We’re sending out a challenge to green-fingered children across the region to beat the winner of our 2023 sunflower growing competition.

Last year Lucy Randall from Ottery St Mary grew a sunflower to an incredible 4.48 metres, taller than a double-decker bus!

Our MD, Jacqui Taylor said: “Lucy’s achievement blew us away; her sunflower was so impressive and grown from such a tiny seed!

“Last year we gave away around 500 packets of seeds and we hope even more children will enjoy taking part this year. Sunflowers are relatively easy to grow, and you don’t need a large garden – but you’ll need to think about supporting the stems when the flowers start to get tall.”

The record for the tallest sunflower grown in the UK is currently held by Richard Hope of Wigan, whose plant grew to just under 8 metres, whilst the tallest in the world to date was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer from Germany, whose monster flower reached 9.17 metres.

Jacqui added: “Wouldn’t it be great if one of our seeds grew into a UK or even world record winning sunflower! We’re looking forward to seeing the results later in the year. Even if they don’t get super-tall, sunflowers are great for wildlife, especially bees which love their pollen – and they’re such a beautiful flower to have in the garden.”

Once again, we’re providing free packets of sunflower seeds to encourage children to have a go at growing their own sunflowers at home.

It’s easy for parents or grandparents to get hold of the seeds. Just follow this link and fill in the simple form to receive an e-voucher with full information on collecting the seeds from one of our seven garden centres before June 2nd. One free packet per household, please.

Each packet contains around 15 sunflower seeds and we’ve given some great tips about how to ensure healthy, tall sunflowers. Read them here. Anyone who has signed up will be invited to send in photos of their sunflowers to be in with a chance of winning a prize.

The seeds are totally free, but when you come to collect them, we’d love you to pop any spare change into the nearby collection tin to help raise funds for the branch’s local charity of the year.

Thank you to Thompson & Morgan for supporting this competition.

Register for your free sunflower seeds