Local man amazed with growth of sunflowers

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 4, 2020

 Several large sunflowers have ascended to new heights in Norm Malinowski’s summer garden in Macomb  Township. The largest sunflower is over 12 feet tall.

Several large sunflowers have ascended to new heights in Norm Malinowski’s summer garden in Macomb Township. The largest sunflower is over 12 feet tall.

Photo provided by Norm Malinowski

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — They’re still growing.

Almost four months after Norm Malinowski, of Macomb Township, planted sunflower seeds, a couple sunflowers have reached over 12 feet tall.   

Malinowski, who works as a substitute teacher in Chippewa Valley Schools, said he’s been gardening for many years.

“My wife and I have a lot of different flower gardens in our yard and we look to do something different each year,” he said.

He has planted sunflowers in past years that would only grow about 4 feet tall.

“I was looking for something a little more dramatic and unusual so I happened to come across mammoth sunflowers,” he said.

At the time he planted the seeds, about 6 inches apart and 2 inches deep, Malinowski said he expected them to grow anywhere from 9 to 10 feet tall, leaving him pleasantly surprised at the current height.

He planted between six and eight sunflowers in the garden, located on the west side of the backyard. Some sunflowers are around 6 feet tall, with the other towering over 12 feet tall.

“They’ve been growing and I thought when they got to about 10 feet, I thought ‘wow this is huge,’ and now I have a couple that are 12 feet and growing,” he said.

He called the sunflowers unusual because of their yellow-orange center that turns to a dark brown or black.

“Then you have yellow and orange petals around the edge of them,” Malinowski said. “They’re very striking when you see them.”

He estimates that once the flowers reached 6 feet tall, it rapidly grew.   

Malinowski waters them daily and said he learned the secret to successful growing is that sunflowers don’t require a lot of plant food or fertilizer.

The way Malinowski’s yard is positioned, he said the sunflowers receive plenty of direct sunlight.

“I live on a corner, so people walking and biking have commented ‘wow, look at those flowers,’” he said.

Malinowski views a fun aspect of having a garden is that with all that is going on in the country, seeing the flowers is a highlight of his summer.

“We enjoy our flowering gardens and have perennials and annuals, and it’s a way of relaxing, a piece of mind kind of thing,” he said.  

Once the sunflowers are done growing, he hopes to use the seeds for planting next year’s flowers.

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