PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – Aug. 5 is National Sunflower Day and although a popular activity is to go to a local farm and pick sunflowers, they can also be grown in your own backyard.

It’s a bit too late into the season to be planting them in Pennsylvania, but these tips are something to keep in mind to prepare for next year. If you follow the proper care instructions, you will have your own bright yellow beauties.

The best time to plant sunflowers outside is in mid spring. However, if you chose to start them inside, you could plant them under grow lights in early spring.

As the name suggests, sunflowers love the sun. They require at least six to eight hours of direct light each day. When you plant them, place the seeds one inch into the soil and space them out at least a foot apart to give them room to reach for the sky.

The good news is that sunflowers can handle going an extended time without water, but watering them every couple of days, especially when the weather is dry, is recommended.

Best sunflower practices

Sunflowers are a desired snack of many unwanted garden visitors such as deer. Also be on the lookout for chipmunks who may try to dig up the soil. For deer, consider fencing to protect your garden or using sprinklers to scare them away and likely keep them from coming back. The latter might work for chipmunks as well.

If you successfully grow your sunflowers for the season, be sure to save the seeds to replant next year. The best way to collect the seeds is to cut off the sunflower once it starts to die and let it dry out for a couple of days or weeks. Once it is dry, rub the center of the sunflower to collect the seeds.

Sunflowers are a great addition to any garden, and they also contribute to the environment, as they are a great source for pollinators, especially bees. So, they are not only beautiful, but are helpful to the natural community.