Growing SunflowersGrowing Sunflowers

Latin plant name: helianthus annus 

growing sunflowers

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. 

when to grow sunflowers 

Each variety is of course different and good to check your packet. Generally speaking, Sunflower are sown from mid-April to the end of May. They’re an annual plant and will usually flower in August.  

gather together 

  • Sunflower seed packet 
  • Pot 
  • Soil 
  • Trowel  
  • 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. 

  1. Take a 10cm pot, filled with damp soil and make a small nested hole just over 1cm deep.  
  2. Place a single seed in each hole and cover with soil. 
  3. Cover the pot with clear bag or place into a greenhouse or covered seed tray.  
  4. They should germinate after 7 days, when you have 2 big leaves, take off the covering. 
  5. Water gently as they grow, you can use a mister as to not dislodge or over water the seeds. 
  6. Start hardening off the sprouts, taking them outside during the day and back in at night, do this for 2 weeks. 
  7. Plant out 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 with a cut off used plastic bottle. 
  8. Feed with fertiliser twice, once in mid-June and again in August. Stake plants that need support to stop them flopping or swaying that are exposed from wind.  

growing sunflowers in pots 

To plant sunflowers in pots is totally possible, the dwarf varieties such as Teddy Bear Sunflower work really well. If you want to go for 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 be in well-drained soil so be sure your pots have good 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 then when the flower starts to bloom, switch to a 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 bloom in August, watch and enjoy as the flower moves across the sky following the sun.  

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.