

As the days get longer and the frosts subside, it’s time to start thinking about planting those seeds to take part in the WR Bettelley 2019 Sunflower Challenge

It’s that time of year again. The days are getting longer and hopefully we’ve seen the last of the frosts, which means we’re getting ready for our annual sunflower competition. We ran the contest for the first time last year, inviting local care homes to take on the challenge of growing the tallest sunflower. The competition produced some very impressive specimens of these popular annual plants, some of which can grow to over 11ft tall. Last year’s winners were the residents of Blacklake Lodge at Meir Heath with a sunflower that reached a whopping 9ft 2”! Could you beat this record?

Seeds can be started indoors or sown directly into the ground outdoors once the last frost has passed. Sunflowers grow best at temperatures above 18°C and usually take between 80 to 120 days to reach full maturity. You’ll need to choose a location that receives direct sun for most of the day as sunflowers grow best with six to eight hours of sunlight. An average quality, well-draining soil will be adequate for most sunflowers, and fertiliser should be applied sparingly, if at all. 

Young plants should be kept moist and protected from pests such as birds, squirrels and snails. Once the stem has formed and the root system has become well-established, water generously once a week, increasing the amount of water in dry weather conditions. Plants over 3 ft will need to be tied loosely to a stake using a cloth or other soft materials. 

For more information and to enter the competition please call us on 01782 313542 or email

Good luck to all of this year’s contestants!

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