This Flower is a Montana Staple—Can You Grow It?
Sunflowers are a classic simple pleasure in life and they grow quite well in Montana.
Kids can grow them, pro gardeners can grow them, and if you're lucky...you might encounter an entire field of them along a random roadway. (Unfortunately, I haven't caught one of those this season but there's still time. The tall ones take quite a bit of time to mature and late August can be a jackpot.)
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are 52 species of sunflowers that are native to North America (14 annuals and 38 perennials).
In Montana, common sunflower is adapted to a wide range of soil types and precipitation zones at elevations of 2,300 feet to 5,000 feet. It is present as an ephemeral annual component on many ecological sites and is likely found in all of the Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs). Common sunflower is known to inhabit at least 37 of the 56 counties in Montana.
My personal success with sunflowers (which I grow every year) hasn't been fantastic this year. Total bummer since they're easy to grow and I've had luck with tons of varieties over the years from small 'teddy bear' varieties to the giant, huge blossomed classic that we all know and love. Thankfully, my lack of success doesn't seem to be prevalent around Montana.
So how have your sunflowers fared so far this year? Share a picture or two of your gardening success with us, or even better, if you've encountered a field or pasture full of sunflowers...we'd love to see it.