Growing sunflowers from seeds can be so satisfying. There are many types, from Giant Sunflowers, tall and crisp to Dwarf varieties like Teddy Bear Sunflowers that are fluffy pom poms. They’re a colourful landmark for any space and great to grow with little gardeners and watch as the flower heads follow the sun across the sky.
Latin plant name: helianthus annus
when to grow sunflowers
Each variety is different; it is good to check your packet. Generally speaking, Sunflowers are sown from mid-April to the end of May. Sunflowers are usually an annual plant and will flower in Summer and early Autumn.
- Sunflower seed packet
- Plant label + pencil
how to grow sunflowers from seeds
Our method starts the sunflowers off inside, but you can sow sunflowers straight into the ground; in a clear, weed-free raked soil 10cm apart.
- Take a 10cm pot; filled with damp soil and make a small nested hole just over 1cm deep.
- Place a single seed in each hole and cover it with soil.
- Cover the pot with a clear bag or place it into a greenhouse or covered seed tray.
- They should germinate after 7 days; take off the covering when you have 2 big leaves.
- Water gently as they grow; you can use a mister to not dislodge or overwater the seeds.
- Start hardening off the sprouts, taking them outside during the day and back in at night, do this for 2 weeks.
- Plant the sprouts in May around 45cm apart after the last frost in clear weed-free soil. Snails and slugs love to snack on little sprouts, so you may want to cover them with a cut off used plastic bottle.
- Feed with fertiliser twice, once in mid-June and again in August. Stake plants that need stem support to stop them from flopping or swaying in the wind.
growing sunflowers in pots
Planting sunflowers in pots is totally possible; dwarf varieties such as Teddy Bear Sunflower work well. To grow tall sunflowers, it is still doable, but you’ll need a large, deep container (around 35cm+).
Although all varieties are different, the general rule of thumb for growing sunflowers in pots is to give them full direct sunlight and well-drained soil; that means pots with decent drainage holes.
tips for growing sunflowers in pots
- Add a layer of drainage to the bottom of the pot (broken bits of terracotta, bit of gravel).
- Keep an eye on watering as they will dry out more rapidly than in the ground; water when the top inch feels dry.
- Feed them with high nitrogen plant food once in mid-June; when the flower begins to bloom, switch to high phosphorus fertiliser.
when to plant sunflowers outside?
Sow sunflower seeds from March to May; for best results, sow individually in 10cm pots. Plant outside in your garden after the last frost has passed (around early June).
when do sunflowers bloom?
Sunflowers generally bloom from Summer to Autumn; it takes around 11-18 weeks to flower, so it does depend when you sow your seeds. But with good planning, you can grow in succession to flower throughout the season.
protecting your sunflowers
Sunflowers are often easy to grow but vunerable to some diseases and pests that damage the loved flower heads. Garden pests such as catapillars, cutworms and headclipping weevils can chew through the stems of sunflower plants.
To protect your sunflowers, just keep an eye and remove any pests before they cause damage. To avoid any common diseases, keep the sunflower plant leaves from getting wet during watering and use clean tools if doing any maintenance.
sunflowers to grow
There are lots of different varieties to grow out there, we’ve got two in our collection of seeds.
Giant Sunflowers – large single yellow flowers on towering 2m long stems, flowering from June to August.
Teddy Bear Sunflower – an annual dwarf variety with pom pom like fluffy flowers.