Mammoth sunflowers (Helianthus Anuus "Mammoth Russian") can grow up to 10 feet tall, making them a stunning addition to a summer annual garden. The size, however, makes careful planning important. The first thing to think about is where your "Mammoth Russian" will get sufficient sunlight -- at least 6 hours a day. Because these giants of sunflowers cast a shadow on other plants, it is best to plant on the north end of your garden. These giants of sunflowers serve many purposes, from companion plants to children's garden forts.
Enhance the Landscape
"Mammoth Russian" sunflowers with their daisy-like flowers can enhance the landscape in various ways. They can be used to decorate a fence or wall, form a living fence or border to divide areas of your garden, hide unsightly areas such as compost piles, or fill a large space, providing a cheerful view.
Use as a Trellis
To use "Mammoth Russian" sunflowers as trellises, sow the seeds of a twining plant such as morning glory (Ipomea spp.) or runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus), about two weeks after planting the sunflower seeds. This traditional, garden genus of morning glory has several species, all with the trumpet-shaped flowers that announce morning with their colorful blooms that close for the rest of the day. Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), also known as scarlet runner beans, beans and multiflora beans, add color to sunflower "trellises" and are grown as perennials in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. Morning glory can be grown as a perennial in zones 10 to 11, and otherwise, as an annual. As the bean plants or flowers grow around the Mammoth Sunflower starts, they will climb up the stalks.
Build a Sunflower House
Children will enjoy this idea, which is illustrated in "Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots" by Sharon Lovejoy. Using the seeds of both "Mammoth Russian" and shorter varieties of sunflowers, it is possible to build a square "house." Plant the sunflowers in four rows, forming the walls of the house. Plant morning glories a couple of weeks after the sunflower seeds, and let them twine up and over the top of the "house" to form the roof.
Plant for Wildlife
Use the gigantic sunflowers to fill a curbside space, a full section of your garden or anywhere that you want to attract birds, butterflies and bees.
Try companion planting with corn, interspersing corn rows with "Mammoth Russian" sunflower rows. Corn repels beetles that are normally attracted to the sunflowers, and the sunflowers repel fall armyworms that otherwise would enjoy the corn..
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