Sunflowers are known for growing up to the sky, but the skyscraper sunflower is one variety that has the rest beat with its seriously impressive height.
The skyscraper sunflower is so tall it makes regular sunflowers look itty bitty. You won’t believe how gorgeous this flower is!
Keep reading to learn all about the skyscraper sunflower, how to grow it, and where to find it.
Skyscraper Sunflower Characteristics
Skyscraper sunflowers are an heirloom variety that definitely lives up to their name.
Stalks can grow to 14 feet tall, and the blooms get as big as 14 inches across with some growers achieving even taller stalks and bigger blooms.
Those giant stalks get very thick and sturdy to support the whole plant, sometimes getting as thick as 4 inches in diameter.
They have the classic sunflower look of bright golden yellow petals and a brown, orange, or green center. Dark green leaves grow up to 2 feet out from the stalk.
Another unique attribute of skyscraper sunflowers is that they have blooms branching off all the way up. They look bushier than other varieties that have a single tall stalk with one bloom at the top.
Like their relatives, they do a great job of attracting pollinators. They also have large, edible seeds that can be harvested after the blooms are spent.
Growing Your Own Skyscraper Sunflowers
Growing sunflowers is fun and easy, and skyscraper sunflowers are no different.
They work well as a border plant, along a fence, or as a way to dress up a plain section of your home or garage.
You can also plant them in an area where they’ll cover up a part of your property that’s unsightly or add shade for other plants.
When you look for the perfect spot to grow your huge sunflowers, make sure it’s an area with plenty of room and full sun.
These sunflowers are heat and drought-tolerant and tend to do very well in the warmer summer months.
You can sow the seeds directly into the soil or start them inside and transplant them once the seedlings are established.
They like loamy or sandy soil with good drainage. It helps to check the pH of your soil. Sunflowers prefer a pH reading between 6.0 and 6.8, so you’ll want to amend your soil to balance it out if it measures outside of that range.
Wait until the last frost of the season passes before you begin planting seeds or seedlings.
Gently push the seeds about an inch down into the soil, cover them lightly, and water them. Be careful not to overwater, but the seeds will need consistent moisture to sprout.
Once the seedlings reach about 4 inches tall, thin out the weaker plants to roughly 12 to 24 inches apart so they have adequate room to grow.
Watch out for wildlife that wants to nibble on your growing sunflowers as they pass by. If you know that deer and birds frequent your garden, consider adding row cover or netting for protection until they get a bit bigger.
Staking and Watering
When your skyscraper sunflowers are well-established, water them regularly and well. Setting up a drip irrigation system works well for keeping the flowers watered.
Add stakes for support as they start to get tall. If you planted them along a fence, you can use gardening twine to stabilize them against fence posts.
Skyscraper sunflowers take about 70 days to reach maturity, so don’t be long before you get to see those gargantuan bright yellow flowers.
You can leave them where they are and let them air dry if you don’t want to cut them
Leave the seeds for the birds to eat or save them for yourself. They’re edible and bigger than your average sunflower seeds, so they make a great healthy snack and can be roasted. Make sure you set some aside to grow next year.
If you do want to cut some to put in a vase, make sure you have a very clean, sharp knife or garden shears. The stalks can get very thick, so you’ll need the right tools to cut through them.
To keep your cut sunflowers fresh as long as possible, harvest them before the blooms open up. Make sure they have lots of water in the vase and that you change it out regularly.
Potential Problems to be Aware Of
Mildew and leaf spots can show up when flowers are too close together and don’t get enough airflow. Give them room and try to water just at the base of the stalk.
Be careful about areas that might get high winds. Stalks can get very strong, but they will need support to remain to stand and avoid wind damage. Plant them against a wind block, like a wall or shed, or stake them against a fence.
The large heads can also get very heavy and topple the plant, so adding a stake of some kind will give your skyscraper sunflowers the support they need. Regular watering throughout the season helps root systems grow strong for added stability.
Where to Find Skyscraper Sunflowers
We recommend Hoss Tools to get high-quality skyscraper sunflower seeds online for your home garden.
Fresh Cut Skyscraper Sunflowers
If you’re looking for fresh-cut sunflowers, this variety is not one you’re going to find in your average grocery store bouquet. Because of their size, you’re better off growing your own.
Check local farms, especially any that have apple orchards and pumpkin patches which often grow sunflowers, too. They might be growing them along borders or for shade.
If you have a florist nearby, ask if they can track down skyscraper sunflowers for you.
Skyscraper Sunflowers are Larger Than Life
Skyscraper sunflowers have everything their relatives do and then some, towering over other varieties.
You get lots of bang for your buck growing these enormous flowers. They can benefit your garden and landscaping if you want them to. Reward yourself with homegrown sunflower seeds at the end of it all.
If you’re intrigued by skyscraper sunflowers, don’t miss all the other amazing varieties on our Sunflower Page!