Starting Sunflowers from Seed Indoors and Transplanting - What Method(s) Work Best?

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What method(s) work best for you when growing sunflowers from seed indoors and transplanting to the garden?

Last year, we started sunflower seeds indoors and transplanted them out to the garden about mid/late March.
Even though being in an area with lots of sun, and moderate soil, they never took off - and they remained spindly, never growing to maturity.

Careful not to disturb the sunflower roots, we may have still started too early with getting them out in the garden - planting zones 10a, 10b and 9b

Suggestions on how we can do better this season are appreciated.
 

Meadowlark

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Sunflowers benefit from direct seeding in the ground vs transplanting. I'm in zone 8b, and direct seeded my mammoth sunflowers about three weeks ago. They germinated fine but a brief freeze (31 deg F) hit them about a week ago. Whereas the cold snap burned back some tomatoes and potato vines, the unprotected Sunflower seedlings were unscathed.

My point being that in planting zones 10 and 9 where it didn't even frost, sunflowers would have been fine. I don't know of any benefit to transplanting sunflowers and in fact it can set them back significantly in growth.

sunflowers young.JPG
 
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Sunflowers benefit from direct seeding in the ground vs transplanting. I'm in zone 8b, and direct seeded my mammoth sunflowers about three weeks ago. They germinated fine but a brief freeze (31 deg F) hit them about a week ago. Whereas the cold snap burned back some tomatoes and potato vines, the unprotected Sunflower seedlings were unscathed.

My point being that in planting zones 10 and 9 where it didn't even frost, sunflowers would have been fine. I don't know of any benefit to transplanting sunflowers and in fact it can set them back significantly in growth.

View attachment 95176
Tried direct seeding, and squirrels got to each and every single one we planted - attempting to cover with netting was not very effective.
Will try transplanting again, later during the season when it warms up a bit more.
 

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