A spectacular trio of bird-friendly flowers, guaranteed to bring wild birds flocking to snack on the plentiful seeds.
Gently remove the plastic wrapping and place the Growbar with the protective paper facing upwards in a container which has plenty of space so it can expand; a takeaway food tray is ideal.
Pour half a litre of water into the tray and position the Growbar indoors on a warm, bright windowsill. The seeds will need to be a cosy 18-22’C to germinate.
When the Growbar is nearly dry, gently pour water into the base the tray, not directly onto the bar as it may crumble. You can be sure your Growbar is perfectly moist if it remains the colour of a rich dark ginger cake!
After a few weeks you should have a bar neatly dotted with little seedlings. These will be happy growing together in the bar for a further month in their sunny location.
When the seedlings have produced 4-8 leaves you can then gently separate them, being careful not to damage the delicate roots, and plant them in a sunny weed-free spot in the garden. Plants grown in the ground with plenty of space and sunlight will flower most impressively, but it is possible to grow the seedlings in large containers on the balcony or patio.
Sunflowers and cornflowers are annuals but don’t prune off the dead flowers as birds will enjoy eating the seeds from dead flower heads. Keep them on throughout winter for as long as possible as they offer a good source of food for hungry birds. When spring appears, cut back the Echinops so they flower plentiful in the summer.
How to identify your seedlings:
Cornflower seedlings have long, slightly silvery leaves. Cornflower likes moist soil during spring and summer which helps prolong flowering. Dead flower heads can be removed to encourage flowering in autumn.
Echinops seedlings will have a pair of pale strap like leaves.
Sunflower seedlings have oval-shaped and slightly hairy leaves. Sunflowers like full sun and may need support.