Sunflower Update

Apparently I have somehow managed to grow the world’s largest sunflowers, as they are all about 12′ tall and some are closer to 15-16′.

I’m gonna need to borrow a wood chipper to compost the damned things:

That’s the stem at about 4′, not even the base which is bigger. Here are the midgets at only 12′:


52 replies
  1. 1
    Bard the Grim says:

    John, you put the willow sunflowers too close to the house.

  2. 2
    laura says:

    Still awaiting photos of your bird beard….
    And your sunflowers look exceedingly cheery.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    MazeDancer says:

    Giant sunflowers are wonderful. Especially how they follow the sun.

    Last year, had a bumper crop and could really see the sun tracking in action. They would face sunrise, go with the flow at noon, and end the day looking West.

    Mine were a mere 8-10 feet, but still inspiring.

  5. 5
    Jackie says:

    Years ago a solitary sunflower planted by a bird? took off and grew taller than our 2-story house! The diameter of the head was a good three feet. Someone spotted it and the local newspaper published a photo of it. It made a ridiculous amount of sunflower seeds lol

  6. 6
    Al Z. says:


  7. 7
    catclub says:

    I’m gonna need to borrow a wood chipper to compost the damned things:

    what could go wrong?

  8. 8
    chopper says:


    i eagerly await cole’s update. “sorry, it took a long time to type this out with only one arm…”

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Anonymous At Work says:

    @catclub: I give that plan half-a-thumb up, the top rating possible!

    @John, do you see why biofuels are possible with weeds like that? Imagine, all of Iowa covered in weeds, blowing their seeds out into the air…
    (This trolling is not a paid submission from any company, just my post-coffee sarcasm)

  11. 11
    SFAW says:

    I’ve heard about plants being “leggy,” but I think your sunflowers are beyond that.

    Fortunately, they’re not Tnuctip sunflowers (I hope)

  12. 12
    wv blondie says:

    I don’t know about your county, but here in the Eastern Panhandle our county fair has a contest for the tallest sunflower. You should enter! You’ve obviously got a talent for it.

  13. 13
    joel hanes says:

    Some largeish finch thinks of that photo as food porn.
    When the seeds are ripe, watch for grosbeaks and cardinals.
    Maybe your house finches, though I think they like smaller seeds.

  14. 14
    SFAW says:


    Them’re a lot of sunflowers

  15. 15
    Sab says:

    Nice looking shed.

  16. 16
    stardus614 says:

    Humble brag. Kudos.

  17. 17
    joel hanes says:


    not Tnuctip sunflowers (I hope)

    Petals not reflective silver.
    Also, Thurston not converted to a pile of ash.

  18. 18
    joel hanes says:

    @Al Z.:


    That book scared the shit out of me when I was 12.

  19. 19
    jl says:

    Wow, that sunflower stalk is almost as fat as Cole’s fingers. Amaaaaazinnggg!
    Where did Cole get those magic sunflower seeds, and when the tops of the plants disappear above the clouds, I demand pix when Cole climbs one of them.

    Edit: what’s at the top? I predict a giant Tunch.

    Thanks for scary monster sunflower plant pix.

  20. 20
    joel hanes says:

    @Anonymous At Work:

    do you see why biofuels are possible

    A complete revolution in agriculture that would greatly decrease carbon emissions and chemical inputs and build soil is possible, partly using the perennial relatives of sunflowers from the genus Silphium.

    Donate to The Land Institute and help save the world.

  21. 21
    Another Scott says:

    Nice! Only 14-15 feet to go for the record! ;-)

    Seriously, great job.


  22. 22
    MomSense says:



    I’m having visions of the black knight from Holy Grail.

  23. 23
    LarryB says:

    Jon, Lock your windows. You just think they’re sunflowers.

  24. 24
    kindness says:

    Genus Sunflower Sequoia.

  25. 25
    jl says:

    @LarryB: Cole should try mushroom farming in his spooky garden. Maybe start with a cordyceps species.

  26. 26
    rikyrah says:

    They are beautiful, Cole.
    Tall, but beautiful :)

  27. 27
    Spanky says:

    @catclub: @MomSense: I seem to recall an incident from a few years back involving Cole the Elder and a chipper ….

  28. 28
    Lapassionara says:

    My sunflowers will not stand upright. I don’t know how these have gotten so tall without being staked.

  29. 29
    Another Scott says:

    OT: Wonkette: Strozk Strzko Strzok sues FBI and DOJ for wrongful termination:

    He’s baaaaaaaaack! He’s been keeping his head down for a year, but now former FBI super agent Peter Strzok is back in DC, and he’s suing the FBI and DOJ for wrongful termination and violation of his First Amendment rights. Calling it “indisputable that his termination was the result of President Trump’s unrelenting retaliatory campaign of false information, attacks, and direct appeals to top officials,” Strzok’s lawyer Aitan Goelman demanded that his client be reinstated with back pay or compensated for lost income. If he survives a motion to dismiss and gets to discovery, this one’s going to be a hot mess.


    (Emphasis added)



  30. 30
    JMG says:

    Was your Mom angry when you traded the cow for the magic sunflower seeds? No matter how tall they get, don’t climb one of the stalks!

  31. 31
    The Dangerman says:

    Apparently I have somehow managed to grow the world’s largest sunflowers…

    Willow: “Hold my beer.”

  32. 32
  33. 33
    MomSense says:


    I must have repressed that memory. I am terrified of woodchippers anyway, since I used to watch my grandfather operate one when I was a little girl. He never hurt himself – but all those whirring blades, loud noises, and stern warnings made an impression.

  34. 34
    MrSnrub says:

    Are you sure you’re not growing Trifids?

  35. 35

    How the hell are they not bending/snapping from the weight?

    We tried growing sunflowers in Florida, and they would grow to a certain height and then… the flowers would topple over because the seeds got so numerous and heavy. It was heartbreaking.

  36. 36
    jl says:

    @MrSnrub: Trifles (trouble!) will pop out of the seed pods?

    I smell a Coletastrophe in the air.

  37. 37
    randy khan says:

    @Another Scott:

    That sounds like fun. Of course, the way these kinds of cases go, the good stuff might not come out until 2021.

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    And the great big saw came nearer and nearer…

    P.S. How’s the pup doing today? Still on the mend, I hope.

  39. 39
    A Ghost To Most says:

    And here we were, diggin’ on our 8′ sunflowers. They didn’t get planted until June, because of snow/cold.

  40. 40
    Amir Khalid says:

    Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers
    That grow so incredibly high …
    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

  41. 41
    CaseyL says:

    Wow! I am impress :)

    Giant sunflowers always give me a pleasurable horror-frisson, because once their seeds are formed they look to me like alien scouts. An entire field of giant sunflowers is incredible spooky, IMO.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    Kristine says:

    @MomSense: ::remembering that scene in FARGO::

  44. 44
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    In the 80s, when I still lived in IA, there were many farms, areas around Ames with sunflowers this tall. IIRC that was new then.

  45. 45
    Comrade Carter says:

    Those things would look great, in Maryland.

  46. 46
    hells littlest angel says:

    That’s average height for the Mongolian Giant variety.

  47. 47
    hw3 says:

    Ahh… West Virginia summers.

  48. 48
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @laura: John is like Radagast

  49. 49
    mrmoshpotato says:

    Cole obviously watched Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus and wanted a plant-based version in his backyard.

    We look forward to Mega Sunflowers vs Creeping Willow!

  50. 50
    Michael Cain says:

    @Anonymous At Work: “do you see why biofuels are possible with weeds like that?”

    With all due respect, biofuels are the fantasy we tell ourselves in hopes that we won’t have to start buying electric cars soon.

    The back third of John’s back yard, kitted out with PV panels, would produce enough electricity for transportation to measure meaningfully in “miles per day”. Biofuels from the same area would be a similar number, but in “miles per month.”

  51. 51
    Bill Arnold says:

    wrong thread

  52. 52
    debbie says:

    They’ve been extra tall around here too. What I’ve really noticed is that they don’t follow the sun like they used to. It’s like they’re shunning the sun.

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