So you are happily growing a sunflower, expecting one giant flower head but then notice multiple flower heads budding and appearing on your plant. What exactly is going on? Why do you have a multi-headed sunflower?
So, what’s Going On?
Well, the truth is that you have probably inadvertently grown a multi-headed sunflower. There are lots of varieties that are multi-headed.
Your traditional giant sunflowers do not produce more than one flower, but lots of others do.
You could have even grown seed from a pack of giant sunflowers but there has been a mix-up and a different seed has been put in the pack, it does happen.
That is what has most probably happened, but there are also certain factors that can, very rarely, cause a regular giant sunflower to produce multiple flower heads.
Here is a multi-headed sunflower currently growing away on my allotment. The other flower heads haven’t quite opened yet but you can clearly see all of the flower buds.
What is very obvious about this too is that each head is on quite a long independent stem coming away from the main stem of the plant.
Now I have no idea what this sunflower is, I thought it was just going to be a regular giant sunflower so was pretty surprised when I saw multiple flower heads forming.
This seed was given to my daughter from her nursery as a fun activity for her to do so I really don’t know too much about it.
I must say that I do quite like it and if I was to grow sunflowers as a cut flower then this would definitely be a better choice over a standard giant sunflower.
I could get many more flowers off a plant like this and I imagine that the more I cut the more flowers the plant will produce.
Other differences I have found with this particular sunflower are its size and also appearance of the flower.
as you can tell from the above photo, this is far from what you would call a giant plant. It is probably somewhere in the region of 4ft tall.
And the flower head is quite different from what you would call a classic sunflower style. It isn’t as big, the centre isn’t black and there also aren’t as many petals, but it is still very much a sunflower.
Sunflower Varieties That Have Multiple Heads
So as I said earlier, there are just varieties of sunflower that naturally produce multiple heads rather than one massive singular head, here are a few of them.
Autumn Beauty is a stunning mix of warm earthen shades of large multi-headed 4 to 8-inch blossoms on 6-8’ strong stemmed plants.
Red Sun produces an abundance of 3 to 4 inch Deep Red flowers with intense black centres on strongly branched plants growing to 6ft with an 18″ spread.
A stunning branching variety which can reach a height of 140 cm, producing several branching stems with 2-6 smaller flowers on each stem.
Vanilla ice produces florist-quality blooms in large clusters of light yellow and cream flowers with deep chocolate eyes on plants 5-6′.
Growing From Your Own Seeds
This is another way that you can get multi-headed sunflowers. If you save the seed and grow new sunflowers from these seeds then you can get all sorts of exciting results.
This is because a lot of the giant single-headed sunflowers are hybrids and plants grown from the seed won’t grow true to type.
So the plants that are grown from seed won’t be replicas of the parent plant. You could end up with another single-headed giant sunflower but you are more likely to end up with one with multiple flower heads.
The big seed companies take lots of special steps to make sure that the hybrids they sell are only fertilised in a certain way so they remain the same as the parent plant. This is impossible when growing sunflowers out in your garden or allotment.
Multi-headed sunflower varieties do exist, if you are sure you were growing a single-headed giant sunflower variety then it is probably just a mix-up with the seed. Sunflowers grown from your own saved seed can also produce multi-headed sunflowers.