Sunflowers are fun and easy to grow - kids love them, birds adore them and Alan Turing was fascinated by them.
You can plant them in two ways.
There are lots of different types of sunflowers, but the ones that are best for this experiment are the taller ones, varieties such as Russian Giant, Giant Single and Giant Yellow. These varieties grow to around 8-10 feet high. You can buy seeds from any high street gardening shop, as well as garden centres and large DIY chains. Packets of seeds cost as little as 75p.
Sunflowers, as the name suggests, need sun – and lots of it. They also need a sheltered spot (so that they don’t get blown over when it’s windy) and something close by that they can be tied to once the seed head starts developing (such as a fence, post or sturdy stake).
All you need to do is now is nurture your plant, keep the seed head and take part in the head count in the autumn. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of help to do that, either in person at one of our special counting locations, or you’ll be able to post your ‘spiral counts’ online. Researchers at The University of Manchester will then collate the data, and the results will be announced during Manchester Science Festival. Make sure you register to appear on our growers' map.
© 2017 MOSI and Manchester Science Festival
We had an overwhelming response to the 2012 call to grow sunflowers with nearly 12,000 pledged!
Read our tips on seeds and how to get planting
Discover, share and win prizes for the best learning resources
Read the Sunflower Diaries from 2012's bloom custodians
Pledges from all around the globe on our growers map
Take a look at our lovely blooms in the growers' gallery
Read all about the growers stories in our blog
Get some top tips from the experts on how to care for your sunflowers whilst they’re growing
Read our tips and share yours...
Turing's Sunflower growers' pictures make on display as part of Edinburgh Science Festival's Patterns of Nature exhibition.
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See our interactive map of Turing Sunflower growers around the world...
Do your sunflowers match up with Turing's theories?
Learn how to count the spirals on your sunflowers with our easy guides and videos
Log your sunflowers ready for collection, counting and photographing
Find a counting and collection drop-in event near you
Delve into our interactive harvest map
Register it here and get the local community round for a count-off
We’ll be analysing your data from September 2012 with the full results being announced as part of Manchester Science Festival 2012 in October.
Hopefully your sunflowers are all grown up and ready to harvest, so check out our guides to when and how to count, and start sending us your data!
Read the background story to the Turing’s Sunflowers project and explre the strange links between maths and nature...
Growing tips, Meet thegrowers
See all our blog posts...
Posted 18 May 2016 in Around the world, Counting, Weird & Wonderful
Posted 18 Mar 2013 in Around the world, Weird & Wonderful
Posted 26 Feb 2013 in Around the world, events, Meet the growers
The easiest way?
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Find out why we are celebrating the life of Alan Turing, who’s behind the project and why sunflowers are so important.
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