How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Sunflowers


This grew from a seed a squirrel buried for later.

Jeff Childrey


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Sunflowers say “summer” like no other plant. American natives, sunflowers are grown for beauty as well as harvested for seed.

An annual plant, sunflowers have big, daisy-like flower faces of bright yellow petals (and occasionally red) and brown centers that ripen into heavy heads filled with seeds.

Tall and coarse, the plants have creeping or tuberous roots and large, bristly leaves. Some sunflowers grow to over 16 feet in height, though there are also varieties today that have been developed for small spaces and containers.

Most sunflowers are remarkably tough and easy to grow as long as the soil is not waterlogged. Most are heat- and drought-tolerant. They make excellent cut flowers and many are attractive to bees and birds.

Learn more about why you should start growing these happy flowers in your garden.


  • Sunflowers grow best in locations with direct sun (6 to 8 hours per day); they prefer long, hot summers to flower well.
  • Sunflowers have long tap roots which need to stretch out so the plants prefer well-dug, loose, well-draining soil; in preparing a bed, dig down 2 feet in depth and about 3 feet across to ensure the soil isn’t too compact.
  • Find a well-drained location, and prepare your soil by digging an area of about 2-3 feet in circumference to a depth of about 2 feet.
  • Though they’re not too fussy, sunflowers thrive in slightly acidic to somewhat alkaline (pH 6.0 to 7.5).
  • Sunflowers are heavy feeders so the soil needs to be nutrient-rich with organic matter or composted (aged) manure. Or, work in a slow release granular fertilizer 8 inches deep into your soil.
  • If possible, put seeds in a spot that is sheltered from strong winds, perhaps along a fence or near a building.
  • Before planting, decide whether or not you want to grow a fun sunflower tower.

Planting Sunflower Seeds

  • It’s best to sow sunflower seeds directly into the soil after the danger of spring frost is past. Ideally, the soil temperature has reached 55 to 60 degrees F.
  • Give plants plenty of room, especially for low-growing varieties that will branch out. Make rows about 30 inches apart. (For very small varieties, plant closer together.)
  • Plant the large seeds no more than 1 inch deep about 6 inches apart after it has thoroughly warmed, from mid-April to late May. You can plant multiple seeds and thin them to the strongest contenders when the plants are six inches tall.
  • A light application of fertilizer mixed in at planting time will encourage strong root growth to protect them from blowing over in the wind.
  • Experiment with plantings staggered over 5 to 6 weeks to keep enjoying continuous blooms.
  • If you see birds scratching around for the seeds, spread netting over the planted area until seeds germinate. See more ways to keep birds away from your garden.


  • While the plant is small, water around the root zone, about 3 to 4 in. from the plant. To protect the plant, it may help to put snail or slug bait around the stem.
  • Once the plant is established, water deeply though infrequently to encourage deep rooting. Unless the weather is exceptionally wet or dry, water once a week with several gallons of water.
  • Feed plants only sparingly; overfertilization can cause stems to break in the fall. You can add diluted fertilizer into the water, though avoid getting the fertilizer near the plant’s base; it may help to build a moat in a circle around the plant about 18 inches out.
  • Tall species and cultivars require support. Bamboo stakes are a good choice for any plant that has a strong, single stem and needs support for a short period of time.


  • Birds and squirrels will show interest in the seeds. If you plan to use the seeds, deter critters with barrier devices. As seed heads mature and flowers droop, you can cover each one with white polyspun garden fleece.
  • If you have deer, keep them at bay with a tall wire barrier.
  • Sunflowers are relatively insect-free. A small gray moth sometimes lays its eggs in the blossoms. Pick the worms from the plants.
  • Downy mildew, rust, and powdery mildew can also affect the plants. If fungal diseases are spotted early, spray with a general garden fungicide.


  • For indoor bouquets, cut the main stem just before its flower bud has a chance to open to encourage side blooms.
  • Cut stems early in the morning. Harvesting flowers during middle of the day may lead to flower wilting. 
  • Handle sunflowers gently. The flowers should last at least a week in water at room temperature.
  • Arrange sunflowers in tall containers that provide good support for their heavy heads, and change the water every day to keep them fresh.

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

  • To harvest seeds, keep an eye out for ripeness. The back of the flower head will turn from green to yellow and the bracts will begin to dry and turn brown; this happens about 30 to 45 days after bloom and seed moisture is about 35%. Generally, when the head turns brown on the back, seeds are usually ready for harvest.
  • Cut the head off the plant (about 4 inches below the flower head) and remove the seeds with your fingers or a fork.
  • To protect the seeds from birds, you can cover the flowers with a light fabric such as cheesecloth and a rubber band. Or, you can cut the flower head early and hang the heads upside down until they seeds are dry; hang indoors or in a place that’s safe from birds and mice.

Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

  • Need a bird seeder? Save dry heads and set them out in winter.
  • Save thick sunflower stems and dry them for winter kindling.
  • Interesting Fact: An anonymous buyer paid over $39 million in 1987 for Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
  • Kansas is “The Sunflower State.”

Here and yonder, high and low,
Goldenrod and sunflowers glow.

–Robert Kelley Weeks (1840–76)

Cooking Notes

  • Some varieties provide small black seeds that are used in cooking oil, margarine, cosmetics, and animal feed; they are the best sunflower seeds for attracting the greatest variety of songbirds.
  • The bigger, striped seeds are grown for snacking and as an ingredient in bread and health foods. They, too, are used for feeding birds, especially larger species such as jays and mourning doves.
  • For eating, the seeds must be dried on the plants. Rub the seeds off and soak them overnight in a gallon of water to which a cup of salt has been added, then dry them again in an oven at 250 degrees F for 4 to 5 hours. Store them in an airtight container.
  • One way to remove them is to rub the head of the sunflower across an old washboard or something similar. Just grip the head and rub it across the board as if you were washing clothes.

Reader Comments

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Giant 15' Beautiful Double Heads, Seeds produced Dwarfs.?.?

We Had Giant SunFlowers That Grew to over 15' and Produced endless Seeds. Following Year, Giant Sunflowers Popped up out of the cracks in sidewalk by themselves, no seed planting necessary. Nice. Those Giants Produced Nice Seeds.... planted.... Most of the seeds we planted are starting to bloom like a dwarf at 1 foot. What Happened.?

Sunflower Seeds

Hi Edward,

Sunflowers cross-pollinate with other varieties of sunflowers. It sounds like your giant sunflowers cross-pollinated with a smaller or dwarf variety of sunflower from a neighbor’s yard and produced hybrid dwarf sunflower seeds. If you want pure giant sunflowers, ensure that they are at least ½ mile away from all other varieties of sunflowers.  

just a stalk

I have inherited a Sunflower to save that is in a pot, and has been in an apartment for about 2 weeks. It lost it's leaves, but is still a strong stalk. I have it outside in the sun and am keeping the soil damp, is there any hope that it can return and bloom?

Sunflower Blooming Without Leaves

It’s hard to say if your sunflower will recover or not, but if the stem is still green and the plant is given enough sun and water, it’s possible that new leaves and a (probably stunted) flower could develop. Let us know what happens!


Ok so all my sunflowers or doing great. But one its leaning and some of the leafs are turning brown and falling off. It looks like at the bottom of it has truned brown and dry im not sure what it could be. I used 7dust on it could that had done this???

Sunflower Turning Brown

Sevin (carbaryl) dust shouldn’t have any ill effects on plants, so it’s more likely that your sunflower has either dried out due to a lack of water, or has succumbed to one of several plant diseases, such as rust or powdery mildew. See the linked pages for more information on combating these and other common plant diseases.

Maturity date

The days of maturity on my packet of sunflower seeds says 90 days. Does that mean that I'll have a full grown sunflower by then, flower and all? I planted sunflowers that have seeds. I'm new to gardening.

dwarf sunflowers

I finally got some sunflower seeds to grow after mice have eaten the earlier ones. I put them outside so they won't be eaten. My problem is that all of my plants take forever to grow. I have tomato plants that are 6-8 " tall, but bushy, that were planted 2 months ago. I have a container garden so I'm limited as to what I can plant. Can you tell me why my plants don't grow as they should? I don't have any fruit yet or flower heads.

Re: dwarf sunflowers

If you are using potting soils and nothing else that's probably why. Most plants need food. They get food from decaying vegetation from the previous year, the rains and snow, as well as additional additions that you make. So, if you go to perhaps your local composting facility and pick up some compost or read up on making your diet more nutrient filled it will help tremendously. Also, using things like miracle grow sometimes help but I don't recommend them. People tend to put too much in and burn their plants.
The other thing that could be stunting them is watering. Are you watering too much? Too little? Are there holes in your pots/buckets? What are you watering with? Tap water is ok, but if you can gather rain water and water then that way SO much better. My plants just blow up after a rain fall. They survive on tap water but LOVE rain water.
Lastly make sure they're getting the sun they need! Being in apt you're kinda at the mercy of your positioning so that can't really be helped. Hope this helps!!!!


A friend gave me some seeds. Is it to late to plant the 3rd week of June?

planting sunflower seeds

Go ahead and get those seeds in the ground ASAP!

Sad sunflower

Anybody able to tell me why my sunflower leaves are now falling off and wrinkled? It was a gift and I fear strong wind has killed it

sunflower leaves falling off

It’s not likely that strong wind would kill the plant unless it uprooted it. Leaves fall for a variety of reasons:  over-fertilization, over-watering, old damage, pesticide damage, prolonged low-light intensity, root rot, and more. You may (or may not) have had anything to do with it. The plant could have become infected in the growth stage, at a nursery, or elsewhere. Depending on where it was purchased as a gift, it may not have been properly cared for or it may have been purchased by the vendor from a source that forces plants to be beautiful out of season in order to be attractive in stores. So it may have struggled for its entire life. You can try to the cause of its problem now by reviewing the possible causes and checking the plant. But you might never discover the actual problem.


My neighbor planted a sunflower plant, which grows very tall(6ft or so). It hasn't headed yet, but I've noticed that when the sun is shining directly on it, the leaves are pointed to the sky. When there is no direct sunlight the leave will drop to the ground. Are they supposed to do that?


My neighbor planted a sunflower plant, which grows very tall(6ft or so). It hasn't headed yet, but I've noticed that when the sun is shining directly on it, the leaves are pointed to the sky. When there is no direct sunlight the leave will drop to the ground. Are they supposed to do that?


How far out from plant should you put bamboo post if plant is 2 foot high so that you don't damage roots thank you for any help

Sunflower Roots

Hi Charles,

Sunflowers mainly gather energy from one central root, called a taproot. The taproot will grow 1 to 3 feet straight down, or deeper if the soil is not compacted. Erect the bamboo post as close as a foot away from the base of the plant. 

Help Sunflower Vandalized

So I had this great sunflower growing in my tree law, I know it was going to be huge due to stem with at 6 in (very very thick stem).
Someone cut the head off!
I tried to re-root the head but appears that's not taking, I left the stem there are secondary growths. Will those grow new heads?
Not sure what breed it was, it was a mystery pack of seeds and I can't identify it by leaves along.
Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

Sunflower Regeneration

We’re sorry to hear about your lost sunflower—it sounds like it was a true giant! The decapitated head won’t re-grow, but if there is secondary stem growth, you may see more blossoms yet. It’s hard to say for sure without know the variety. Best to just let them do their thing and surprise you!

Follow Up Question

So it has survived, and 2 new stalks appeared like any other pruned plant.
So followup up question is this, it appears to be tracking the sun does this mean it'll get heads or would plant do that anyhow? I've never grown sunflowers so I have no clue what to look for (likely too early to see new heads anyhow).

Sunflower Head

Glad to hear there is more growth, however it is still unlikely there will be more blooms. It takes a lot of energy for the plant to grow the flower head, so if it was cut off prematurely, there isn’t enough energy to complete the task twice. The sun tracking is normal behavior for all plants and isn’t an indication of blooms. However, nature is astounding in many ways, so don’t give up on that flower yet!

Mother's day gift

My daughter's first grade class planted sunflower seeds in Styrofoam cups for mother's day gifts. My plant is appx 12 inches in height but saggy. I think the roots might have been water logged. I poked holes in the bottom of the cup today and lightly watered it and placed by a window. Is the sagginess normal when they are still little?
Also, I live in south Texas where there's plenty of sun and heat. Could I transplant to a pot or must it be in the ground?

transplanting sunflowers

It sounds like you need to get your sunflower out of its cup. You can plant the sunflower in a big, deep pot. The taller sunflower varieties also get top heavy and may start leaning. If you grow them in pots you may need to support the stalks against a wall or a fence.

Advice please. My 5 year old

Advice please. My 5 year old son was given sunflower seeds from school in pot. Grew in south facing kitchen window sill. They are now approx 18 inches in height. There are 2 gorwing in pot. When should I plant outside bearing in mind we live on the North East coast of England. (Tyne & Wear) feel free to google.

Planting out sunflowers

Mark you can plant out your sunflowers now if you put something over them to protect against the wind and frost.
I planted​ mine out 2weeks ago under a mini Polly tunnel they are doing really well and i live on the North Norfolk coast.

setting up stakes and braces for my sunflower crop

i am going to set up rows of stakes and string across the plot sturdy line for the plants to lean on as they grow. i know many taller sunflowers really need this type of help, but maybe the shorter ones will enjoy this same type of help. i really have enjoyed this forum so i hope i can refer back to you with progress reports on the SUNFLOWER PATCH i have got just about ready to plant i just wondered that birds can just easily dive down and peck up my seeds even before they sprout. i guess i have to drape netting over my plot too. who has had a strong crop before of sunflowers and how did you set the plot up for them?


It is a good article for beginners. Some highlight may be referred for special care.

All information about your flowers is so helpful!

Thank you for the great information on all your flowers!

have to move

I've been feeding the wild birds where I live sunflower seeds in a feeder. I read somewhere that you shouldn't stop feeding birds once you start feeding them. I have to move so should I plant some sunflowers for them so that they can eat the seeds? I'll feed the birds where I move to, but I'm worried about the ones that I feed now.

for the birds

You are a generous and thoughtful soul! These are lucky birds. There is only so much you can do. Planting sunflowers is a nice idea, but remember they are annuals and will be available only for one season. (They may self-seed but that’s not nec guaranteed.) You could leave the feeder for the next resident and, maybe, some seed, with instructions and best wishes. You could pass the feeder/seed on to a neighbor or friend in the vicinity. Other than that, depart with the understanding and assurance that you provided great relief and support to the birds.

Sunflower seeds and apartment living

I've just received sunflower seeds in memory of a friend but it's the last month of summer (I live in Melbourne, Australia) and I don't know if that's too late to plant them now. I have a north and east facing balcony that gets a ton of sun, so they could still fare okay in autumn. What do you think? I'm also wondering how to plant them in balcony pots. Sounds like they need a lot of room. Should I only plant one seed per pot or can you put a few in to see which seeds are the strongest and take? Thanks so much! This is a great thread.

sunflower memories

You have the right idea, Emily. You could plant them now and hope for the best. A few per pot, then eliminating weak ones is a good idea…but north and east are not the best Sun sides. As winter comes on, there will be less sunlight and less heat on the pot/plants. As for their needing a lot of room, some sunflowers do, yes—they can grow to a couple of meters in height! Or they can be knee high. The seed package should describe the plants at maturity. It’s also possible that you could save the seeds—or, say, half of them—and plant them next spring. If they are for this growing season, they may be fine a few months from now. Most seeds will last a year or so later than the package date. Put them in a cool, dry place and start them when danger of frost is passed. Start them indoors and transplant them outdoors, if you have space in the sun.

Sunny side

In Australia north is the most sunny side. Emily has sun all day.

Sunflowers to clean soil

I have about 3 acres of north facing hillside of a hollow that a neighbor has been dumping on. I have found automotive batteries, oil cans, and sadly, dead horses. There are some trees and some ferns but mostly just dirt and it is eroding. There is a year-round creek at the bottom and the area stays pretty moist throughout the summer.
I have read where sunflowers are being used to clean up radiation, lead, zinc, arsenic etc.. But I cannot find which strand would grow in these conditions. Hoping you can help me.

Sunflowers to clean soil

Oops. I mean strain not strand.

Sunflowers for Toxins

In addition to sunflowers, there are a few common plants that can help remediate soil toxicity. Given the degree to which your land has so sadly been abused, you might want to try planting a few different species. Alpine pennycress, Indian mustard, black mustard, and morning glory all absorb toxins in the soil. As for varieties of sunflowers, research is being done to determine if certain cultivars are more effective than others. You would do well to plant Helianthus annus ‘Mammoth’, which is a true sunflower. All the best with your admirable endeavors! We certainly hope you end up with a cleaner environment.

will it die?

i transplanted my sunflower so it could spread out its roots a little more but im worried it will die.

Transplanted Sunflower

True sunflowers are annuals. This is the time of year when they die back. Consider saving some of your plant’s seeds to grow next spring. Don’t fret, sunflowers are easy and quick to grow! (In general, sunflowers don’t take kindly to transplanting so try to pick a prime spot when first planting.)

I`m confused

well i transplanted it and it has been doing well it is even starting to bud

Date for the Article

I'm missing the date of publication too, please advise.

This article is by The Old

This article is by The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It is a Web article constantly updated, so there is not a date as you’d find in a printed publication.


Hi, perhaps I missed it, but who wrote the article above?

Sun Flowers

Can you save and plant the seeds in the spring? I've never have grown sun flowers before, but our flowers have taken off and got huge. My wife and myself were really impressed on how they grew. I never had any luck with flowers before, but these sun flowers have changed my mind on trying to grow more next season. Also if we can reuse the seeds to plant, when would be the proper time to plant the seeds? Any info or help you could provide will be greatly appreciated. Thank-You for your time.

Sunny Forecast

Hi, Rick: You most certainly can save sunflower seeds, although bear in mind that if your sunnies are a hybrid variety (vs. open-pollinated), they may not propagate well (true) or even at all. Dry them well on paper towels and then store in an airtight container (such as a jar) in a cool place. They can be sprouted next spring for best results, but planting directly into the ground can also work. See the info above for more answers, and good luck!

Mammoth sunflower with multiple heads

Its my first time growing a sunflower. I planted a mammoth sunflower in a container without knowing how big it could get. It seems healthy but isn't very tall (probably because of it being in a container) but its grown at least 20 buds all over! I thought it was only supposed to have one! Is this normal??? So far, the bud at the top bloomed a few days ago, and yesterday two more just below it bloomed and are smaller. None are nearly close to being huge but again, it's probably due to me putting it in a container. Any info or advice is greatly appreciated as I would love to plant sunflowers again, but right this time :)

Sunflower Variety

Given the fact that your sunflower didn’t get very tall coupled with the multiple buds, we wonder if you inadvertently ended up with a dwarf variety. The very tall sunflowers typically have just one flower per stem, whereas many of the shorter varieties have many flowers and growing in a bushier form. When you plant next year, be careful about your seed source.

How to store seeds for next year

Hello, any recommendations on how to store sunflower seeds if we are planning on using them next year to plant?

Storing Sunflower Seeds

Hi Andy, First, you can leave sunflower heads on the plant as the seeds start to try. When the top of the blossom separates from the seed (or, the birds start eating the seeds), cut the head and finish curing the seed in a warm, ventilated area.  Once the seeds are dry, store in an envelope or container in a cool, dry place where they are protected from insects.

sunfiower agri

i want growth the sunflower agriculter please send method .and what benifit treading

When u grow a sunflower does

When u grow a sunflower does it bud one flower?? My son did one at school to bring home and its split and budding two!!!

One flower, two flower, three flower, more!

Hi, Joanne, Kudos to your son for doing all the right things! It’s not at all uncommon to get several flowers on a sunflower stalk. Enjoy them while they last! And plant more next year. They grow easily from seed. See the guidance above.

Let the sun shine!

Giant Sunflowers

In Fairbanks, AK, we just had a light snow! How do I prepare Sunflowers for our "hard" winter?

Sun flowers

When is it advisable to cut down sun flowers to ensure that they grows again next year. Or can they only be grown from seed? Thanks

Tall healthy plant but no blooms

I've planted many varieties of Sunflowers every year. This year my mammoth ones have grown to over 10 feet, the leaves and stems are healthy and beautiful but still no blossoms. There is a smaller one about 5 ft that did bloom but it's not the usual gigantic tall beautiful flower I've had in the past.

Sunflowers Not Blooming

Hi Christine,

It is possible they were planted too late. Or, early on, the buds were snatched by birds. Moisture content in the soil and the amount of sunlight they received, of course, are potential determining factors. It is also possible you might see blooms in a few weeks–sometimes the buggers wait until the very last minute to bloom!

sunflowers seeds

Every year I somehow have sunflowers growing in the front of my house which is great since I never planted seeds.They are so beautiful!!!! My question which my sound dumd,but do I have to break open the outer seed to plant the inner seed?

sunflower seeds

Congrats!!  You can save sunflower seeds for re-planting or for eating.  If you are replanting, there is no need to do anything except wait for the sunflower head to die back and the buds to turn brown. From here, you can pry them off, and let them dry, and store in a cool dry place to plant next spring.  Many people cut off the head after it dies back or the birds will get to the seeds first (unless you don’t mind!).

Planting mammoth sunflower seeds

We have the same question as submitted by Cathy on September 16, 2016. I don't believe a clear answer was given. There is a hard shell to each seed with an inner seed inside. Is it necessary to remove the outer shell before planting?

Could i know about crop

Could i know about crop duration (ex-one month or two month ..etc),as well as water requirement per plant per crop cycle .

sunflower planting in mid-September, in Ontario Canada

Can I still plant sunflowers now? It is still 15-25 degrees celsius (60-75 degrees fahrenheit ) up here. Can I just plant the seeds, or would I need to buy a plant?
Thank you

growing sunflowers

Sunflower seeds should be planted by June 1 in Canada because they take 120 to 150 days to mature and they aren’t going to thrive in frosts. Some varieties have shorter maturation periods; check the back of the seed packets.

am working on sunflower as my

am working on sunflower as my project....its so nice

Sun Flowers


We planted a few sunflowers this year for our grandchildren. We have a South facing garden and planted then up against a fence. Really grew well and these are the tall one however all the flowers are facing over the fence into the neighbours hence we only see the rear of them. We thought that they have faced that way as that is where the sun comes up early AM? but why would that be as they grew up with the fence behind then until they reached the 7foot over the fence so were established and once the sun went round next doors garage they had the sun all day facing the opposite way?



The cultivated sunflower (Helianthus annuus) have actually only been shown to track the Sun when they are young flower buds.  As the flower matures and blossoms, sunflowers usually remain facing the east from morning until night. 

Sunflower leaves

Are the leaves and stems used for anything

sunflower care question

We have a sunflower in a pot in our apartment balcony. It was growing well and blooming beautifully for a couple of weeks. Now all the heads are wilting and closing. If we cut some of the wilted heads off will others have more of the plants energy to grow?

Cutting Back Sunflowers

Hi Jan,

Yes go ahead and cut off any blooms that have starting to wilt. Doing so is not a sure bet that the rest of the plant will do well, but it is a good idea to try.


I'm so broke that I got this crazy idea to grow sunflowers for the seeds. Birds and chickens love them. I feed blue jays and other types of birds so they will love the heads of seeds that I put out for them. I can sell the heads of seeds (whole), to people that want them for birds to eat or chickens. How much do you think that I should charge per head?


I live in AZ and paid $5.00 each for giant sunflower heads but I think that was low.

Seed destruction

I live in western NY and in previous years trying to grow Sunflowers I have had a problem with some kind of worm/larvae infection in the seeds themselves. They ruined at least 50% of my seeds. I have a group of plants that I am waiting to flower. What can I do to protect the seeds. I would like to harvest them to add to my birdseed.

Protecting Sunflower Seeds

Hi Susan,

Try wrapping the heads with cheesecloth or a fine-mesh pliable screen–anything that allows light and air in.


Help im growing sunflowers in pots. They are four foot tall but the leaves are drooping. I dont want to loose them.


I am trying to grow my own sunflowers this year as a practice run for my wedding next year. At the moment they are going well and some are starting flower however my wedding is not until the September time - when would be the best time for me to plant them so they will hopefully flower during the start of September? I know it is not an exact science.

Sunflower plant

Hi I plant sunflower seeds from a pack and it grew like 6 feet tall and was about to bloom all thru then it stormed with high winds and snapped it to the ground. I was soo sad and now it's got the thick stem. Should I pull it out and start over or does it come back? The weather here is in the ninetys. I just couldn't believe how beautiful it was growing and excited to see them bloom and a storm destroyed it. Should I pull it out but I do see something growing but not a stem that's thick from the ground.

broken sunflower stem

Well, this could be interesting: Splicing, or grafting, is the art of connecting two different plant stems (with plant tape and pressure and support). Some sources suggest that it cn be done on a clean cut with, say, a pencil as a splint. But it depends on the degree of damage, the weight to support, the health of the plant… You could try it as an experiment. Make the clean cut, wrap tape around the two raw edges with the splint to give it shape. And see how it holds up (without your help). You could also (or instead) plant more seeds. Some plants “catch up” when planted a bit off their cycle. Of course, this is nearly mid-July, but rather than wonder if, do it.

Your experience is what makes us all keep getting out there trying again, the same year and the next year. It’s the wonder of nature.

Good luck. Have fun!


I had one to voluntary come up. It was were i had a bird feeder last year. It grew over six feet with largest sunflower i have ever seen. Trying to save seed. Birds got some.

Sunflowers chewed by rabbits

Last year I planted lots of sunflowers and they were beautiful. This year they look as though the leaves have been chewed, and are only a few inches high. I just planted marigolds around the garden to help keep critters away. Do you think they are not going to grow at this point?
Thank you for any help. I love sunflowers.

Kathleen, sunflowers need to

Kathleen, sunflowers need to be replanted every year. :)

sunflowers fading

It’s hard to tell what’s going on here exactly, but if you planted hybrid sunflowers last year and this year’s are volunteers, they are not likely to repeat the growth pattern they had last year. Hybrid seeds are “made” to perform once, and never quite the same way again. Heirlooms, on the other hand, will volunteer and regrow to be very similar to the prior year’s plant. So curb your enthusiasm and enjoy the marigolds. Plan to do something different next year. It will be here before you know it!


One of my sunflower, the flower was bit off. Will another one grow or should I get another one?

Sunflower leaves

I Just started growing sunflowers and I noticed that the leaves are curling. Is this normal? What can I do or should I do nothing

Thank you
from East Meadow, New York

Keeping critters from devouring sunflower seeds

I am at my wits end from keeping rabbits, chipmunks & squirrels from either digging up & eating sunflower seeds to biting off the seedling heads. I have gotten to the point of having my husband putting a shelf on the outside back wall of our garage & planting sunflower seeds in a pot on a shelf on the wall! Even then - I wonder if chippy can scale the wall vertically! We'll see. I also tried repellants & moth balls - nothing works for long. I managed to have one sunflower seedling that grew up with a squash plant - maybe the rabbits don't see it. It's now June 25th, and I am trying one more time for the season - is this too late? We're in zone 6 - south of Lake Ontario near Syracuse NY

Sunflowers Late June

Go ahead and try again. See if you can find them in 4-inch pots (versus starting from seed).

growing sunflowers

Hi. I wanted to know if it is too late for me to plant sunflowers in metro Atlanta Georgia? Also, where is the best place because my house gets direct sun on the front side in the morning and direct sun on the back side in the evening? if it is too late for outside, can I grow them inside until I can transfer them out? I have a hard time keeping plants alive both indoor and out but the planting of sunflowers was a request from my aunt as a memorial. I want to honor it if possible. Thanks for your help!!!!!

sunflowers in sun

Hi, Karina, It’s never too late to try! As noted above, the plants or seeds should get 6 to 8 hours of sun. plant where the sunlight falls the longest. If it’s really even-steven, you could try both sides! Your area has the benefit summer weather into the fall, so you may have more luck than you think. Bottom line: better to do it and know you tried. Next year, just start sooner!

Hi! I live in Atlanta as well

Hi! I live in Atlanta as well and I planted a sunflower seed and it was absolutely beautiful! It's about 7feet tall and I have the same issue with sun in the front and back but I played the sunflower in the front for the morning sunshine and it worked. I only watered it once a day around 8pm each night! I would be happy to send pictures if you'd like! Good luck!


When to plant? I live in southern utah.
Is it a good idea to Soak seeds overnight
before planting any Variety of Plant?


Hi, i planted some sunflowers. The kind with only one bloom. I just wanted to know what kind have more then one bloom. I would to plant those so i could keep seeing the blooms come in.

Sunflower growing

I live in Michigan and want to start growing sunflowers and I was wondering when the best time to plant seeds and how to keep them growing annual?

Michigan is such a great

Michigan is such a great place. The corn grows there! If you already have a garden open, plant your seeds directly in the soil about an inch deep. Make sure its in a sunny location...all day sun. Sunflowers are annuals, meaning they only grow once. Then harvest your seeds after the flower blooms and wilts by cutting the flower off about 6" down the stalk and the rest is in this article.
Good Luck

sunflower growing

I like farming and I would like to start growing sunflower at a large scale (commercial) . Growing like 50 bags of sunflower how many 50 kg bags of fertilizer do I need? Please I need your advice

Fall bloom

I would love to have some mammoth sunflowers
Bloom in the fall, when do I plant here in Califonia?

When To Plant Sunflowers

They take 80-120 days to bloom. I would plant some now and every 2 weeks until about mid July.

Sunflower seeds

I am searching searching... I want to harvest my mammoth sunflower seeds in order to plant more! How long should/would I need to wait after harvest to plant the freshly harvested seeds? And is this standard practice for most sunflower seeds. Thanks so much.

Before you harvest the seeds,

Before you harvest the seeds, the sunflower head must be completely dry. If you leave the heads on the plants to dry you risk loosing some to birds and other critters. Drying them indoors or in a protected area is a good idea. The time it takes to dry depends on how mature the seeds are and what the conditions are in the area where you dry the seeds. Like any seeds, keep them in a cool dry place until you replant them next spring.

mammoth sunflowers / help please

I have never grown sunflowers before and not sure what they are suppose to do mine are about 4 feet tall right now some have one bloom on them and others have 4 or 5 the blooms are only about 3 to 5 inches but the yellow petils are already falling off is that normal I thought the mammoth had large flower heads on them and well the bloom more this season ? Any help would be appreciated .

Dwarf Sunspot Sunflowers

How deep should the soil be for dwarf sunspot sunflowers in containers? Thanks

pot size

Most sunflowers develop pretty significant root systems, even small ones like these that mature at 1 to 2 feet, so give them about 10 inches—that a base (underground) of about one-third to one-half of the plant at maturity. It’s a rough gauge—you just don’t want the plants to be top heavy in pots that are too small.

Hey there

Hey there

I'm in Southern California and I'm seeing if there is a market for 3-4 week old, single stem, pollen free, grown from seed sunflowers.



Squished stem

My kindergarten's class planted sunflower seed in milk cartons. Today they sent them home from school and my rambunctious 5 year old was expected to get this poor baby plant home safely without any kind of stake or support. (Ya right). So anyways when she got home the stem is kind of squished about halfway up the stem and it no longer wants to stand at all. I used plastic straws to prop it up the best I could but I'm hoping I can still save this poor plant. My daughter and I would both be very sad to lose it. I just have no idea what the best action is. Do I continue to support it for now and wait til I can transplant it or is there some course of action that would be better. Please help.

Popsicle sticks might be a

Popsicle sticks might be a good tool for propping your sunflower. If the sunflower is planted in a small container, you need to plant it in the garden. Wait until the last frost date in your area.


i started my seeds inside they are king of tall can i plant them deeper than 5 inches as long as the leaves are above the soil????

We normally plant sunflowers

We normally plant sunflowers seeds directly into the ground because sunflowers have long taproots and it’s often hard to predict when the soil is warm enough to plant.

Most seedlings do best when they’re transplanted right away but if they get too leggy, it should be OK to transplant them deeper. Bury them to about 1” below the lowest leaves. To avoid pests, you may want to keep a milk bottle around them until they’re well established and maybe circle them with slug deterrant, too.

care of sunflower

have rescued a 4 ft tall sunflower, thick stem, leaves all almost withered and a big head on it which is totally brown. can you tell me what fertiliser I should put on it if any. I have put it in a fairly deep hole in a sheltered position formed by 2 walls and it will get plenty of afternoon sunlight. how often should I water it. the soil here is sandy. and will its leaves grow back

If the flower is brown the

If the flower is brown the plant is probably not going to bloom again. Most tall sunflowers only grow one flower and after it matures you’ll see the sunflower seeds.


I had to redo a garden and added a lot of soil suitable for roses as well as compost. A selfsewn sunflower came up and reached a height of just over a metre. The flower head was as big as a small dinner plate. I have harvested this for my cockatoo but I am not sure if the plant will produce any more flowers or should I now pull it out. It doesn't have any sign of any more flowers forming and we are now coming into Autumn so it is getting cooler.

Hi Jan,

Hi Jan,

Most of the tall varieties of sunflowers have one flower per stem. Some bushier varieties have side stems and multiple flowers. It sounds like your plant is single flower. After you harvest the seeds you can pull the stem. You can save a few of the seeds to plant next spring.

Sunflower seedlings

I have never grown anything from seedlings . I bought your sunflower seeds and little pods. I now have 18 little sprouts and they are wonderful. Now I do not know what to do with them. The weather is cold, rain and even some snow. Please teach me. Thank you :) Heidi

protect your sunflowers

Good to hear of your success. If you are at risk of cold and snow, you must be a northern area that has not passed it last-frost day. (Put your zip code in the slot on this page and see when your last-frost date is:

At this point, it’s important that you protect your seedlings from the cold and snow. One way is to prop newspaper on top of them—not touching them, but above them and supported in such a way that the newspaper, if wet (or worse, snow laden), will not crush the seedlings. Replace as necessary and, when the cold spell passes and the temps are more suitable, remove the paper and let the seedlings get stronger. Watch the weather forecast here regularly — —and be prepared to protect the seedlings at any time until your area is safely past the threat of frost, snow, or cold.

Take care of your plants and they will be good to you!

sunflower cultivation

Please provide me details of sunflower planting, cultivation, ideal time of planting, good seed from where to procure etc.


And amazing and exceptionally wonderful article on growing sunflowers.
Information was so thorough and helpful.
Thank you


I planted 30 sunflowers and now they are 3 inches tall! I am 12 yrs old and i love to garden. I sell all the plants that i grow, and i make like 40$ off of like 2 plants!!

suitable soil for sunflower

In which type of soil does sunflower give maximum yield...?? Does it grows in red soil..??

growing sunflowers

i love to grow sunflowers in my backyard.

I grew some sun flowers this

I grew some sun flowers this year and harvested the seeds because I am wanting to replant them next year. I am wondering how should I store them? And I am also wondering about the wild sunflowers you see next to the road, is there a way to harvest those seeds and replant them?

Like any seeds, keep them in

Like any seeds, keep them in a cool dry place until you repalnt them in the spring. Make sure it is also rodent-proof because mice love to eat these seeds. Not sure what you mean by wild sunflowers but everything is owned by someone so be sure to have the permission from the landowner before you harvest any seeds from "wild" plants. Watch the plants until they start to dry and then harvest the seeds or cut a few stalks to dry at home.



When did you plant your

When did you plant your seeds? I also planted a few mammoth the end of May and the first one just recently bloomed. Hopefully my others bloom soon. I believe they have a 75 day maturity. I hope this helps you a little.

Well, you've got the growth,

Well, you've got the growth, so they must be reasonably happy where they are. We think that they got/are getting too little phosphorus. Did you test you soil? Did you fertilize, especially without having tested the soil? A test may have revealed a nutrient balance that fertilizer could have fixed, in the proper mixture. 
Basic plant fertilizer mix usually consists of nitrogen (N, and the first "number" in the row of three numbers), phosphorus (P), and potassium (k).
Nitrogen helps plants grow quickly and have abundant foliage.
Phosphorus helps roots to be healthy and helps blooms to set.
Potassium aids in overall plant health.
It's probably too late in season to fertilize now. Get your soil tested early next season, before you plant. Often, local cooperative extension services do this, but you can also buy kits at garder and nursery stores.

I am from Ohio and also

I am from Ohio and also planted the mammoth sunflowers around May 27th, for the 1st time ever. Around 75 plants. We were getting worried that they weren't going to bloom. But recently they started blooming. And they didn't all bloom at the same time, it was like a week between some of them. I have various size blooms on almost all now. I wish you luck and hope they bloom soon for you.

Thanks, wind storm came thru

Thanks, wind storm came thru on the 24th and wiped out most of the plants as I didn't stake them. We will see what happens to the rest but I'm guessing phosphorus as mentioned below. I'll try again next year since the plants grew to such amazing heights.

I live at the mouth of the

I live at the mouth of the keys. It is August and it is hot. Bee friendly sent me some wild flower seeds. Two grew. One I have no clue what it is. It is tall and bushy. The other grey like crazy straight up. At 2 feet of course I staked it. I stake everything that I do not want to flop over. Now I noticed as the flowers (3) are showing their color. I live in an apartment and grow these flowers because the bee population is dying off. I have 2 pkg to plant. Is there a "time"? All we have is sun and humidity. Will they attract bees?

I live in Southern

I live in Southern California. My sunflowers are in full bloom but will die in a month due to the heat and the end of summer. I was curious as to what are some flowers that I can plant that are seasonal and will bloom in the winter to replace the sunflowers? If you know any, it would be extremely helpful, thank you!

I had a great sunflower crop

I had a great sunflower crop this season, but when cutting them down I noticed that there were larvae living inside the stems. They were completely hollow all the way up 6-10 inches beneath the blossoms... what is this and how can I avoid it in the future?

Sounds like sunflower

Sounds like sunflower maggots! A small fly lays its eggs on the stem which then hatch and burrow inside to eat the pith in the center of the stem. Since the pith doesn't have anything to do with the movement of nutrients within the plant, the maggots don't really do any harm. That is why you had a great crop of flowers despite the larvae.

What is the botanical name of

What is the botanical name of sunflower

I planted "vanilla"

I planted "vanilla" sunflowers in my garden for the first time this year. It is now mid-August and the flowers have not bloomed yet, although there is a tiny bit of yellow just peeking out of the center buds. Is this normal? Or did I plant them too late? (I think it was very early June when I planted them). Thanks.

Hi, Karen, If this is

Hi, Karen,
If this is Sunflower 'Vanilla Ice' (the only one we can find with "vanilla" in its name, the sow-to-bloom time is 60 days during a hot summer, according to one source. The same one suggests planting out doors in mid-April through mid-May were cited, with an eye to avoiding a frost (that's directly in the soil; not starting indoors as early as Feb or March) .
Apparently it is a late summer bloomer that can keep going into October, so give it a little more time—and start it earlier next year.

sunflower pests

I always seem to have a problem with small worms that completely destroy the mammoth seeds as they mature. Any ideas on how to prevent this from happening?

When you cut a flower off of

When you cut a flower off of a plant, does a new flower grow from the same stem?

Deadheading sunflower blooms

Deadheading sunflower blooms helps the plant focus its energy toward new flower growth, not necessarily on that particular stem.

one of my plants has 10

one of my plants has 10 heads?????

is that common??

Some types of sunflowers

Some types of sunflowers bloom with multiple flower heads on each stem.

I also have a plant that has

I also have a plant that has grown more like a bush and it has at least 30 sunflower heads maybe more!! I am in awe, as I don't plant any of mine, they all come from birdseed that is dropped. I will call my plant Amazing!!!

Just planted 8 little

Just planted 8 little sunflowers I bought in a shop; all seem to be doing well - even with the lack of sun this summer. My question is will the same sunflowers grow again next year, or is it a case of saving the seeds and growing from them?

Sunflowers are annual plants

Sunflowers are annual plants so you will have to replant them every year.

I was gifted some sunflower

I was gifted some sunflower seeds from a friends plant. The original plant was well over 10 ft. tall. While lovely, her off springs plant, is only about 5 ft tall.
Do they loose height with each next generations planting?

I think depends on how close

I think depends on how close together they are growing. I think they need to be about 18" apart if you want them that tall. I had my mammoth sunflowers planted about 10" apart and while a few of them are about 7 or 8 feet tall right now, a bunch are blooming at only about 4 to 5 feet tall.

I wanted to know that I m

I wanted to know that I m planning to plant sunflower in my farms where I grow cotton as well as soybean. Is it possible for me to grow both the plants at the same time and harm none

Sure, you can plant

Sure, you can plant sunflowers next to your soybeans and cotton. They are traditionally good companion plants as long as you plant the sunflowers in separate rows.

I planted a mammoth seed in a

I planted a mammoth seed in a pot a few weeks ago and the stem cannot hold itself upright...

It's about 5 inches tall now and I have it leaned against the window...

Large sunflowers often need

Large sunflowers often need to be staked.

is there a way to post a

is there a way to post a picture?

You can post a picure in our

You can post a picure in our picture gallery here:
If you have a question for us, you can always post here and add the link to your picture. 

You need to move the mammoth

You need to move the mammoth sunflower from the pot into the ground. They have the need for roots to expand. If you don't move it, it will not do well. It may even blow over in a wind or die before the plant can flower if left in the pot. Move to the ground. Once you move it because it's already leaning you may need to support it against something (tie it to a fence, etc). They need food so fertilize and don't fertilize directly onto the plant; fertilize about 10-18" out from it in a groove made around the plant. Birds, bees, squirrels love it. In case you see the flower drooping after it blooms and looks so lovely it could be caused by them feeding on it. It's a labor of love but worth the big beautiful flower you get.

I planted the same type of

I planted the same type of seeds this year as last year, but I planted more seeds, and spaced them about 9 inches apart from each other (this was in late May in Beijing). Now the plants are at least 10 feet tall, but the blossoms are small, about 3 inches in diameter (this is the center part where the seeds are). Last year they were at least 7 inches across (where the seeds are). Are the blossoms small because I planted the seeds too close to each other?

My 7 year old planted 2 dwarf

My 7 year old planted 2 dwarf sunflowers from seed and gave them to me for mother's day this year. I replanted them into somewhat bigger pots than what they had come in.
One sunflower bloomed about 10 days ago. It was just magnificent!! We just came back from a 4 day trip up north to find the 1 sunflower that had bloomed so magnificently, dying, drooping, and it's seeds falling out. My neighbor said she had been watering it. We live in Minnesota and it's been in the 90's lately.

What can I do to revive my poor sunflower?

Is your sunflower in a very

Is your sunflower in a very deep pot? Sunflowers need room for their roots so when grown in a pot, it has to be a deep one. And sunflowers are heavy feeders so adding a slow release granular fertilizer to the soil will benefit the plant.

Hi I have 3-4ft sunflowers in

Hi I have 3-4ft sunflowers in pots not quite flowered can I put them in the ground as I have had a change of mind regards rob

Hi, can the same sunflower

Hi, can the same sunflower seeds used for growing be eaten? must it be processed or are they typically the same?

It is not advised to eat the

It is not advised to eat the seeds in the garden seed packets.

Can anything be done with the

Can anything be done with the stalks?Is there anything useful that the stalks can do>?

I planted sunflowers about

I planted sunflowers about two weeks ago, at first they were beauties seemed to be doing fine, then all of a sudden lost their leaves, dying. What did I do? They seem to get enough sun. I water about every other day. Temps in the 80s. Help. Same thing always happens. All my other flowers are beautiful.

Make sure your sunflowers are

Make sure your sunflowers are getting a lot of sun -- like at least 6 hours' worth a day. They also need to be moist, but in well-drained soil. Water them deeply (to encourage root growth), but not too often. And the soil needs to be fertile -- well-rotted compost mixed in works well.

Hello, here in the Republic

Hello, here in the Republic of Panama the sunflowers grows by itsetf under and around my parrot cage. Therefore, I would like to start my own plantation. What is best time of the year to plant the seeds.
I welcome and appreciate any advise.
Best regards

I want to plant sun flowers

I want to plant sun flowers this week June 23 for dove hunting. Do you think the seeds will be ready for doves to eat by September? I live in Peoria Illinois

I am planting my field

I am planting my field tonight. Last year I planted the third week of May, and they started to flower in early to mid August. I don't think the seeds would be ready by Sep 1st, but there should be flowers out by then. It seemed to me last year that the doves were in my field as soon as the sunflowers were tall enough and strong enough to hold the birds, which was a few weeks before the heads opened up anyway. I would say the least you can do is try!

We've been growing many

We've been growing many varieties from seeds past 2 years. This year we have lots that popped up before we planted our started seeds, assuming from fallen seeds last year, will they flower?

Yes, sunflowers will

Yes, sunflowers will self-seed and reproduce to produce flowers.

I planted a sunflower in a

I planted a sunflower in a planter box back in early May (maybe late April). It is about 6 feet tall now, with a healthy and hearty stalk, and it has been green and healthy until last week. Suddenly the leaves are all wilting and turning brown. Is it because I water too much (lightly 3 days a week)? Is it because I have it in a planter box and it isn't getting enough root space (the box is only about a foot deep)? Is it too late to try to save it? Any help would be so appreciated. I've been really enjoying watching my sunflower grow and I'm devastated it seems to be dying.

Hi, I have already planted my

Hi, I have already planted my sunflower seeds for 3 weeks already. It did germinates. But it's been 3 week but just like a inch tall? it only have 1 pair of leaves and that's all. What happened?

Hi, There are numerous


There are numerous factors that may have affected the size and health of your plants. Unfortunately it is difficult to evaluate and narrow down precisely what happened.

Based on my experience however, small sunflowers may be associated with overcrowding, nutrerint deficiencies in the soil, unfavorable weather conditions, not enough sunlight, disease, transplant shock, drought/overwatering stress, or insect/ fungal damage either above ground or below.

I would continue to wait and allow the plants more time to grow. If they continue to perform poorly.. Let them grow the entire season until they die to see what happens.

Also, check to see how closely your sunflowers are growing, if they are crammed together tightly, air cannot circulate between the plants and they will also compete and ultimately grow weak and stunted.

Any of the above mentioned factors may be responsible for your small sunflowers.

If you would like to precisely identify the cause of your small can take soil and plant samples and send them to a lab for evaluation..they will identify what went wrong or what is missing from your can then correct accordingly and gain experience for the future.

I am confused by the

I am confused by the following instructions:
"Find a well-drained location, and prepare your soil by digging an area of about 2-3 feet in circumference to a depth of about 2 feet."
"Give plants plenty of room, especially for low-growing varieties that will branch out. Make rows about 30 inches apart. (For very small varieties, plant closer together.)
Plant the large seeds no more than 1 inch deep about 6 inches apart after it has thoroughly warmed, from mid-April to late May."

Should I plant the seeds in the trench described in the first instruction by following the guidelines in the second instruction?

Hi Liz, Just turn the soil

Hi Liz,
Just turn the soil over in a section of your garden and follow the instructions on how deep and how far apart to plant.

I gathered some sunflower

I gathered some sunflower seeds from a dried seed head that I found on the road near a field of sunflowers in Tuscany last Fall. Not sure what variety it is. Is it too late to plant in Seattle, WA area? I had misplaced the envelope with the seeds in it and just found it today (June 14th). Any idea what variety it might be? Tiny black seeds. It seemed that all of the sunflowers in Tuscany were the same variety. Thanks!

Hi, The seeds you collected


The seeds you collected are likely from a "wild" uncultivated strain of Helianthus annuus. Wild H. annuus differs from traditionally cultivated varieties because wild forms typically have numerous branching stems and smaller flowers. Also, they have different germination habits than domesticated forms.

If you would like to plant the seeds you collected.. I would highly suggest that you sow them in the fall or winter because they likely require stratification(meaning to be exposed to cold, snow, and frost) for improved germination. If the seeds are stratified, a naturally occurring chemical called auxin will be broken down, thereby allowing increased germination rates in the spring.

Naturally occurring chemical inhibitors such as auxin are found in most wildflower species. The chemicals are necessary so that germination does not occur until ideal conditions are present in the spring.

Consider this, If the seeds were dispersed and then germinated in the fall after the plant has finished its life cycle..the newly emrged sprouts will be killed by the harsh, cold weather. However, chemicals in the seeds protect this from happening by delaying germination until spring.

Ultimately, to answer your question...if you planted the seeds now, they would probably germinate, but very sparsely and you would get poor rates..likely about 5-20%. Whereas, if you sow the seeds in the fall..they will sprout in the following spring and germination rates will be relatively 50%+..that figure will be higher depending on the quality of the seeds. contrast, why do cultivated, domesticate sunflower varieties not require stratification? This is because domesticated varieties were bred to possess specific desirable traits..and in this case..humans eliminated the need for stratification to make the process of planting sunflowers more effective and streamlined.

Take my advice for planting wild sunflowres. I have gained my knowledge through experience and years of trial and error. I have tried many planting techniques with native, wild sunflowres and now through experience; I know the best methods.

I just want to double check

I just want to double check if it's too late to plant sunflowers at this time of the year. I know you said to plant between mid April to end of May, but what if I start planting them end of June? Or some time during summer?

Plant by June 15 n never

Plant by June 15 n never plant after July second...GoodLuck

I planted sunflowers seeds

I planted sunflowers seeds for the first time in our backyard here in San Diego, CA. Thirty-five of them have come up. They are growing rapidly and beautifully. They all have little heads already. However, they need so much water!! I had no idea. Because of our drought, we are having to water using "gray" water from our rinse water (for dishes), rinse water from bathing, and rinse water from our washing machine. We have no choice about using the gray water, but what I want to know is if we can still eat the seeds having used gray water to grow them? Also, some of the smaller plants do not get enough sun, so I'm thinking of cutting off some of the huge leaves at the bottom of the bigger plants to give the smaller ones more sun. I saw a comment from above that some people have had success with this. Thank you.

Hi Emily, We feel for all

Hi Emily, We feel for all those affected by this devastating drought. We haven't experienced this issue, but here is a helpful fact sheet:
"Graywater can be used to irrigate landscaping and plants but not on root crops or edible parts of food crops." At with vegetables, this suggests you'd need to cook the food to ensure no bacteria exists.
To get an accurate answer, we'd need to refer you to the San Diego County Water Authority:

This is my first year growing

This is my first year growing sunflowers and something's just not right. They're roughly 2 feet tall now and probably half of them have flopped right over. I can't seem to find anything in regards to this anywhere. Do you have an ideas? The stalks and leaves look fine, they're just not standing. Someone suggested a little boron added to the soil. What do you think?

Lots of sunflower varieties

Lots of sunflower varieties require staking. Give that a try.

I planted sunflowers in early

I planted sunflowers in early May but there is no sign of them yet and it is June 3 could this be because of soil temp I'm in Ireland and it has been cold all through May if I plant some now when should I see growth

It's best to sow sunflower

It's best to sow sunflower seeds directly into the soil after the danger of frost is past. Ideally, when the soil temperature has reached 55 to 60 degrees.

Hello! I recently moved to

Hello! I recently moved to Boise, ID and I'm renting so I do not want to dig up the ground but I want to plant sunflowers ( they're my favorite flower)! I bought mammoth and autumn beauty seeds today and was wondering if anyone could tell me the best way to go about planting the seeds in a pot. Willing to take any suggestions as this is the first time I'm planting them! Also, the temp. gets very hot here in the summer but it is dry air. Any suggestions on watering? Thanks!

You can plant the sunflowers

You can plant the sunflowers in a big deep pot. The taller sunflower varieties also get top heavy and may start leaning. If you grow them in pots you may need to support the stalks against a wall or a fence.

Do not plant mammoth in a

Do not plant mammoth in a pot....plant in ground...goodluck

now I read this... the thing

now I read this... the thing is already flopped over.. I have it braced against a window...

I planted sunflower seeds in

I planted sunflower seeds in mid-april in pot.
Its end of May and the stems have rose about 2 feet already.
Can I keep it in the pot or do I need to move it and plant it on ground. Reading above comments looks like, it needs lot of room for its roots.
Please advise.

Yes, sunflowers need a lot of

Yes, sunflowers need a lot of room for the roots. You can plant the sunflowers in a big deep pot or plant them in the ground. The taller sunflower varieties also get top heavy and may start leaning. If you grow them in pots you may need to support the stalks against a wall or a fence.

About two years ago my wife

About two years ago my wife and I had a sunflower pop up in an area that we had not planted with seed (Birds ?).The flower was most unusual in that it only grew to be about 4 feet tall, but the head was easily 12 inches across. We have tried to find seed to grow these ourselves but have had no luck. Any suggestions as to what variety this might have been we would love to have a yard fullof these.

This is not enough

This is not enough information here to identify the plant but there is a lesson here: If you see a plant you like, try to save some seeds. Or take a picture and bring it to a nursery of cooperative extension for help in identifying it.

Very good information!

Very good information!

We removed an old deck made

We removed an old deck made of treated lumber. NOTHING grew in the soil for neat a year. We figured the cause to be toxins from deck. Now crabgrass, dandelions, and other hardy weeds are growing there. We read that sunflowers are good for taking toxins out of soil, but we hesitate b/c we do not want to poison birds and other wildlife with toxic plants. Is this a legitimate concern?. If yes, we thought we'd remove the flowers at some point, but darn it, we don't want to poison the insects! Any advice would be so appreciated!!

I doubt if the chemicals

I doubt if the chemicals (insecticides, fungicides and preservatives)leached out of the old deck, it's more likely that due to the long period of time the deck was in place the soil beneath simply became "sterile". No sun and little moisture would have caused the death of potential plants (even at microscopic level) and thus probably insect organisms too. The fact the weeds are now growing means that passing birds (and feet) have introduced those seeds there. I would suggest you have a sample of the soil tested, if you don't want to go to that expense, dig in a good layer of compost and even plant a "green fertilizer" and dig it into the soil once it's grown a bit and then plant a hardy groundcover or lawn there.

I thought no I over

I thought no I over fertilized my sunflower. It's wilting. How do I revive it? Please advise. Thank you.

Our big "pest" with the

Our big "pest" with the mature heads are the Titmouse and Jays. So when the seeds start to attract them I cover the heads with large paper sacks with the four corners cut out of the sack. I use a wire tie around the stem to hold the sack in place. This creates ventilation and allows the head to fully ripen.
The other pest are Goldfinches who think the leaves are a great salad. Since the feasting doesn't seem to hurt the plant much we just ignore them and enjoy their presence around the garden.

when planting sunflowers do

when planting sunflowers do you take the seed out of the shell and plant or is it left in the shell

Plant as is. No modifications

Plant as is. No modifications needed.

can I plant a sunflower seed

can I plant a sunflower seed in cotton and in gravel and in dirt what is the best one to plant it in and if you could plant it in it then how?

I've planted them in gravel

I've planted them in gravel before. Just dig below the gravel enough to reach dirt, remove that dirt and replace with soil, put the seed in and replace the gravel. The roots will reach out the dirt underneath the gravel.

Hi, this is my first time

Hi, this is my first time planting sunflowers and I'm trying to figure out when the best planting time would be. I live in western Pennsylvania. The temperature has been jumping from low 50s to high 60s. When do you think the best time to plant them would be? Thanks!

It's best to sow sunflower

It's best to sow sunflower seeds directly into the soil after the danger of spring frost is past. Ideally, the soil temperature has reached 55 to 60 degrees. For western PA, your last spring frost will be around May 6.

I'm planting four 200-foot

I'm planting four 200-foot rows of sunflowers to act as a privacy hedge. As it would cost too much to buy enough netting to protect the sprouts from birds, would reflective scare tape or a few strands of fishing line running above the rows be a good bird deterrent instead?

You can try the mylar tapes

You can try the mylar tapes or tie mylar balloons to sticks. Some people tie aluminum pie plates or old CDs to strings. Your privacy hedge will be stunning when all the sunflowers are in bloom!

I tried that Mylar trick with

I tried that Mylar trick with my apple tree. It didn't work. Good luck.

About 1/2 of our harvested

About 1/2 of our harvested seeds are empty. (no kernels) What are we doing wrong? Southern Missouri.

Is it possible that you are

Is it possible that you are harvesting too soon? Another problem might be lack of phosphorus while growing. Bone meal added to the soil may help this problem.

Try planting Mammoth

Try planting Mammoth Sunflowers. Burpee's Seed Co. and other catalog co.s sell them. They are the most popular. You should also plant the snacking varieties. They all need full sun and don't over-water. I think that this site says it all.

We grew mammoth sunflowers

We grew mammoth sunflowers first time last year. OH MY GOODNESS. they were truly MAMMOTH. The heads must have been 2 feet across and the stalks were tree trunks. LOL. Nearly broke a fork trying to dig them out. The root ball was huge. Trying the smaller ones this year with the multi smaller heads on the branches. I am in Yarmouth Nova Scotia and had lots of snow this year. Waiting til June to plant them out in ground.

Could it be that birds are

Could it be that birds are eating the seeds? Deer are pests too. This site says to cover each head with white polyspun garden fleece. As for deer, a tall wire barrier is okay. Chicken wire is good to use. Northern California.

hi!this is my first time to

hi!this is my first time to plant a sun flower.I'm from Philippines.I want to ask.....I know how to plant and care this plant.but many people said"it can be herbal it true???.....and what are the medicinal parts????thank!!!

I want to plant sunflower in

I want to plant sunflower in area about 45 Ha for oil seeds at Holmingham, UK.
What is the best variety, high yield and good disease resistance? In 1 ha roughly how many seeds (in Kg) needed? at least how many seeds in one planting hole?

Sunflower definition

Sunflower definition

This is my first time

This is my first time planting sf'ss, but some of them are empty and don't have seeds inside. What can I do next year to make sure all seeds are full?

I got sunflowers seeds was go

I got sunflowers seeds was go to to do was go to put my sunflowseeds in a pot biger and put dirt on tharm and water thrm and put thram In the sunlight

Hi This is my first time

This is my first time planting sunflowers. I live in Montana a we got a bad freeze early. I left the sunflowers alone, but recently cut them to avoid another bad freeze. They heads were already bent over from the size of the plant not sure of the name but they are well over 10 feet tall. Will they continue to ripen? There are many that are already black and white. I have them in the house in a cool dark spot. Any comments will be greatly appreciated

Sunflowers can't tolerate a

Sunflowers can't tolerate a bad freeze. Their growing season is over. You can leave them on the plants for birds and squirrels.

We recently bought a home

We recently bought a home with nearly an acre of land. It has a massive area of sunflowers and also has spots of them growing in multiple locations. To me they seem a bit out of control & I would like to reduce the number of plants. How is the best way to successfully accomplish this?

Sunflowers are an annual

Sunflowers are an annual flower, so they won't grow back. However, they do self-sow if you let them go to seed at the end of the season. In the spring, when new sunflowers start to grow, you can easily dig out the seedlings that you don't want.

its not behind the seeds, its

its not behind the seeds, its covering the head of the sunflower, and if you rub your hand over the seeds the little yellow things fall off. My question is what are the little yellow things for?

I'm not quite sure which part

I'm not quite sure which part of the sunflower you mean. The sunflower is a composite flower, which means that the head is made up of many tiny flowers (or florets). Some are ray flowers (the ones with the large yellow petals around the outside of the sunflower head), and some are disk flowers (the short tiny flowers in the center of the sunflower head). Each seed develops at the base of a tiny disk flower. The little flower dies while the seed grows. You might be seeing the remnants of the tiny flower by each seed.
But I'm thinking more likely you mean what is called the pappus, which for sunflowers, are two scale-like objects. These are a modified calyx of the disk flower; a calyx (made of individual sepals) protects the young flower and developing fruit (for sunflowers, the "seeds" are really fruit, called achenes). As I understand it, the two scaly pappus of the sunflower stick up around the developing seed but will fall off when the seed is ripe. In other types of flowers (not sunflowers), the pappus develops into a structure that will aid in seed dispersal, such as the silk of a dandelion seed, which is blown by the wind, or bristles that attach to passing animals.
For photos, see:

the little yellow things that

the little yellow things that fall off the head behind the seeds, what do they do?

we are growing a graden and

we are growing a graden and are school in brooking oregon can we plant sun flowers on the coast

Sure, you can grow sunflowers

Sure, you can grow sunflowers in Oregon. It's a little bit too late in the season to plant now, but as soon as the weather warms up in early spring you can plant the seeds.

dose it need any type of

dose it need any type of fertilizer and how much water dose it need and what temp dose it need when do i harest my planthow long dose it take to grow whare are most sunfloers grown

I see so many tall beautiful

I see so many tall beautiful sunflowers around, but I can not grow any taller than 2 feet with a small flower. What is the secret to growing big , beautiful sunflowers?

Sunflowers come in all shapes

Sunflowers come in all shapes and sizes. When you buy your seeds, check to see how tall the sunflowers are expected to grow. For enormous plants, look for mammoth sunflowers.

The secret is giving them as

The secret is giving them as much space as a tree, grow them in a bed as rich as you would for s veggie garden, and you'll get those bug beauties. I grow delightful 'prado reds, a gorgeous deep red species, they have stems bigger than my arms and over twenty five heads each, they're TREES! Lol. I love them, but the ones in my front yard have only cone up tiny, they REALLY need the root so pace and a whole lotta food. The best sunflowers I ever saw were growing out of a patch where the farmer stored hi us horse poo - VERY RICH SOIL! :-)

Can I plant my sunflower

Can I plant my sunflower indoors but on window panel?

Most sunflowers don't grow

Most sunflowers don't grow well indoors. They have large roots that need room to spread.

This is my first time growing

This is my first time growing sunflowers. I noticed they are getting brown spots on the leaves and brown around the edges, but they are beautiful aside from that. How do I keep the leaves from browning? Also, I am growing a couple in smaller planters but those have been dying over the last few days. What could I be doing wrong?

There are several types of

There are several types of sunflower diseases such as rust and mildew.  If you catch it early, spray with a general garden fungicide. Remove any seriously inflected plants. Otherwise, make sure your sunflowers aren't too crowded and have plenty of air circulation. If you need to, move them.

One of my giant mammoth

One of my giant mammoth sunflower’s stem broke in a storm. I planted the sunflower seeds May 21 directly outside. The head was already wilting with the flower pedals being dry, The back of the head is still green. I live in Zone 5b. I put the 2 feet long stem with the flower head into water and added Azomite to the water. The seeds are large, but white. Will the seeds finish their ripening? Thank you in advance.

Did you ever get an answer? I

Did you ever get an answer? I just had one off my sunflowers break the same way. Will it finish ripening?


Sadly not. My response was

Sadly not. My response was deleted as well and I assume this post will be deleted or modified.
It didn't finish ripening. I had it in the Azomite water for three weeks.

I have perennial sunflowers

I have perennial sunflowers in my butterfly garden. We've had a cooler than usual summer and lots of rain in zone 5b outside of Chicago. My sunflowers have bloomed, but now look terrible. The stalks are yellowed and very droopy and are laying against other plants that look wonderful. I'm wondering if it would hurt to cut them back now, or do I need to wait until after the first frost. I haven't had this problem in summers past when it was hot and dry. Thanks for your help!

Hi, DogFoodie: It's perfectly

Hi, DogFoodie: It's perfectly OK to cut them back now. Be sure to save the seedheads for wildlife now or the (dried) seeds for yourself to plant next year (if you don't have a hybrid).

Thank you! I'm on it! I

Thank you! I'm on it! I just came in from outside after getting caught up in some mindless weeding after another downpour this afternoon. No better time to weed! I'm shocked by how spent several of my pants look this year. The sunflowers will be out of there tomorrow. The buddleia will be grateful for the breathing room!




Hi, Edward: Make sure your

Hi, Edward: Make sure your SFs are getting a lot of sun -- like at least 6 hours' worth a day. They also need to be moist, but in well-drained soil. Water them deeply (to encourage root growth), but not too often. And the soil needs to be fertile -- well-rotted compost mixed in works well. Monitor these things, and blooms should be on the way, at least next year anyway. Thanks for asking!

My large (3"dia.6ft)

My large (3"dia.6ft) sunflower broke off at the dirt level. Can I splint this back together, or possibly stick the raw stem deep in the ground, or would I just be wasting my time? She was just starting to flower.

If the stem is still attached

If the stem is still attached a bit it's easier to splint it back together with some tape. If it is not attached anymore the chances that it will recover are small. If you could have splinted it right away it may have had a small chance to heal. You can put the broken sunflower in a bucket of water and it may still flower for you.

We have a variety of

We have a variety of sunflowers. we are having issues with the stems snapping off at the top near the sunflower head..the size of the bloom does not seem to matter.... small ones are also snapping off...what could be causing this?

I know that there are bugs

I know that there are bugs the cut the heads off. I don't remember what they are called but you should research them. (:

i was just wondering.... i

i was just wondering.... i already harvested my sunflowers, i just want to know if they "reseed" themselves or if i need to take the stems out and reseed myself?

Thank You! :)

A sunflower will simply

A sunflower will simply reseed itself if you leave the flower head on the plant.
Or, you can collect the seeds to replant somewhere else.  Let the flower head die down. When the back of the flower head turns brown, you can remove it and let it dry out.
Cover the sunflower head with a brown paper bag during this process to protect the seeds from the birds. 

What month do the sunflower

What month do the sunflower seeds fall from the sunflower??

When should sunflower seeds

When should sunflower seeds be planted? i am mainly asking about the large 2-3 metre tall sunflower plants. Is July too late?

Hello, I was wondering if it

I was wondering if it is okay to transplant sunflowers once they've bloomed. I planted them in a bad spot (right in front of my front steps) and they are huge. I want to move them but keep them alive. They are just about to bloom.

Thank you!!

We have some volunteer

We have some volunteer sunflowers growing where our row was last year. This year we planted tomatoes in that area. The sunflowers are behind the tomato cages so we are just letting them be and grow on up. Our question is, is it safe for the sake of the sunflowers to take some of their huge bottom leaves off to make way for more light on our rapidly growing tomato plants? We have tons of tomatoes on, but they are not ripening and may be getting too much shade from the flowers. We do not want to damage the sunflowers, now that we have them.

Yes, you can remove some of

Yes, you can remove some of the sunflower leaves.

We have 2 huge sunflowers

We have 2 huge sunflowers growing right behind r tomato plants hanging over the tomatos. The tomatos will ripen slowly dont cut the sunflowers

we just got done reading

we just got done reading seedfolks and we are making a minuture garden. what should i use for the ground

We have removed the bottom

We have removed the bottom leaves up to 4 ft on our and they are 14 ft tall now they grew better when we did this anyway. We have the Russian mammoths

I have a couple large

I have a couple large sunflower heads that the petals have fallen off, and the seeds have mostly (except in the center) have turned black. But they aren't dry by a long shot, and I want to plant some of the seeds again as soon as possible to get some flowers in time for the fall season. How long should I wait? Should I separate some of the largest seeds around the edge of one of the flowers and dry them as soon as possible? Do they have to winter over?

Hello I received some Bush

Hello I received some Bush like sunflowers approx 3ft tall with many heads. Planted them in full sun and they are always drooping including leaves. Have tried to water to no avail. Did not water and drooped worse? Wonderingsince there nursery grown they may not be used to full sun or shallow roots? I am inmetro Detroit MI area.

Is there a difference between

Is there a difference between mammoth sun flowers and mammoth Russian sun flowers?

Yes there is a

Yes there is a difference...Russian mammoths grow taller than regular mammoth sunflowers

Yes there is a

Yes there is a difference...Russian mammoths grow taller than regular mammoth sunflowers

The Russian ones are very

The Russian ones are very invasive.

Just like the Russian

Just like the Russian government...very invasive ;)

Mature as in bloom?

Mature as in bloom?

What happens If you plant

What happens If you plant late into the season?

Hey there! Its June 21st here

Hey there! Its June 21st here in Ontario Canada.. Just wondering am I too late to plant my seeds if I plant them tomorrow?? I have several varieties of sunflowers and am hoping to get some flowers before summer is over!!

Hi Jenny, Look at your seed

Hi Jenny,
Look at your seed packages for maturity dates. That will tell you if there is time for the plants to grow and bloom before your weather turns cold. See our frost chart for first frost dates in your area.

Hi Jenny. I grow sunflowers

Hi Jenny. I grow sunflowers every summer here in Richmond, Virginia USA. The heat and humidity of our summers is tough on sunflowers unlike your wonderful location of Ontario. I've always heard that you can stagger planting of sunflowers (like 3 weeks apart or so) so you have them coming up well into the Fall. I have so many seeds I'm putting in more now even though it's extremely hot (I always overseed like crazy and then thin them). I say by all means plant them. In my experience when conditions are less than ideal my sunflowers just produce flowers early but don't reach full height. It's as though they are determined to have offspring (seed heads) before their demise. So plant! Yes! You'll have more seeds to collect for next year, too. Regards, and I wish I were in Ontario. I lOVE Canada, though I've only spent time in British Columbia. –Pam

Hello I'm 3 weeks in after

Hello I'm 3 weeks in after planting mamotth sunflower seeds and they have reached a height of about 7inches. I'm so excited and I really can't wait until they bloom! Just wondering about how long will it take for they to bloom, and about how tall they will be when they do ?

Mammoth sunflowers take about

Mammoth sunflowers take about 80 days to maturity. They will grow 9 to 12 feet tall. You may want to stake the flowers when they reach 6 feet.

So I bought two pots with 4

So I bought two pots with 4 sunflowers each, planting them two each spaced in a row. This means that I split up half a pot. I planted them on the sunny side of house, gave the new soil and planted flowers a little water at ground level, dampening. Potting soil was used along with the soil in the pots they were originally planted in. Today hit 90 degrees (Southwest Ohio). They're planted in a soil bed several inches away from the brick exterior of our house. They're looking a little wilted. Did I screw up in disturbing the roots as I split the four into two? Do they need more water due to being newly planted and new soil bed? Are they planted too close to the house? What should I do, please? I'd like to keep them happy. Thank you!

We live in sacramento,

We live in sacramento, california. Our plants are approximately 9 or 10 feet tall. However, no flowers yet. I have been watering every 2 days or so. I think I might be overwatering. Any idea's on why there isn't any flowers yet? Thanks.

It sounds like your

It sounds like your sunflowers may be stressed. They need moist, fertile soil that drains well. They should be getting at the very least, 6 hours of sunlight a day as well.

I plant2-3 acres of sunflower

I plant2-3 acres of sunflower seeds each year. What chemical can I use after the plants are up and growing?

For large production of

For large production of sunflowers, soil preparation (to avoid compact soil), row width, and proper seed distribution are major facts to prevent issues.
In terms of insects, it is best to watch the fields. Many insects are attracted to the field during flowering, including beneficials; therefore, insects should be properly identified before indiscriminately spraying. When insect problems develop, we advise you to contact your county extension agent or specialists for the recommended insecticides in your state.
In terms of most diseases, fungicidal protection is not normally economical; growing resistant varieties, if available, and using pest management practices is the best way to minimize losses.
In terms of weeds, early season control is what it is all about. Sunflowers can compete with weeds but not until they're more mature. Hopefully, you destroyed early emerged weeds prior to planting. Consider applying a herbicide (example: Treflan, Amiben). Sunflower seedlings are strongly rooted, so they can be harrowed (with a revolving hoe) during the 4 to 6 leaf stage. After they emerge, harrow should be done across the rows on a warm, sunny day to get best weed kill and little crop injury.

I planted sunflowers in a

I planted sunflowers in a long row as I always do but the problem is that there are a lot of space where nothing came up. Can I move the plants around so all the spaces are filled in? They are about 2 inches high.

We would not advise digging

We would not advise digging up the plants; it would be better to sow some new seeds; the staggered planting will grow in nicely. It might have just been too cold for germination. For a better rate of germination, try folding the seeds in a dampened paper towel and place in a plastic bag overnight. You could also try clipping the edge of the hard seed coat with some fingernail clippers to give it fast access to moisture.

We have a bird feeder that we

We have a bird feeder that we fill with black sunflower seeds. The birds make a mess of them; shells all over the place. In the dirt underneath, we have plants that are now about four feet tall with huge leaves but no flowers. Are these going to flower, or are they just weeds that need to be pulled?

It sounds like you have some

It sounds like you have some sunflowers growing. Let them grow a little taller and hopefully you'll have some blossoms. Save the seedheads to feed the birds next winter.

Spacing of sunflower want to

Spacing of sunflower want to know

Yes it will bloom, it's been

Yes it will bloom, it's been 3 years that I grow SF from birdseeds

i was given a pot of

i was given a pot of sunflowers that are still small but i was wondering if sunflowers are great for indoor plants near a window that receives alot of sun throughout the day? or do they need to stay outside

Most sunflowers don't grow

Most sunflowers don't grow well indoors. They have large roots that need room to spread. Plant your sunflowers outdoors.

I have lots of volunteer

I have lots of volunteer sunflowers and many natives also. Can I cut them back while they are small to encourage numerous stalks and more blooms? I live in Central Texas.

Typically sunflowers grow

Typically sunflowers grow only one stalk with a flower on top. There are multi-headed varieties that you can prune after the flowers fade. You may want to thin your plants so that they don't grow too close together.

I bought my sunflower seeds

I bought my sunflower seeds and the tiny pot from Amsterdam and planted all the 14 seeds in one pot because I thought they were supposed to be placed together. then they became really big and I placed the whole lot of them into a bigger pot. they outgrow the second pot already and I wanted to split them up but all their roots got tangled and I kind of had to break a lot of roots off to split them up. now the small ones that were covered from the sun by the other bigger ones are in another pot and the big ones are inside its original pot. will they survive even without majority of their roots?

Hello! Sunflowers are


Sunflowers are particularly sensitive when it comes to their roots. Many flowers are, but there are specific ones that do not like their roots bothered at all. The best thing to do is to leave them tangled so that you do not damage the roots and lose all of the flowers.

Typically it's better if you want to do transplants to by individual flowers in individual pots, so that when transplanting it is easier to leave the roots undisturbed.

Im growing my SF'S in 8"by24"

Im growing my SF'S in 8"by24" boxes with merical grow garden soil 1"deep about at 6-8" tall now some of the bottom leaves are now turning yellow im just wonder why? is this normal??

How deep are your boxes?

How deep are your boxes? Sunflowers have long roots and need lots of room to grow. How close are your seedlings? You may have to thin them. Also make sure that the soil is moist. See our advice about growing sunflowers from seed at the top of this page.

Hi we are in Illinois. When

Hi we are in Illinois. When we moved to our new home last summer the garden was full of blooming sunflowers (approx 5 feet tall). They stayed in bloom until about late Oct. We've had a harsh winter and I haven't touched the sunflowers or the soil since they dried up. The stalks are still standing in the garden. Will they re-bloom this summer or have I lost them? Is there anything I can do to help them re-bloom this summer? Thanks for any advice :)

Sunflowers die at the end of

Sunflowers die at the end of the season and need to be reseeded in the spring. Remove the old stalks, buy a couple of packages of sunflower seeds and plant directly in the garden. They are easy to grow!

Can I start my sunflower

Can I start my sunflower seeds in manure and plant them in garden soil later.

Composted manure is a great

Composted manure is a great medium for sunflower seeds. Depending on your soil, you may wish to add an organic slow-release balanced fertilizer, too. It's really best to direct sow seed directly into the garden, not transplant them.

I agree, most people do not

I agree, most people do not recommend transplanting because Sunflowers are particularly root sensitive, like morning glories. They tend to stop growing as well or die if their roots are damaged or disturbed. If you want to transplant use bio cells with individual cells for the seeds. then once they are about 3 " with their second sets of leaves you can gently remove from the cells and plant wherever you'd like.

But planting in a pile of compost lets the roots really spread out with no restraints so there's really no way to ensure you don't damage the roots and end up killing your flower.

Happy Gardening :)

Guys Don't use Bt Toxins on


Don't use Bt Toxins on sunflowers. Please. Sunflowers are some of our pollinators favorite plants. Spraying Bt on a sunflower head? BAD IDEA. If you get infested with little worms, let the birds eat them - cut the heads off and separate them from the rest of the crop; or cut the head and take it to your chickens or ducks. They will make very quick work of those worms. But don't spray poinson on sunflowers! Jeeez. What kind of Almanac advice is that???

According to organic

According to organic gardening experts, BT is one of the "safer natural pesticides you can use." See:
However, there is also concern about the overuse of Bt itself as an insecticide, especially for commercial crops, as well as concerns that it might play a role directly or indirectly in the colony collapse disorder of bees. Concentrating any pest control will affect nature's balance. There many other natural remedies, so we have decided to take out mention of Bt. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. 

I usually collect all the

I usually collect all the little pillers and larvae worms and fill the bird feeder. They go nuts. But it really keeps the birds around so that they start eating the insects themselves, instead of constant encouragement from me. Great advice :)

I also don't use commercial insecticides, mostly because I want to encourage natural control. I do at times use a garlic, cayenne pepper, onion spray, but it's entirely organic.

I have at least a dozen

I have at least a dozen seedlings growing in 4" peat pots right now indoors. The tall ones (~5") are drooping so I'm assuming they need more sunlight. I have a couple different varieties so some seedlings are only ~2-3". My question is, can I just plant the entire peat pot or do I need to take the seedling out of the pot? Or could I cut the bottom of the peat pot off and plant that? Do I plant as deep as the pot, or deeper? Thanks!

You can plant the entire

You can plant the entire peatpot. Make a hole in the garden, as deep as the pot and then cover the top with a little soil.

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your timely reply!

Maybe pot bound Jamie.Cut the

Maybe pot bound Jamie.Cut the bottom of one of the pots and see if the root is entwined,they are avid eaters.Get them in position as soon as possible and make sure you put the compost deep enough to make them forage for it. Best of luck, Albert

My girls and i planted

My girls and i planted sunflower seeds in empty egg shells as a easter craft. They sprouted, about 3 inches tall now and i transfered them into a big pot today. We live in east texas, very hot and humid. Should i keep them in the pot inside by an open window for sun, until they are bigger? Transplant them outside next summer?
Im new to taking care of plants. You site if very helpful. Thanks

You need to plant them in the

You need to plant them in the garden this spring. Sunflowers are annuals. Wait until the seedlings are a little bigger and then plant them outside.

About how big should i wait?

About how big should i wait? When will they grow an actual flower? The extream heat and humidity wont bother them? Thanks so much for the info

I live in a very hot area of

I live in a very hot area of california most days range from 90-115 summers. My sunflowers LOVE the heat. So I say as long as you water mornings or nights and do not overwater you're fine. Crush the eggshell a little and plant in your garden, you don't have to wait until next year. With the right conditions; water, nutrients, etc they grow fast and strong. Hope this helps <3

Happy gardening.

Ps. Be sure not to over crush the shell so that you damage roots. You just want to lightly crack so the roots can push against it and grow through.

Make sure the hole you dig in your garden is 2x the size of the egg shell and 2x as deep. This ensures that the roots have soft soil to spread out in without having to exert so much energy on growing.

I would like to grow

I would like to grow sunflowers in smallish pots with school children to sell at their school summer fair on 14 June. When should we plant them (outdoors, London, UK) so that we have plants ready to sell by then? What type should we buy? Probably not giant ones - we don't want them to be enormous when we sell them, just big enough that people will pay a pound or two for them!

Hello there, I'm planting

Hello there, I'm planting sunflowers for the time in west Texas.. Our ground is a little hard but not too bad. If begun loosening up the dirt but there are spots where grass grown and I'm having a hard time getting up all the grass in the spot I want to plant the seeds.. My question is, can I still plant sunflower seeds where grass is growing, and can I just add soil on top of the left over grass?

Try digging a deep area just

Try digging a deep area just where the seed will be planted; add compost and/or other soil amendments, and keep the soil loose. They like good drainage. Once established, the sunflower (if given the right nutrition, light, water, etc.) might be able to outcompete the grass, as it can develop deep roots. When it is a seedling, though, carefully remove as much grass as possible surrounding the sunflower. The more grass and other weeds that you can remove, the stronger your sunflower will be.
You can try smothering the grass in that area with a thick area of newspapers (with wood mulch on top, or just wet the newspapers with a hose every so often so that they don't blow away); this normally takes months, though. If you need to plant your sunflowers right away, you might try digging a wide, deep hole as best you can for the flower, adding the soil amendments and loosening the soil, then planting the seed, filling in the hole, and then covering the area with the thick newspapers, cutting out a small circle just where the seedling will emerge. It should cut down on any grass or weeds in that area.
Adding soil on top of the grass can help, but the grass will eventually poke through it, and it helps to get the soil nutrients deeper so that the sunflower's roots can more easily take advantage of them. But, gardeners have had great success growing sunflowers in raised beds, so as long as the added soil on top of the lawn is at least 6 inches or so, you will probably be fine. Just keep up with any weeds or grass that poke through.

I planted a sunflower seed

I planted a sunflower seed but it isn't growing. I water it regularly and it is in a place along a brick wall. Other kids have planted their sunflowers next to mine and around that area but all of theirs are growing. Why isn't mine?

You may need to plant a few

You may need to plant a few more seeds. Sometimes the seed can be bad or a squirrel or a bird may have found the seed.


Botanical Name: 


Plant Type: 

Sun Exposure: 

Soil Type: 

Flower Color: 

Bloom Time: 

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