Soil, Seed, Water and Sunlight. That’s the winning recipe for the sunflowers that grew to 10 feet tall in James DeLorenzo’s Stepney Road backyard.

DeLorenzo started growing the sunflowers in March after looking for a springtime project.

“I asked myself, ‘What could I do to make me feel good about something?’” said DeLorenzo. “I love gardening, so that’s where I came up with the sunflowers.”

James DeLorenzo with the head of a 10-foot sunflower he grew in his backyard. Photo by Daniella Baldino

Each sunflower head is about 17 inches wide and weighs about five-to-seven pounds, the weight of a small bowling ball.

“I went out and bought the seeds and planted a little over 60 of them on my kitchen counter in egg cartons,” said DeLorenzo, a 30-year resident of Easton and the owner of Environmental Container Service in Fairfield.

After the seeds grew about an inch, he transferred them to eight-ounce cups, some of which he shared with school children at Royle Elementary School in Darien and Lafayette Elementary School in Washington D.C., where his daughters teach second and fourth grade. 

“They [the students] decorated all of the cups and gave them to their moms for Mother’s Day,” he said.

After the sunflowers started to grow larger in the cups, DeLorenzo planted them in his backyard where they grew at a drastic speed. He sent pictures of the giant sunflowers to the school children in Washington, D.C.. who were proud to see what they assisted in growing.

“I raised them for my daughters and two granddaughters so that they can enjoy them, and certainly for the students that my daughters teach,” he said.

DeLorenzo’s father introduced him to gardening and planting not only flowers but herbs, vegetables and fruits. “I always had a garden since I was a kid,” he said. “My father taught me all about planting and now here I am.”

James DeLorenzo grew 10-feet tall sunflowers in his backyard yard. Photo by Daniella Baldino

DeLorenzo plans to start this process all over again in late winter so that he can grow the sunflowers again and maybe beat his 10-foot record.

A German man holds the 2014 Guinness World Record for growing a 30-foot, 1-inche tall sunflower.  


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