About Maximilian's Sunflower: Sunflowers were named for their habit of turning their faces to the sun. At the beginning of the development they exhibit heliotropism, or following the sun in its course from east to west, though the mature blossoms usually end up facing straight east. These are said to be the happiest of flowers, and in the language of flowers they symbolize loyalty and constancy. This particular sunflower’s name honors German Prince Alexander Maximilian of Wied-Nuewied, a noted explorer and naturalist whose journeys took him to the western regions of America in the 1830s.
Maximilian's Sunflower Germination: Direct sow in late fall, planting the seeds ˝” deep. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 30 days before direct sowing. To start indoors, sow seeds in a flat or individual peat pots, keeping the soil lightly moist and at a temperature of 65-70 degrees F until germination, which usually occurs within 10-20 days. Keep the seedlings moist. When the weather has warmed and the seedlings are well established, transplant outdoors. This plant adapts well to clay, rocky, or shallow soil.
Growing Maximilian's Sunflower Seeds: This plant tolerates drought, though it flourishes with regular moisture. It spreads by rhizomes and can be aggressive, especially in moist or rich soil. Deadhead the flowers for prolonged blooming. Plants growing in partial shade or moist soil will reach taller than usual heights, and may need staking or support. This plant attracts bees and butterflies.
Harvesting Maximilian's Sunflower: For fresh flowers, cut long stems of flowers that have just opened and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.
Saving Maximilian's Sunflower Seeds: After their petals drop off, the centers of the flowers will darken and develop tight clusters of seed. Harvest the seed as soon as it ripens, since small birds love to eat it. Cut the heads and spread them out to dry for several days. Thresh the dried heads to separate the seed from the chaff. Store the cleaned seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Maximilian's Sunflower Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Prairie Sunflower Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Fall Height: 6-8 feet Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 4a-10b Seeds Per Oz: 11,500 Produces narrow, rough leaves and 3-4" yellow flowers with centers that mature from green to brown.