How to Grow Sunflowers | Gardening 101

Large Homegrown Sunflower with bright yellow petals and a rusty red center
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I feel that sunflowers are the happiest flowers in the world……learning how to grow sunflowers is a super enjoyable gardening activity!  Often used in big bold arrangements, these beautiful plants bring an assortment of benefits for your home.

large sunflower growing in a field

Did you know? The French name for sunflower (tournesol) literally means ‘turns to the sun’.

From using it as cooking oil to munching on the sunflower seeds to converting it into decorative arrangementsthere’s a lot you can do with these yellow flowers.

The best part is that these annual plants are really easy to care for. 

That’s why I decided that it’s time to show you how to grow a sunflower.

Like many of my how-to grow series, this one’s going to give you a complete picture of how to grow and harvest these sunny plants.

So let’s begin!

Planting: How to Grow Sunflowers

Ideal Planting Site

  1. Location:

 Sunflowers grow best in sun-lit conditions. They need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day to grow properly.

So choose a sunny area in your garden to plant these flowers.

  1. Temperature:

The optimal soil temperature for these plants is 55 to 60 ºF. Sunflowers grow well in the heat but require an adequate amount of water to survive. 

  1. Soil:

Sunflower seeds need sufficient organic matter and water to grow. You should plant them in a soil that is well-fertilized and well-drained.

This ensures a good crop and a bountiful harvest!

What about the acidity of the soil?  Sunflowers grow well in pH levels of 6.0-7.0.  Need a simple pH soil testing kit?

Take a Look at all this Sunflower Collection and the chose the ones you love!

The days to maturity is approximately 80 to 120 days depending on the variety.

Double-check your growing season prior to ordering and planting your seeds!

Sunflower Seeds and even a Sunflower Seed Growing Kit!

Find Your USDA Growing Zones: Enter Your Zip Code Here

Simple Beautiful Sunflower Bouquet

How to Plant the Sunflower Seed?

Here are some tips to plant your sunflower seeds:

  1. Dig a 1-inch deep hole to sow the seeds. The sunflower plants must be planted at least 6-inches apart for small varieties and 30-inch part for larger ones. The gap ensures that they’ve got enough room to grow.
  2. The sunflowers sprout in 7-10 days. So make sure that the seeds are properly covered with dirt as they are germinating.
  3. Keep the soil moist but not soggy as the seeds are beginning to sprout.
  4. The ideal time to plant sunflower seeds is in mid-April to late May.
  5. Make sure to wait until the last frost before planting you seeds

Maintenance: How to Care for Your Sunflowers?

Sunflowers are low-maintenance plants.

They thrive in environments where they have room to spread their leaves and are provided with an adequate amount of fertilizers and water to grow.

Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned about them over the years:

  • Watering: Sunflowers require 2 gallons of water per week during their growth years. You should water them weekly or on alternate days throughout the week.
  • Fertilization: Overfertilization can kill the plants. I usually add fertilizers to my watering can in order to dilute its effects. Discover how to make compost tea . Other than that, good old mulching does the trick for these plants.
  • Diseases: Birds and critters will usually attack your planted sunflower seeds. So keep a scarecrow insight to keep those hungry beings at bay.  Or, a motion-activated sprinkler works well.  Apart from that, keep an eye out for fungal diseases and weeds.
  • Support: Due to their towering growth, some sunflower varieties may require support. You can attach them to sturdy bamboo stakes for support during their growth spurt.

Harvest: How to Harvest Your Sunflowers?

If you’re cutting the flowers for ornamental purposes then you simply cut the main stem before the flower starts growing side blooms.

Then keep the flowers in a watered vase/container in a well-lit area.

The flowers typically last for a week.

What about the seeds?

Harvesting sunflower seeds is slightly tricky. You’ve got to wait for the back of their heads to turn brown to ensure that the seeds they are ready for harvesting. 

The seeds will dry and turn black.

This usually happens a month or 45 days after the flowers have bloomed.

Try shelled Sunflower Seeds in a delicious all-natural easy breakfast recipe for…. Homemade Breakfast “Cereal Mix” without Grains

Pro Tip: if you have chickens, simply give them one of your dried flower heads full of sunflower seeds. Your chickens will love you! 

You may also leave dried sunflower heads for wild birds to peck through…..they seem to really enjoy the challenge of pulling the sunflower seeds directly from the dried flowers!

Sunflower and Wild Bird

Interesting Information on:

Feeding Chickens Sunflower Seeds!

It’s a Wrap on How to Grow Sunflowers

Ta-Da! You’re now a pro at growing and maintaining sunflowers. Like I said before, these flowering plants are the most low-maintenance gardening varieties in the world.

They are easy to grow and care for. Plus, they offer you a lot of bounties once they’ve bloomed.

What’s your favorite summer plant?

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Learn How to Grow Sunflowers for beautiful simple arrangements!

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