At 11ft 9ins, is this Lancashire’s biggest sunflower?

Robert Smith  has grown an 11ft9" sunflower

Robert Smith has grown an 11ft9" sunflower

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Who has the tallest sunflower? Robert Smith has spent more than five months cultivating this 11ft 9in giant in his front garden in Fulwood Hall Lane, Preston.

The 72-year-old, who lives with wife Joan, 71, said: “I started it off in a pot and that is it. I have not done anything to it and I have not fed it.

Robert Smith  has grown an 11ft9" sunflower

Robert Smith has grown an 11ft9" sunflower

“I am not sure why it is so tall. I think it was just in the right place, getting the right amount of sun. The fact it is under a lamppost means it’s had light 24 hours a day.

“It has caused an awful lot of attraction and comments.

“I have had sunflowers before, but never this big. They have been between 6ft and 8ft.

“I have another big plant coming on – I bought the seeds while on holiday in Tenerife. The packet says it will grow up to 12ft, but we shall see.”

Leigh Wylie-Jenkinson's sunflower

Leigh Wylie-Jenkinson's sunflower

Following a post on the Evening Post’s Facebook page, readers were quick to challenge Robert’s claim of growing the tallest sunflower.

Shelley Snape says her plant is 14ft, and Leigh Wylie-Jenkinson sent us a photo with his giant sunflower, also in Fulwood.

Sammie Zoe Jackson posted on Facebook: “When I was 12 my grandad grew a 12ft 4in sunflower in his garden. It was immense.”

Chantelle Clayton added: “Mine reached upstairs windows when I was a kid.”

Meanwhile, others were shocked at the size of the plant.

Lisa Paxton wrote: “Just passed this while on a run! Couldn’t believe the size of it.”

Kate Broom lamented: “That puts my tiddler to shame.”

Brian Bell gave his advice on how to make a sunflower grow: “An old remedy for sunflowers was to feed them on hops (but drink it first).”

According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest sunflower measured 9.17m (30ft 1in) and was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer, in Karst, Nordrhein Westfalen, Germany, as verified on August 28, 2014.

He is a veteran of growing tall sunflowers, having held the record twice previously.