Sunflowers are incredibly popular and strikingly beautiful, no matter the variety. Some varieties of sunflowers have multiple heads, as well!
Not every sunflower species will develop multiple heads, but many will naturally. Others may do so because of natural circumstances, like too much fertilizer or stem damage. For the most part, sunflowers with multiple heads are healthy, and there is nothing to worry about, but in some cases, multiple heads may be a sign that there is a factor in your garden that you’re not in control of.
Reasons Your Sunflower Has Multiple Heads
Although it looks a little strange and may surprise it, it’s completely normal to have a sunflower with multiple heads. There are a few reasons your sunflower might’ve developed various heads.
It May Be Natural
Some sunflower varieties naturally grow multiple heads. More often than not, a sunflower will develop an additional head because it gives the plant a better chance of survival evolutionarily.
Pest damage is a common reason that sunflowers develop multiple heads. If you suspect pest damage, it’s best to do something about it right away, as they may result in more obvious damage as time progresses.
Another reason your sunflower has multiple heads is that the flower is growing from a hybrid seed, or a seed that receives cross-fertilization (sometimes called controlled pollination).
Too Much Fertilizer
If you used a great deal of fertilizer while your plant was growing, you might have overstimulated it and allowed the flower to grow multiple heads. There may also be chemical residue left from previous years that can cause your sunflowers to develop in interesting ways.
Types of Sunflowers With Multiple Heads
You might be surprised to learn that there are many varieties of sunflowers that are capable of developing multiple heads. Some can grow up to 20 heads per plant! They include:
- Alchemy Sunflowers
- Choco Sun Sunflowers
- Wild Sunflowers
- Irish Eyes Sunflowers
- Suntastic Yellow Sunflowers
How to Grow Multi-Headed Sunflowers?
If you’re looking to grow a multi-headed sunflower, there are a few ways to ensure you’re successful. These sunflowers don’t require any extra work or special treatment, but you should encourage growth by pinching the middle when the plant is young. This may result in the plant growing more than one stem and getting more nutrients from the soil.
No matter what you do, your sunflowers won’t grow multiple heads if the growing conditions aren’t in many ways favorable. The soil has to be nutritious, and you should use the best fertilizer for the plant.
Should You Cut Off Sunflower Heads?
While it is possible to remove dead sunflower heads, they provide some benefits to your plant and garden. The seeds can feed birds and squirrels, and they can be aesthetically interesting despite their different appearance, especially in the winter. The dried-out heads also act as a form of protection against the developing seeds inside during the winter.
But, if you don’t like the look of the dead and dying heads, you can cut them off.
Sunflowers with multiple heads are completely normal and even natural for some species of plant. Some wild sunflowers can grow 20 or more heads if the conditions are right.
A sunflower plant with multiple heads is not always a bad sign or an indication that something in your garden or farm is wrong. But it can be. If you’re unlucky, you may find that a multi-headed sunflower is a sign that your garden is receiving too much fertilization or that some pest in the garden is inflicting damage on your plants.