This time of year, sunflowers are starting to pop up all around Western New York.

I tried my hand at planting sunflowers from seed earlier in the spring. I got a few sprouts, and then a few weeks later, saw them die.

What You Need To Know

  • You'll see sunflowers thrive soon if you took the proper measures up until this point

  • My flowers died because I planted too early

  • Plants need six to eight hours of sunlight each day

  • The soil temperature must be above 50 degrees

I was annoyed at first because I spent a lot of time caring for these seedlings, looking forward to the end product! My next emotion was curiosity. What did I do wrong? I’m here now to answer that question so, in the future, you do not make the same mistakes that I did.

Sunflowers are very dependent on weather throughout their entire lifetime. When first planting, it is important to make sure the soil temperature is not below 50 degrees. You can figure that out by simply using a thermometer or by waiting a week after you think it’s finally warm enough outside. If you plant too early, you will likely see root rot or the seedlings die entirely. One frost is all it takes to kill the fragile flower!

Once planted, remember to keep your flower in a lot of sun. After all, that is what the plant is named after. Sunflowers do best with about six to eight hours of sunlight each day. With lots of sun and watering (make sure you have proper drainage), the flower should fully blossom between 60 and 100 days after planting.

But the dependency on weather doesn’t stop there. As sunflowers mature, they follow the path of the sun daily. Too much cloud cover over an extended period of time and the sunflowers will not thrive.

If you’re wondering when your sunflowers will reach maturity, the answer is soon! Sunflowers of Sanborn, a popular destination in Western New York for picture-taking with the beautiful golden bloom, opens on August 1. The season lasts into the early part of fall.

After looking into it, I’ve learned my lesson – wait longer to plant, have proper drainage and let the sun do its thing! I hope this helps you to avoid the same mistakes I made.

For more blogs on all things weather, follow Meteorologist Kaylee Wendt on Faceb​ookInstagram and Twitter.