FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — After breaking the U.S. record for tallest sunflower in 2022, Alex Babich’s record did not last long.
However, instead of another sunflower enthusiast claiming the top spot, Babich broke the record himself with another sunflower that towered over his previous work by nearly one foot.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me on this,” Babich said.
On Wednesday, WANE 15 visited Babich in Fort Wayne as Master Gardeners measured his sunflower to determine if the flower would set a new U.S. record.
According to officials, the sunflower did indeed set a new U.S. standard after being measured at 26 feet, 1 inch, which exceeded Babich’s previous record of 25 feet, 2 inches tall.
Simone Alberding, a Master Gardener with the Purdue Extension Master Gardener Program, said it has been exciting to be able to witness two record sunflowers come from Fort Wayne.
“I’ve spent all summer since I’m a neighbor watching — we watch for storms — so it’s pretty exciting to get to see the end project every year,” Alberding said.
In late June, Babich worried he would be unable to break his own record after storms brought hail that damaged his plants.
“My heart just sank because we put so much energy into the plants. We’ve got a huge garden,” Babich said in June.
However, the hail ended up not being a factor as Babich celebrated his new U.S. record with his family in attendance Wednesday.
Despite setting a U.S. record two years in a row, Babich said he is not satisfied and hopes to break the record again in 2024.
According to giantgardening.com, which tracks sunflower records, the tallest sunflower in the world was grown in Germany in 2016.
That flower stood 30 feet, 1 inch tall.