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Sunflower shoots up to 12 feet

September 13, 2019 Digital Media Exclusive

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Karen Smaretsky Vavro and Phil Vavro stand underneath the 12-foot-tall sunflower they grew outside their home at 129 Cornell Drive in Center Township.

CENTER TWP — Phil Vavro can't remember where he bought the seeds and he said he hasn't done anything but water it daily. Despite that, the sunflower he and his wife, Karen Smaretsky Vavro, are growing in front of their home on Cornell Drive has already topped 12 feet, twice as tall as a normal sunflower.

“I planted the seeds, I don't know where I got them. I had a little packet of seeds,” said Vavro. He stuck them in planter the first week in June.

It grows three to four inches a day, he said. He keeps a chart to measure the growth by the monster plant.

“I get a big stepladder and a tape measure and the last time it was 12 feet high,” he said.

Penn State Extension Butler County Master Gardener Lisa Bernardo said, “I think 12 feet is unusual. Most varieties are about six feet in height. Some of the giant varieties can reach 10 feet, but six feet is standard.”

Bernardo said sunflowers mature in 70 to 100 days. Most gardeners plant them in May or June.

This is an excerpt from a story that appears in Sunday's Butler Eagle.

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