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I am growing sunflowers and they grow quite high, sometimes toppling over. What kind of support can I give to them in this case?

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I currently have a wobbly sunflower tied with twine to one of the tepees for pole-beans I built from some saplings I cut. We had 60mph+ winds during a storm this past weekend and that sunflower is still standing. The ends of the stakes are just pushed 6" or so into the loose soil.

I just tied on a bit of twine that I had laying around in the garden. The bug ugly knot in the back is where the tepee is lashed together. It's not terribly secure, but I'm not going to cry if we get hurricane-force winds this weekend and the worst that happens is my 7' tall sunflower falls down.

tied-up sunflower

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  • So you build a teepee next to the sunflower, and tied them with twine? Good idea...last year I tried to tied the sunflower with a metal stick inserted vertically in the soil, but the twine fell off sometimes. But if the sunflower grow bigger, your teepee can't hold the upper part of the sunflower anymore. – lamwaiman1988 Aug 25 '11 at 16:42
  • If you want to tie it in a few places, or build a taller tepee, that's ok. My sunflower stem is over 1" thick. The upper part isn't going to flop over without taking the whole thing down with it. I don't normally fuss too much about sunflowers. They are already somewhat sheltered from prevailing winds, and if we get strong winds that take them out then my attitude is c'est la vie... – bstpierre Aug 25 '11 at 17:00
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I find that little bamboo stakes do nothing. You need a serious stake: 1/2" to 1" diameter and anywhere from 5' to 7' tall. Tie the sunflower at several points along the stem. to reduce point stress.

All this will do nothing if you have squirrels around who think nothing of hanging off the seed head. Damage from gale force winds cannot be prevented either.

Another approach is to trim the plant during the growing season of the side shoots which can add considerable weight to the plant.

Planting a smaller cultivar is also quite successful

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