Add borax to your sunflower soil for bigger blooms and more seeds

Sunflowers add summer drama to any garden. They are grown to brighten our spaces, feed the birds and sometimes to provide structure for scrambling runner beans. While some are yellow, others are red, some are tall and others short. Whatever the feature, vibrant colourful blooms are the rule.

If you want to kick-start your sunflowers consider a mid-summer feeding of borax, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water.

Commonly used in natural household cleaning products, borax has been around for over 4,000 years. It is a great natural way to add boron to soil, a common nutrient that sunflowers cannot get enough of.

The boron will help the sunflowers hold their heads high, even through summer winds, and is said to help increase bloom sizes and seed production by 20 percent.

Prior to blooms opening, when buds are just halfway developed, give your sunflowers a borax boost by supplying an early-morning watering of 4 litres (1 gal.) of water mixed with 2.5 mL (1⁄2 tsp.) of borax. Repeat a month later.

Save the rest of the borax for drying and preserving sunflower blooms: set the flowers in a borax dip, let sit for a day, then shake the residue off your preserved blooms.

Borax is available at any grocery or hardware store in the cleaning aisle.