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I want to put Mexican (Tithonia) sunflower seeds directly in the ground.

If they were regular sunflower seeds, I would sow ithem directly in the garden, and I would put twice as many seeds close together, because not all would actually develop into plants. Then I'd transplant some somewhere else, if some areas were too crowded.

However, a Mexican sunflower:

  • is a much wider plant than a regular sunflower
  • really dislikes transplanting

I have 30 seeds. What I am supposed to do? Any sunflower guru over there?

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So far as I'm aware, Tithonia varieties are no more sensitive to being transplanted than, say, Aquilegia or other plants that produce a tap root over time.

You've got a choice; you either sow them in seed trays, then prick them out and grow them on in small pots, planting out when they're big enough and all risk of frost is past, or, you sow them direct, thinly, and thin them out by removing excess seedlings. You could try transplanting these excess seedlings, but this will likely be less successful than pricking them out into pots from a seed tray. https://www.westcoastseeds.com/how-to-grow-guides/grow-tithonia/

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  • It's exactly as you say, transplanting was less successful than I have been hoping for. I grew a small batch of sunflowers in trays, then transplanted them. Only a few survived, although they were a 60 cm tall decorative variety and I would have expected them to not develop a prominent tap root. – Alina Nov 25 '17 at 20:02
  • @Alina - the trick is to either plant them out when they've got four to six true leaves (risky but that's well before the tap root gets going), or pot them up into something deep but fairly narrow...and not for too long – Bamboo Nov 25 '17 at 20:08

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