Sunflower houses create a shaded area for kids to enjoy imaginary play in mid to late summer while providing color to the yard as well. With a little planning and the right selection of sunflowers, your yard will be a big hit with the neighborhood kids and fellow gardeners as well.
Designing a Sunflower Garden
Select an area that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. When it comes to sunflowers, more is definitely better as these massive plants thrive in full sun. Keep in mind that when in full bloom sunflowers typically face the east. Planting the sunflower house on the western side of your property allows you to enjoy their beauty when in bloom.
Layout the design of the sunflower house. A square or rectangular design is easiest, but a circular design makes an attractive hut just right for hours of fun. Whatever design you choose, allow plenty of room for children to play.
Choosing Sunflowers for the Sunflower House
Select the desired sunflowers for the sunflower house. Tall varieties make and impressive house, but you don’t need to settle for plain yellow sunflowers unless of course, you want to. Look for sunflowers with heights of at least 8 to 10 feet in a variety of colors for a stunning display.
Planting the Sunflowers
Plant sunflower seeds spaced 18 inches apart along the perimeter of the sunflower house. Allow for a door that is at least two feet wide. Consider the desires of your youngsters when designing the door. An east-facing door allows morning light but provides shelter from the hot afternoon sun. A western door allows the long rays of sunset to light the insides as the sun sets in the evening.
Creating Lush Green Walls
Add climbing plants to fill in between the sunflowers and create lush green walls. Morning glories, climbing nasturtiums and runner beans are good choices, but any vining plant will do. Plant the vines approximately 2 inches from the base of each sunflower stalk. One or two vines per stalk is all that is needed.
Add colorful flowers such a few cosmos or brightly colored zinnias to enhance the beauty of this little hide-away. To simulate flowers growing outside a castle, plant a row of low growing flowers on the outer side of the sunflowers.
Forming the Roof
Some prefer to bind the top of the sunflower stalks as they near maturity to create a roof to the sunflower house. Gently bend the tops over the sunflower house so they meet in the center and tie loosely with garden twine or rope.
Encourage children to use their hideaway for reading and other quiet play or simply allow their imaginations to run free. Your sunflower house may magically transform to an enchanted castle one day and a mysterious cave another.