The Ruby Eclipse sunflower is among the more colorful varieties, producing blooms ranging in color from a subtle dusty rose to a stunning ruby red, punctuated by creamy tones at the end of each flower.
The Ruby Eclipse sunflower is a branched plant, and cutting flowers from its side branches leaves you with stems that are just the right size for assembling bouquets.
Read on to learn more about the Ruby Eclipse sunflower, including how to add it to your home landscape.
Characteristics of the Ruby Eclipse Sunflower
Touted in some places as the only sunflower to sometimes display pink on its petals, the more typically dark red blooms of the Ruby Eclipse sunflower can reach as wide as 10 inches in diameter. Reaching maturity in about two months, Ruby Eclipse blooms appear on a branching plant that is very productive.
The Ruby Eclipse brings a great splash of color to the outdoor garden, and its size — it can grow as high as 8 feet — makes it a great choice for screening problematic areas of your landscape.
More Attributes of the Ruby Eclipse Sunflower
Also, the seeds of this sunflower are particularly attractive to birds, bees, and butterflies, bringing them into your natural landscape.
The Ruby Eclipse also is pollen-free, making it a great choice for indoor flower arranging, since there is no worry about pollen getting shaken off the flower and onto furniture. And, being pollen-free means the Ruby Eclipse can be enjoyed by people with allergies.
Growing Your Own Ruby Eclipse Sunflowers
Ruby Eclipse sunflowers are among the easiest sunflowers to grow and are even suitable for children to tend as the first adventure in flower gardening.
While sunflowers like the Ruby Eclipse may be available as starter plants, it is best to grow them from seed sown directly into your home landscape.
When to Plant Ruby Eclipse Sunflowers
Sunflower seeds should be planted after the danger of frost has passed and when the soil temperature is 60 degrees. Soil temperature sensors are available online on multiple websites.
Seeds should be planted no more than an inch deep, about six inches apart. When the seedlings reach about six inches, thin them to at least a foot apart. Some recommendations call for Ruby Eclipse sunflowers to be grown about 18 inches apart.
For a prolonged sunflower season, stagger the planting of your Ruby Eclipse seeds, adding a new row every two or three weeks. That way, you’ll have sunflowers blooming until next year’s first frost.
More Details on Planting Ruby Eclipse Sunflowers
In general, sunflowers like the Ruby Eclipse are considered to be “medium” users of water, meaning they need about an inch of water each week.
Sunflowers grow best in soil that is acidic to neutral. For best results, enrich the soil where you plan to place your Ruby Eclipse sunflowers with a couple of inches of mixed-in compost. You might also consider a single application of low-nitrogen fertilizer.
As a final tip, wait until the flowers are fully opened before cutting them for use in bouquets or other decorative efforts.
Caring for Ruby Eclipse Sunflowers
As a general rule for keeping your Ruby Eclipse sunflowers free from pests and diseases, ensure they remain spaced a good distance apart to allow for adequate air circulation.
Another general rule for keeping pests and diseases away from the sunflowers in your home landscape is to remove any plant material remaining after the growing season and to rotate the location of your sunflowers each year.
Slugs and snails are among the most prevalent pests threatening the Ruby Eclipse sunflower. While they routinely feed on decomposing plants, fungi, and soil, slugs and snails can also feed on living plants.
If you see any irregularly shaped holes, either at the edges or in the center of your sunflower plant’s leaves, you may have an infestation of slugs or snails.
To address infestation by slugs or snails, you can try simply laying a piece of cardboard on the ground in your sunflower patch. Slugs and snails will use the shade under the cardboard as a respite from the heat of the day, and you can then simply lift up the cardboard and dispose of them.
In addition to pests, sunflowers — including the Ruby Eclipse — are subject to a number of diseases. Among the diseases, you might find on your sunflowers are stem canker, gray mold, and powdery mildew.
Stem canker, characterized by brownish sores on sunflower stems that eventually kill the plant, is most often found in hot and humid areas. Heavy-duty fungicides, and even garlic-based garden spray, have been used to treat stem canker, but destroying the plants by burning is the best way to stop stem canker.
Gray mold, which also shows up in hot and humid areas, can be treated with sprays using either diluted apple cider vinegar or aspirin. Interestingly, gray mold can be prevented by soaking sunflower seeds in garlic water before planting.
Powdery mildew will look like a dusting of powdered sugar. To treat it, spray your sunflowers with apple cider vinegar or aspirin spray, and clear the area around the plants.
Using Ruby Eclipse Sunflowers in Home Decor
To ensure you’re making the most of these sunflowers in your home decor, make sure to cut any that you plan to use in an indoor arrangement early in the morning. Cutting them later in the day can cause the blooms to wilt prematurely.
You should also handle your sunflowers very carefully, to keep petals from falling off as you arrange them. You can expect your cut sunflowers to last for about a week in water.
As a bonus tip, cutting the main stem of the plant before it has flowered will encourage the formation of more buds along its side stalks, meaning more flowers available to harvest for interior display.
Where to Buy Ruby Eclipse Sunflower Seeds
Ruby Eclipse sunflower seeds are available online from websites such as Amazon, and as always, check with your local nursery or garden supply store to see if you can find them close to home.
Also, if a friend or neighbor is growing these sunflowers, you might arrange to get some seeds as their plants are near the end of the growing season.
Wrapping up the Ruby Eclipse Sunflower
We hope this post has taught you something about the Ruby Eclipse sunflower and has maybe prompted you to plant them around your home. Check out our sunflower page to keep learning about sunflowers!