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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We are considering planting

We are considering planting sunflowers this year. We are concerned with how they work around other plants. Can we plant sunflowers next to our sweet corn or cow peas? There will be 6ft between where the corn rows and the sunflowers.

Hi Kevin, Sure, you can plant

Hi Kevin,
Sure, you can plant sunflowers next to your corn and cow peas. Corn and peas/beans have traditionally been good companion plants and as long as you plant the sunflowers in separate rows and not among the corn it will be fine.

Hello! I'm a new gardener,

Hello! I'm a new gardener, and I planted two seeds in the same little container 4 days ago. They are both about 4 inches now, but they've flopped over! I tested the stems and they seem firm, and the leaves are a light green and don't seem shriveled. I've been lightly watering them just whenever the soil feels a little dry, maybe daily or once every two days. I live in a dorm, but I prop the pot up next to the window so they can get as much sun as possible. Is there anyway I can fix this "flopping" problem? Do they need support?

Hi! Did u ever get an answer

Hi! Did u ever get an answer to your sunflower stems "flopping?" I also did the same and that's happening to me!! I'm curious what was suggested to you. Thanks!

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.

Hi. Yes, sunflowers will

Hi. Yes, sunflowers will 'flop,' usually when they aren't getting quite enough sun and they are straining to get more sun-- the stems grow too thin. They may flop when overcrowded too. BUT, the easy fix it to give them a little support-- you can use skewers (those thin sticks people use when grilling). A big package is only about a dollar. Or just strong sticks, a little thicker than your sunflowers. Let the sunflowers lean against the sticks or tie them gently with a loop of yarn or string. If your sunflowers are still floppy when large graduate to bamboo sticks or stakes or whatever you can find. Some sunflowers have thick stems and are quite sturdy on their own. Good luck. With a little support they'll make it! –Pam

Hi, I just purchased American

Hi, I just purchased American Giant Hybrid Sunflowers, I am terrible with plants and flowers but my husband loves them. I was not sure how to plant this and looked it up after planting them, I planted them around a tree because these get 16ft tall and I want them to grow up the tree, I think I messed up because I planted sweet pea and other smaller flowers around it. Will they survive?

The only problem you may have

The only problem you may have is too much shade from the tree. Sunflowers need as much sun as possible. Planting sweet peas close to sunflowers is a good idea. They may use the sunflower stalk to climb on.

Ants is my problem, they're

Ants is my problem, they're eating my seeds.

It's not the ants eating the

It's not the ants eating the seeds. The ants are attracted to the aphids, so look carefully at your plant for pests. In a way, ants are protectors and the "good" bugs.

I got a question, Are Bees

I got a question, Are Bees attracted to sunflowers?

Bees LOVE sunflowers and most

Bees LOVE sunflowers and most daisy-shaped flowers. Plant a few to pollinate your garden!

A sunflower camped out in my

A sunflower camped out in my garden 2yrs ago,grew to a hight of 5ft with a head approx 7ins across.Since then,Miss Daisy has produced enough seeds to give not only me but my neighbours on both sides a wonderful display of sunflowers for the past two seasons,thanks on behalf of my neighbours and myself Miss Daisy xxx

I plant sunflowers every year

I plant sunflowers every year [California] with limited success as we have heavy clay soil and major amounts of sun [plus squirrels]. Any suggestions how to over come short of amending the soil which as yet hasn't been effective.

Sunflowers have deep taproots

Sunflowers have deep taproots so it is important to turn over the soil and add compost to at least 2 feet deep. They are also heavy feeders so adding a slow release granular fertilizer to the soil will benefit the plants. Instead of amending the soil you can try to grow sunflowers in deep containers.

I planted sunflower seeds

I planted sunflower seeds indoor a few weeks ago. All the sudden their leaves are turning yellow and flimsy. The tallest one is about 5". What should I do?

Make sure the seedlings get

Make sure the seedlings get enough sun. Don't overwater or let the soil dry out too much. Keep the soil evenly moist.

I have been growing "Russian

I have been growing "Russian Giant" sunflowers, and in order to make them very big, the packet said it should be propagated indoors in "early spring".
Slight problem - a month and a half later they are nearly 2 foot tall and growing at about an inch per day.
I can't keep them indoors much longer, and our greenhouse is only 6ft x 6ft and that will need to contain other plants as well.
Apparently they should be planted out after all risk of frost has past - but here that's nearly 2 months from now.
At what size can I plant them out safely - even if there will be a frost - and what can I do to protect them from frosts?

Hi Liam, You probably started

Hi Liam,
You probably started your seeds a little bit too early. You need to put the started flowers in a protected area so they don't get frostbitten. If the plants were shorter you could use floating row covers. You can put stakes all around the plants and then wrap clear plastic around the stakes to create a miniature greenhouse.

Is there a point at which

Is there a point at which they won't be bothered by the frost (I would be quite surprised if a 4-5ft sunflower could die from frost)???

In my home country you can

In my home country you can buy sunflower heads on the farmer's market and you can eat the seeds fresh, straight from the flower head. It is really good (in my opinion - my husband is not a big fan of the food like that).

At my mother in laws recent

At my mother in laws recent funeral there where some flower bouquets with a mixture of yellow roses & sunflowers. I have began drying the roses to preserve them but wanting to know if I should I dry the sunflowers too?
Thinking of using the seeds w/in the flower to plant outside but don't know if I should dry the flower, justpull the seeds out now, or if I'm way off I thinking this could haphappen

For sunflowers, it's easy to

For sunflowers, it's easy to save the seeds to plant in the ground for a new season of flowers! See this page for more information.

what is the best soil for

what is the best soil for growing a garden

How long, after you plant the

How long, after you plant the mammoth sunflower, does it take to see a sprout?

Germination time for large

Germination time for large sunflowers is generally 10 to 14 days.

hi, am Atakora from Ghana, am

hi, am Atakora from Ghana, am thinking of using our family land to grow sunflower in commercial quantity,the land is located along the Volta lake,sun type loamy,ph neutral,alkaline and the land side is over 178sqkm,what i want to know if there is any investor willing to do the business if me,or if there is any up who can introduce me to any contact

Hi, this may be a crazy

Hi, this may be a crazy question but I am running a charity auction and would love to use sunflowers for my centerpieces. The only problem is it is winter (snowing as I type) in NY. Can I grow any sunflowers indoors within a 6-7 week time period??? My budget isn't very large and I hate to use artificial ones they just don't look the same. My house is pretty warm always over 70 do you think it could be done indoors or would it have to be in a greenhouse????

Of all the flowers that

Of all the flowers that exist, sunflowers are probably the biggest sun lovers! You can start them in 4 inch peat pots indoors, but they need to move outside and require full sun!

We recently bought some

We recently bought some acreage in Western Iowa and hoping to plant a field of sunflowers. Currently it is prairie grass. Do I need to kill the prairie grass with an herbicide before planting sunflowers or can I just mow it down, till it up and plant a variety of sunflowers? I don't mind a "wild" look.

Sunflowers do well in prairie

Sunflowers do well in prairie fields in years that perennial weeds do not. In a sense, they are both competitors and also complement each other.
Here is a good page on preparing a field for sunflowers:
Keep in mind that pre-plant herbicides affect other prairie species.

I live in Connecticut and

I live in Connecticut and want to plant Sunflowers to be used for my son's wedding rehearsal dinner to be held at my home in late September.

When should I plant the seeds to try to have the flowers in bloom for September?

Love this site by the way -- helpful information.

As there are early and late

As there are early and late blooming types of sunflowers, just check the seed packets for different varieties and you should see "days to maturity" which will tell you how long it takes for the plant to grow from a seed to full bloom. Then back out from there.  We would stagger plantings to ensure you hit the right date, as weather conditions can vary and it's impossible to control weather!

Your question is exactly what

Your question is exactly what I wanted to ask. My son is getting married in Sept too and has a sunflower theme. . We live in Canada.

Sunflowers I really want to


I really want to do a few acres of sunflowers early next year,my questions is ? is it possible to replant sunflowers in the same garden after harvesting they first?
For now,my heart is just telling me to go in for it and i can't wait for the next spring.


You can save the seeds from

You can save the seeds from this year's crop and replant the seeds in the spring. See comments on this page about how to save seeds.

Could u please tell me the

Could u please tell me the cultivation procedure of sunflower?

1. Preparation of land.
2. choice of seed.
3. Use of fertilizer.
4. Irrigation for sunflower.
5. Per acre average of sunflower.

I m belong to pakistan. could u please advice to me how to get good average of sunflower per acre.

I have 28 acre land.

Thanks & regards,


I live in the country with

I live in the country with hot and humid climate.Is it suitable for planting some sunflowers?

And what is the sunflower lifespan?

Sunflowers like hot and dry

Sunflowers like hot and dry weather. I do hear the "Mexican Sunflower" does well.

When the season is over do

When the season is over do you cut the stalk off at the ground, or pull it completely out?

Pull the stalks out of the

Pull the stalks out of the soil with the roots. Save any mature flower heads with seeds for the birds.

Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your prompt reply!

Hi, your site is very

Hi, your site is very helpful. I just bought seeds in a small pot n soil about 3 weeks now n have a 4 inch plant. What exactly is infrequent and deep watering? I water my baby every morning. Also, would it continue to grow in the small pot or do I need to transplant? I've had no prior instructions, those on the kit were in Chinese. Please help!

Your sunflower needs a bigger

Your sunflower needs a bigger pot for the roots to develop. Water when the soil dries out.

It's the middle of October in

It's the middle of October in upstate NY and my giant sunflowers' seeds are still white. Will the seeds darken if I cut the seed heads now, before the first hard frost and/or snowfall?

You may remove the head early

You may remove the head early and allow it to dry indoors. See the harvesting section above.

My husband drives a semi and

My husband drives a semi and brought me a Walmart bag full of sunflower seeds that he scooped up at a truck stop. Some are sprouting already but it's October in Colorado so I'm not sure what to do with them. Should I plant them in the yard for next spring or will they freeze? Can I plant the sprouts in a pot inside over the winter?

Save those seeds until the

Save those seeds until the spring. Plant the seeds directly into the soil after all danger of spring frost is past and the day and night temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit; the ideal temperatures for growth are 70 to 78°F. Follow the instructions on soil and spacing above. Good luck!

I have several sunflowers in

I have several sunflowers in a bed along with a few pierie japonica euonymous shrubs. The shrubs are mysteriously dying. No wilt, just turning brown section by section until the whole shrub is dead. Could the sunflowers have anything to do with this, or is it just coincidence?

I guess the sunflower killed

I guess the sunflower killed the shrubs because they are together in one bed.the sunflower roots are said to be toxic when they planted together.

I recently took down all my

I recently took down all my gigantic sunflowers and the seeds are plump and white. Was this okay that I took them down? I have the heads hanging out in the basement hoping that the seeds will be ok to use for next year.

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.

So we planted a variety pack

So we planted a variety pack of sunflowers and a pack of mammoth sunflowers to make a sunflower house for our daughter. It was doing great until we had a huge thunderstorm come through and sent half of them to the ground. They were mostly all drooping anyway. I think I planted a bunch too close together which I will amend for next year. My question is I now have a bunch of the heads with the seeds but I don't think any of them are ready to harvest. We only cut the ones that had their stalks snapped by the rain. The seeds are big but they're white. How do I go about getting these ready to harvest? I'd like to save some for next year and have some to eat.

Before you harvest the seeds,

Before you harvest the seeds, the sunflower head must be completely dry. You can cut the heads off and dry them indoors or in a protected area. 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.

I bought a sunflower from the

I bought a sunflower from the farmers market here in my town. It was cut, and hanging for display. I bought it hoping it would produce seeds. But the head still had petals and was still a full flower at that point. Will my plant produce seeds, or should I just go out and buy seeds for next spring?

I would like to know I rubed

I would like to know I rubed off the yellow part on the sun flower will that hurt the seeds it was yellow on the backside I took them down an let them dry good thanks

Why does my sunflower have a

Why does my sunflower have a bloom at every leaf? Is that normal?

Single-stem sunflowers

Single-stem sunflowers produce one large bloom per plant. However, there are multibranching sunflowers that have multiple stems of flowers and bloom over a longer period.

We live in the country

We live in the country outside of Salem, Oregon. Our niece is getting married early July 2014 and wants sunflowers as her main flower for the wedding. I was wondering when we should plant them to have them ready to harvest at the right time. Thank You

Check the seed packets and

Check the seed packets and you should see "days to maturity" which will tell you how long it takes for the plant to grow from a seed to full bloom. Then back out from there.  We would stagger plantings to ensure you hit the right date.

Just wondering I live in

Just wondering I live in Wisconsin. Danger of frost is pretty imminant up until the end of May. Can I actually start them in pots inside to ensure that I have them for my July wedding?

I have some sunflowers

I have some sunflowers growing at my workplace and I was thinking about harvesting them for their seeds? I'm getting married this year and want to give our guests sunflower seeds as a party favour. When and how should I cut down the flowers? How long does it take to dry a head or do you let it dry on the plant? Curious to see if I could use seeds from these flowers for our wedding. Otherwise I'll just buy some from a gardening shop. Thanks for your advice. Andrew

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. You can cut the heads off and dry them indoors or in a protected area. 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.

all of my sunflowers are

all of my sunflowers are hanging and have died. do i harvest the seeds now, and can i pull the stalks out??? They are up over my fence, and theres lots of heads. What do i do??

You can leave the plants and

You can leave the plants and let the seeds dry on the plant. If you live in a region that is humid or gets lots of rain it's better to remove the heads and dry the seeds indoors. After you remove the heads you can pull the stalks up.

My over 10 foot tall

My over 10 foot tall beautiful sunflower's head has tilted over. Should I try to shore it up?

It is common that sunflower

It is common that sunflower blossoms on tall stalks get heavy and tilt over. You can leave it as is or try to stake the plant to protect it from wind and heavy rain.

my sunflower is up to my

my sunflower is up to my second story window, head is tilted down, not turning black yet/ weather here is 70's during the day and 40-50's at night. when will the seeds turn black? what do i do if it does not turn at all?

My favorite flower of all

My favorite flower of all times is the Sunflower.... ALL of them!!!! B-)

We used to have a birdfeeder

We used to have a birdfeeder out back until the racoons discovered it, so we took it down. The feeder had been there 15 years, so lots of seeds overflowed into a pile for years. This year we got a pleasant surprise when the sunflower plants began to grow. We now have one that's around 10 feet tall and exploding with flowers. I don't see what looks like a sunflower seed on any of the blooms. My question is how do we ensure we'll have sunflowers again next year in that same spot? Will they just sprout on their own or do we need to help? At what point do we cut the stalks down? Thanks so much!

Most sunflowers are annuals

Most sunflowers are annuals and do not grow back next year. If more seeds fall, however, they will germinate and grow again!

Thank you! We've enjoyed our

Thank you! We've enjoyed our sunflower plants so much that we'll just have to get some seeds into the ground next spring to ensure we have them again. Thanks!

Is there a way to preserve

Is there a way to preserve the sunflower head? We have a wedding in October and wanted to preserve the sunflowers from our garden for the wedding.
Thank you

Yes, you can preserve the

Yes, you can preserve the sunflowers using silica gel crystals. They should be available (with step-by-step instructions) at any craft store.

In Michigan, I grew some

In Michigan, I grew some mammoth's in my front yard with great success. They got 10 to 12 feet high with flowers. How deep do the roots grow on these?

To support the height of the

To support the height of the sunflower the roots grow very deep and spread out under the soil. Some sunflower roots grow 4 to 5 feet deep.

I just purchased sunflower

I just purchased sunflower seeds and had questions which have mostly been answered by the forum above. However; I have one question I hope you can help with: I live in San Diego County, CA with year around growing and blooming. Will my future sunflowers keep blooming or do they have a cut off date for blooming? Also, I am sowing the seeds along my driveway which has continuous sunshine so I am wondering what else I need to plant in that particular spot with the sunflowers to avoid the "bald" look after the end of the sunflowers. I was rather hoping I would have sunflowers forwever....

Sunflowers go through a cycle

Sunflowers go through a cycle of growing, blooming and setting seeds. After the seed heads have developed you can save the seeds and remove the plants. To have continuous bloom you need to stagger the plantings. Plant seeds about every 10 days. Try different varieties. Plant tall sunflowers in the back and shorter varieties in the front. Good luck!



Yes, definitely. Keep the

Yes, definitely. Keep the biggest and eat the est. Then plant in a different spot next year.

One of my sunflowers that was

One of my sunflowers that was in full bloom is missing! It was snapped off right under the flower base. Who or what would do that? I can't find it anywhere.
This is a big puzzle for me.

Lots of animals enjoy eating

Lots of animals enjoy eating sunflowers such as deer, rabbits, skunks, raccoons, and squirrels.

I have several mammoth sun

I have several mammoth sun flowers and the first one to bloom had drooped and started turning yellow. The seeds were large and have a grey stripe. I cut the head and am drying it but when I open the hull, I see no kernel? I have checked in different spots. How can this happen?

Seeds are ready for harvest

Seeds are ready for harvest when the backs of the sunflower heads have turned brown. Sometimes you have to wait for frost. Also, the heads have to be completely dry before harvesting seeds.

i have planted all sorts of

i have planted all sorts of seeds some potted and some in soil. I have rows of them some needed help because of too much wind and rain , next year willl relocate them , but o only see one tall one and the rest dont look like they will bloom. did i do something wrong? too much messing with them from keeping them from not falling , and when you say cut them do you cut the bad leaves off?

Some varieties bloom later in

Some varieties bloom later in the summer. Make sure that the plants get enough sun and have good support. You can remove the brown and wilted leaves. You can cut the sunflower heads off when the seeds are starting to dry or leave them on the plants for the birds to enjoy. In the fall remove the plants and start with new seeds next spring.

i have ginormous sunflowers

i have ginormous sunflowers the heads are when they're all dried up do you pull all of it out of the ground? i can see why you could use the stock for kindling. thanks good iinfo!!

Assuming you have an "annual"

Assuming you have an "annual" sunflower: After the big sunflower heads droop down, the seeds will dry out and you can harvest them or watch the wildlife enjoy them. Once it's done, you can pull the plant if you wish.
For perennials (which come back), you'd cut back the foliage after frost kills it back.

We planted the sunflower

We planted the sunflower about 2 months ago too close to our porch and need to move it. It is HUGE. Will we kill it by trying to move it? If not, how do we do it?

The sunflower is probably a

The sunflower is probably a hybrid and won't transplant if it's nearly grown. Sunflowers are annuals so it won't last beyond this season. Just plant new seeds next season in the preferred location.

Mt first year planting

Mt first year planting sunflowers. I have a few varieties.I noticed the blooms did not last very long. Do I cut the dead bloom off? Do more blooms grow from cutting? there are several more blooms starting down the plant. Just unsure how to attend to flowers who have lost their petals. Leave them or cut them? Thanks

The sunflower has one head.

The sunflower has one head. The flower generally lasts a while. Generally, the bloom lasts a few weeks. When it dies down, you can simply snip the head off the plant if you wish. Many people like to harvest the sunflower seeds. The heads will be ready to harvest when the back of the head has turned brown. After you snip the head, rub the seeds out by hand.

My wife and I have several

My wife and I have several sunflowers that grew any where from 15 to 30 heads, we call them mutant sunflowers. Cool huh.

My sunflowers have more than

My sunflowers have more than one head. They have 3. One large bloom, and 2 smaller blooms immediately behind it. They are an heirloom variety. Should I be snipping off the larger bloom when it starts to sag? Or leave it there until its completely dried up? If so, will this inhibit the growth of the smaller blooms behind it? I noticed the large blooms aren't lasting very long. Is this normal?

It will help the smaller

It will help the smaller flowers if you snip off the big flower head when it starts to wilt. If you want seeds leave it on the plant.

I'm having my wedding august

I'm having my wedding august 1st next year and would love to do sunflowers. what type of sunflower would be in full blossom at that time?

There are many many varieties

There are many many varieties of sunflowers--from container size to mammoth.  Planting sunflower can begin anytime after soils have warmed to 50°F. If planted in early June, the large sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.) in our area will be in full bloom after about two months in early August. For the timing of your wedding, you probably want to find a midseason bloomer versus an early or late bloomer. Check the seed packets to get an idea of how long it takes to get a plant into full bloom. Then back out from there.  We would stagger plantings to ensure you hit the right date.

ya my class played sunflowers

ya my class played sunflowers again because are other owns died last year

My grandson has grown from

My grandson has grown from seed two sunflowers, they are in a small pot, I said I would repot it for him. What type of pot do you sugest ?

You need deep pots so that

You need deep pots so that the roots have room to grow. Make sure that the pots have drainage holes.

I have grown sunflowers for

I have grown sunflowers for many years but...

The last three years they are not doing well no matter what type I plant. Most of the flowers have very few petals. Some have petals on one side of the flower but not the other. They also do not have as many flowers. But the deformity of the petals is the real problem. Any ideas?

Over-watering sunflowers can

Over-watering sunflowers can sometimes cause deformed seed heads. But it sounds more like a disease or an insect problem. Sunflower seed maggots can get into the buds and deform the flowers. Check your flowers for bug activity.
Aster yellows is a disease that is spread by six-spotted leafhoppers and can result in misshapen heads and petal formation.
Try crop rotation next year by planting your sunflower seeds in a different spot in your garden where you haven't grown them before.

I am glad I found this forum.

I am glad I found this forum. My kids all wanted to feed the birds so my husband bought them some bird seed mix. And about 2 weeks after they started to feed the birds I noticed A single Black Russian Sunflower growing and tons of barley. LOL I was just curious as to what it was supposed to look like and a general maturing range. It stands about 4'9". It has done pretty well on its own. I do water it some but it does not seem to like a lot of water. Thank you for all the tips and updated. :-)

Black Russian is a native

Black Russian is a native sunflower with a big beautiful flower. You may need to stake the plant when the flower matures. It matures in about 65 days and the seeds are edible.

My winter birds left a

My winter birds left a present for me this year by leaving the best of the sunflower seeds to grow for me this summer. What a surprise! the flowers are about 7" wide and full of sunflower seeds. They are hanging low and heavy and I was wondering if I could cut the top flowers off (and hang them upside down to dry as I read earlier in a post) as there are new flower sprouts on the lower part of the stalk. Thank you so much for your time and help.

If the seeds look mature you

If the seeds look mature you can cut the flowers off and hang them to dry. This will help the other flowers on the stalk to grow bigger.

I have two sunflower plants

I have two sunflower plants that were doing very well, with one large flower and several smaller ones. But, the pots were very small so we repotted them into larger containers. Immediately, the large flowers closed and we thought it was due to the repotting and they'd reopen. They have not. Now, they appear to be drying out and dying. All flowers are dying. Leaves appear to be yellowing and drooping. What happened? What can we do to revive the plants? Help Please!!

Why you did delete my

Why you did delete my question here ? I try to ask question and hope you understand what I said and I have hard to explain to say something my grammar cause I'm deaf, I tried to ask you for question about my sunflower seed, please I need help that's all and this is my first time for sunflower seed plants I don't have experience before, please help to understand and I will be happy to take care of it, Thanks

Nick, We apologize if your

Nick, We apologize if your comment was deleted. Sometimes, it's easy to hit the wrong button. We are not clear what your question is. The page above provides information on how to grow sunflowers. If you have a specific problem, we and the Almanac community are happy to try and help. 

I'm not clear what being deaf

I'm not clear what being deaf has to do with reading with your eyes. Read this page. It's an introduction to tell you how to grow sunflowers.

hello, It's interesting to


It's interesting to note that it says to make sure not to water too much, but my sunflowers are droopy if I skip a day, One in particular seems to be a prima donna, if I don't water her everyday, she gets droopy. I'm not sure what variety they are, but they have many smaller flowers (about 4-5 inches) and are about 5 foot tall right now. there also seems to be some type of insect that is eating the leaves, I'd like to figure out how to get rid of them! thanks!

Moths, beetles, and weevils

Moths, beetles, and weevils all eat sunflower plants. Try spraying the leaves with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. You can also try wiping or spraying the leaves with a solution of water and a few drops of mild liquid dish soap.

This is our 2nd year planting

This is our 2nd year planting Russian Mammoth and giant mammoth sunflowers. 1st year very successful, thus year, so so. Our flower heads have grown nice and big, but they are so heavy they are drooping and the stalk hasn't grown as thick. Any reason why this happened???? Help.

The first question has to be:

The first question has to be: are the sunflowers in the same spot they were last year? If so, that's the source of your problem. Like edible plants, sunflowers benefit from crop rotation. This results in fewer bugs and diseases, and more nutritious soil.

First time I have done

First time I have done sunflowers in my garden
.Almost 10 ft high. I wonder when will they bloom or how tall will they get? i did this from seed. Its been fun.

Great! We love sunflowers,

Great! We love sunflowers, too.  There are many varieties with different heights and bloom time. It's perfectly normal for sunflowers to be late bloomers. Check the seed pack to see the "days to maturity" to know when they'll bloom. As a first-timer, it may also help you to read the comments below.

First time growing from seed!

First time growing from seed! planted in june- today aug 18- one bloomed! about 4ft plant-otherone is 6 ft hasnt bloomed yet-its been fun-watching and watering them- sunny florida here

This is my first year with

This is my first year with sunflowers and so far I have about 80 buds on three different plants.6 flowers are opened but one is losing its petals is this normal?

There are a variety of

There are a variety of reasons why petals may dropping. Some of the flower varieties do not last long. As soon as the bees pollinate the flowers, the petals fall off.

My birds plant all my

My birds plant all my sunflowers. I have one that has about 16 flowers on one stem. Is this unusual ? It's awesome.

We often have sunflowers

We often have sunflowers spring up in our pathways near the bird feeder! Birds drop the sunflower seeds on their way to/from the feeder and leave these lovely surprises. Sunflowers really do grow easily in the right conditions. Enjoy!

My sunflower plants are about

My sunflower plants are about 7 feet tall and have not bloomed yet. Is there something I should be doing for them to bloom? I live in Michigan.

Some varieties don't bloom

Some varieties don't bloom until late summer. Check your seed packet for days to maturity. Most sunflower varieties have a maturity between 75 and 110 days. Also, do not overdo the nitrogen fertilizer because that will delay flowering.

I'm growing a sunflower in my

I'm growing a sunflower in my garden, it's about 3 feet tall and it has no flower yet, I've noticed that when more leaves grow higher, the lower down ones die, is this normal?

Yes, it's normal for lower

Yes, it's normal for lower leaves to die as the plant puts energy into growing. Make sure your sunflowers aren't being watered too much or having drainage issues.

I planted several sunflowers

I planted several sunflowers and this morning I found all the top leaves gone! (They are 10

inches tall). The stems are still intact but can the plant still grow without the top leaves?

It sounds as if you have deer

It sounds as if you have deer in your area? They love the tender leaves at the top. We can't predict its survival but we can tell you to get deer fencing if you want to protect your sunflowers!

my kids have some sunflowers

my kids have some sunflowers (they were having a sunflower'race'!)which were growing inside. however they are now about 8ft tall and I have had to put them outside - still in their pots as don't have the ground to plant them.
1. will they survive? they seem a bit flimsy!
2. there are 4 plants, but in transporting them, one bent double cracking the stem. It has been splinted and has survived for a couple of days so far, but can the survive this?

many thanks for any advice offered.

Great idea to have a

Great idea to have a sunflower race!! Can you support the stems somehow? Put them against a fence or a wall, or put stakes in the ground and tie string to the stakes. The splinted sunflower may survive but it all depends on how big the crack is.

if u have no place to plant

if u have no place to plant them then get the biggest pots you can find

The top of my flowers are

The top of my flowers are being cut off, as though with a pair of shears. The plants are about 2-3 feet tall. Doesn't appear to be by birds, and aren't many deer around. Any thoughts ?

There are many critters and

There are many critters and insects that love sunflowers. Squirrels, woodchucks, possums and raccoons all can destroy a row of sunflowers quickly. Stem weevils and longhorned beetles can do damage to the stalks. Do you see any signs on the ground of chewed sunflower?

I need sunflowers that will

I need sunflowers that will be in flower in 60 days. My daughter in getting married in 60 days, we planted sunflowers and they were about 2 1/2 feet tall. When the farmer that owns the field next to them sprayed his crops they got sprayed as well. Now I need some that will be in bloom in 60 days, that is what she wanted for the background.

There are many varieties that

There are many varieties that mature in 60 days or less. Firecracker (55days), Big Smile (50-60 days) and all the ProCut varieties are quick maturing (50-60 days). Go to an online seed catalog and search for sunflowers. Good luck.

I just bought about 20

I just bought about 20 sunflowers that are about 2 ft hi and have 1 flower on top and more buds just opening.I planted them between my chain link fence and my driveway. It has been 90 and humid in Albany NY all week. The leaves are drooping every day so I have been watering them every day. The top flower on most look like they are dying. Should I just cut them off?? It'll break my heart if I kill them.

Keep watering. If the flowers

Keep watering. If the flowers on top don't recover cut them off and hopefully the other buds will open and be OK. Your plants need a bit of time to get used to the heat and new location.

Hello I enjoyed your article

Hello I enjoyed your article on the Sunflowers.
Learned a lot from your information .
I have hundreds growing under the bird feeder.
I pick some of them and put in salads.
I heard they are very good for you.
Thank you

Loving sunflowers I sowed

Loving sunflowers I sowed sunflower seeds for the birds. Over fifty have grown to now blooming. Most have only one flower but I have one sunflower stalk that has a dozen blooming flowers! How did this happen or why did one out of all to have twelve blooms on one stalk? It is amazing and can't wait for this one to open all its blooms out. Gina

There are many varieties of

There are many varieties of sunflowers. They are either single-stem or multi-branched plants. Branching types, also known as multiflowering, produce multiple stems and lots of flowers. A stray branching sunflower seed must have been mixed in with your single-stem seeds. Enjoy the bonus flowers!!

we are just growing a

we are just growing a sunflower seed is is about 4 inches but it has 2 stems why will it be ok
thank you

I work at an assisted living

I work at an assisted living facility as an activity coordinator in Florida. I picked up a few "Grow A Sunflower in a can" as a fun project to do with my residents. It consisted of a can with a pull tab on the bottom and a pull off top. Inside was the soil( which was the consistancy of flakes) and a bag of seeds. We placed the cans in pots. They have been in our windowsill for a month now. They are about 6 inches growing outward. My questions are I have heard of them leaning toward the sun, but are they supposed to be growing out? (Each plant has about 3-4 four stems.) When and how do I replant them along our fence? Do I need to completly remove the mulch after planting?

Carefully remove the

Carefully remove the sunflowers from the cans without breaking the roots and plant outside in the soil. Sunflowers have long roots and will benefit from growing outside. You can mulch around the plants to keep weeds down and keep moisture in the soil. Good luck!

I just bought a sunflower

I just bought a sunflower from a nursery, and once I planted it the petals dried up and and fell off! I planted it just as I was told, and I have no idea what happened. They said, "Come August this will really take off! Just plant it and it will thrive." Well, I planted it and it's definitely not there any hope? Its leaves and stem look healthy.

It sounds like the problem

It sounds like the problem may be your soil. Sunflowers are heavy feeders. If you try again, work some slow release granular fertilizer into the soil.

Hello my mom bought me a pot

Hello my mom bought me a pot of tiger eye rudbeckia sunflowers about three weeks ago and unfortunately are not doing very well. I live in a high rise building. I try to let them get as much morning sun as they can when it sets in the morning. We have been getting a lot of rain storms lately and I'm sure that can't be good for them. I have been watering once a week. Still they seem to not be very happy. Need help please!!

You have the right instincts.

You have the right instincts. Sunflowers need lots of sunshine and they are also love heat and tend to be hot, dry-weather plants. For that reason, they really do prefer to be outside in all the sun and heat. Do you have a balcony that allows the plant to get sun on all sides? If you are going to grow your sunflower in a pot, it's best to have a pot at least 15" deep because they like to send their roots out. In a container, you may need to water more than once a week; make sure the soil is moist not soggy; notice when the leaves start to wilt as this means it's thirsty. To perk it up, give the plant about a half dose of fertilizer food every other week.

When you cut a sunflower from

When you cut a sunflower from the stem, do you leave the stem in the soil for further blooms?

Whether or not a sunflower

Whether or not a sunflower reblooms depends on the variety. Mammoth sunflowers do not rebloom.

So I have been growing potted

So I have been growing potted Sunny Smile sunflowers for my wedding centerpieces. I have over 140 in various stages of life in a small greenhouse right now, the bulk of which are starting to peek yellow. Once these little guys flower, how long do I have before they die off. If I keep them fed and watered will the blooms hold through the wedding in 6.5 weeks?

Congratulations on your

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.
It looks like you picked the perfect variety of sunflowers, Sunny Smile, because they have the ability to bloom year-round if temps stay above 60 degrees F, regardless of day length.

I just wanted to say how

I just wanted to say how amazed I am at how fast the Mammoths grow! I just planted a packet of Burpee Mammoths last Sunday, and today little seedlings have popped their two leaves up and out of the ground! I guess all the hot weather we've had up here in NJ is very favorable to them.

I have some that are almost

I have some that are almost 10 feet tall. This has been a great experience growing these giant flowers that make the whole neigborhood smile. I have yellow and red ones.

some of my sunflowers seem to

some of my sunflowers seem to bend leaning towards the sun. they are in some large pots and about 7" tall. if I spin the pot 180° they seem to lean the opposite way again towards the sun. is this normal activity for mammoth type sunflowers?

Yes, it is normal for

Yes, it is normal for sunflowers to "follow" the sun.

In fact, the French word for

In fact, the French word for sunflower is tournesol, meaning turn to the sun.

hi i bought some moonwalker

hi i bought some moonwalker sunflower seeds for our daughters and we did not seperate the seeds and we put them in a really small container and now surprisingly there are about six of them all grown close together and their about 10 inches tall and we just transplanted them in the ground do you think that they will continue to grow good that close together basically seems like on one root

If you keep the sunflowers

If you keep the sunflowers clustered, you will probably get taller stalks but smaller heads. It's fine to sow them in a clump, but you'll want to thin them to 3 or 4 for size. If you want a giant, them them to 2 plants at 1 foot tall. It's up to you!

hi this is chelsea again my

hi this is chelsea again my sunflowers are still growing well they are almost 2 feet tall now and i was wondering when they might bloom they have been in the ground for a little over 2 and half weeks

My son planted a sunflower

My son planted a sunflower seed from a package of the flavored kind you eat (Davids) to our amazement it's growing. It's about 12 inches tall right now, honestly we didn't think it would grow. He must have a green thumb cause I can't keep plants alive

My plants are about 2 inches

My plants are about 2 inches tall and some are tipping over.Is this normal?

Container has no holes in bottom

I bought a little kit for growing sunflowers to plant with my son. It included the seeds, dirt, and a small container (12" x 6"). We planted, and like an idiot I didn't even think to look for drainage holes. They are now planted and the seedlings are about an inch tall and look great, but they are constantly wet because the container has no drainage holes. I've left them out in full sunlight, hoping to dry the soil, but its not working. I'm afraid to transfer them yet because I would think its too early and that I would damage the roots. I know nothing about gardening, and can't seem to keep anything alive, despite a deep desire to be an avid Gardner. I was hoping this year would be different. Please help! Thanks!

Carefully move the soil and

Carefully move the soil and seedlings to a bigger pot with drainage holes. The roots are not that big yet and you should be able to transplant without problems.


it needs to tell the cost and also where it can be found like the zones and things like that. It also needs to tell the Pros (the good things about it. and the Cons (the bad things about it)


Sunflower seeds can be bought at almost any store in the garden section. They cost any where from 1 to 5 dollars and the only cons I could foresee would be if you don't like birds and wildlife, because these flowers will attract them . Happy planning!:-)

I Live SouthouthCarolina And

I Live SouthouthCarolina And Wanted To Know If It's To Late To Plant Some Sun Flowers For My Honey Bees ?

new plant

My son has plantd a sunflower seed at nursery and at the moment its a long green stem with 2 leaves at the top. It sometimes leans to one side, what should i do?

it just needs some support

Put a bamboo stick next to it or a steak it can lean on it or you can tie is with pantie hose loosly

Supporting the stem

I would use a dowel rod to support the stem with yarn or some soft string.


you could put a stick in the ground to hold it up, and secure it with some twine or string

stink bugs

I grew beautiful sunflowers last spring her in Florida, they were 12 feet tall. One of the issues I had were stink bugs burrowed into the heads of the flowers. What can I use to treat them this year to prevent them from coming back?

It's great that you are being

It's great that you are being proactive. You have to deter stink bugs before the population grows or there is not a lot that you can do. In early spring, you could set out traps in trees and bushes where emerging bugs will head to mate. (Google search for "rescue stink bug traps.) You can swipe all the egg masses from under the leaves into soapy water (wear gloves). You can spray insecticidal soup directly on any bugs you find. All the best!

Stink bugs!

They are probably eating insect eggs.
I just learned this year that they are predatory insects.

Use a notepad app on your

Use a notepad app on your phone or even carry a real notepad with you.
Looked at this way, the three types of hypnosis are: Traditional
hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic
Programming (or NLP for short). Let's find out what makes some bedsheets softer
when compared with others.

wedding on September 7th

I'm having a wedding in ohio sept 7th when would I want to plant sunflowers to have blooms on my wedding date?

Look at the dates to maturity

Look at the dates to maturity on the back of the sunflowers seed packet and back up from there. But note that seeds can not be planted any earlier than the time when your soil temperature has reached 55 to 60 degrees F.

hello,my teacher says we have

hello,my teacher says we have to plant a sunflower seed over half term,and we could win a chocolate bar, so how do you look after a sunflower? and i need to have the tallest,please help me?

I would buy the Mammoth seeds

I would buy the Mammoth seeds and plant them in individual pots in full sun. I have one that is about 12 feet tall right now and is just getting ready to open. Can't wait! You will probably need to support it with a stick and string because they like to lean when they start getting tall. Their heads bow naturally.

I have about 20 sunflowers in

I have about 20 sunflowers in my yard. Many of them have bloomed but some of them haven't opened yet. I planted them in March--I live in Florida. I would get them in the ground no later than May or RIGHT NOW if I were you. Many of them should be ready by Sept. They usually take about 90 days to flower from germination. Try buying starters to get a head start.

Pet Problems

My cat has been eating all my sunflowers and I tried everything. What should I do?

Sunflowers are not toxic to

Sunflowers are not toxic to cats according to the ASPCA. However, to discourage cats from eating your plants, you might try putting a lemon gel air freshener in the pot or just beside it. Cats don't like the smell of citrus.
Also, you might try training techniques, such as squirting the cat with a spray of water from a spray bottle if it's caught digging. (Be patient--behavior training takes time. Some cats will just become more frisky with this method, thinking it a game!)
Provide your kitty with its own cat grass or catnip plants to discourage interest in the houseplants. Seed kits for these plants can be found at pet stores or some grocery stores.
Set houseplants in areas that are not easily accessible to your cat--hang them up or set them on higher shelves.
Cover the soil of larger plants with decorative rocks.
Good luck!

cats having their way with flower pots

I tried something different that worked for my cat. I placed mouse traps in my flower pots. It didn't take but just a couple snaps and no more cat in the flower pot.

Mouse traps to deter cat

Couldn't that have harmed your cat?

mouse trap to deter cat

Ive tried this trick, put a full piece of paper over the trap, the cat will still trigger it but wont get caught

But what if.......the cat's

But what if.......the cat's paw or whiskers could get it. Does not seem 100% safe.

cats and sunflowers

Cats seem to be attracted to sunflower pollen about as much as they are to cat nip. I also grow raspberries and roses. When I prune the rose and raspberries I save the branches to use as a barrier for animals I want to stay away from my plants. That also works on rabbits and cats that want to eat or dig kitty litter boxes in your flower beds or garden beds. Also a slight sprinkling of red pepper or a spray made from habenero/garlic works for most animals even cats.

add black pepper powder to

add black pepper powder to your sunflowers and to the the soil, no more cats!

seed question

Brand new gardener here! I was given sunflower seeds and I was wondering: when planting them, is it only 1 seed per hole on the ground?? Or multiple?? Thanks!!

Plant 3 seeds per hole. Then

Plant 3 seeds per hole. Then thin sunflower to one plant per hole at 4 true leaf stage.

starting sunflowers indoors

I plan on growing sunny smile sunflowers in pots for my wedding july 27th of this year. I started a test batch of 10 1/21/2013...8 germinated and have been placed into 4 inch pots. The leaves were growing nicely but have stopped recently. They are on a mat warmer with flourescent lights overhead. I moved the lights up some today as the flowers were close. Could that be why the gowth has stagnated? Nothing to reach for? Or could I be over watering?

sunflower seedlings

Keep the light about 6 or so inches above the seedlings; no more than 12 inches above. Turn the light off each night, after the seedlings have had about 12 to 14 hours of light for the day.

After the seedlings were transplanted into the 4-inch pots, there might have been a pause in upper growth while the plants focus on developing roots. Also, sunflowers do not like transplanting, so they may be recovering from their relocation to a larger pot. Sowing seeds in peat pots, newspaper pots, or other biodegradable container helps to avoid shock, as you can transplant them directly (pot and all) into the ground without disturbing the roots.

Also check that the temperature is appropriate (about 70 to 80F), and that there aren't any drafts: too cold or hot may delay growth. The seedlings need consistent water, but do not over water, as this may invite disease.

Hope this helps!

Thank you! The light was much

Thank you! The light was much closer than that. I sowed the seeds in little peat pods and put those entirely into the pot with the potting mix. I think its a temperature issue. The plants are under lights in the basement and its chilly. I will find a warmer spot!

sunflower seeds for planting

Are the sunflower seeds sold for wild bird feeders appropriate for planting also? I want to grow the plants for the birds and for fertilizer at the end of the season.

Glenys, Grandview, Texas

sunflowers and bird seed

Sunflower seeds from bird seed can be planted in the garden if they have not been hulled or otherwise treated. You need the entire seed, including the outer shell.

Planting from seed packets, on the other hand, will give you more options as to the type of sunflower--height, petal color, size of seed head, etc. (Also, the taller the variety, the more vegetation you'll likely have for fertilizer/compost.)

Growing new sunflowers

Can we harvest our sunflowers seeds and then plant again next summer? Thanks!

Yes. Remove the sunflower

Yes. Remove the sunflower seeds from the flower heads and dry them on paper towels in a warm place. Put the seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry storage place.

rustic Sunflower wedding

You might have answered my question in a previous reply to another person. I am having a country Rustic wedding in the first week of October. when is the earliest i can plant my sunflower seeds ?

rustic Sunflower wedding con;t

I also live in north Florida if that makes a diffrence

Sunflowers are perfect for

Sunflowers are perfect for Florida. You'll plant seeds in the summer for fall bloom. You need to look at the seed packet and just back out the number of days to maturity as it depends on the cultivar (type of sunflower) that you choose. Autumn Beauty takes 95 to 100 days. Other cultivars have shorter schedules.

June Wedding

I am getting married in June (22nd) of this year and we are planning on growing our sunflowers for the wedding. When would be the best time to plant them?

Look at the dates to maturity

Look at the dates to maturity on the back of the sunflowers seed packet and back up from there. But note that seeds can not be planted any earlier than the time when your soil temperature has reached 55 to 60 degrees F.

in a cold -1 degree

how can i save my sunflower dying in a cold temperature?is there any chance if i move it indoor?

cold and sunflowers

Most common sunflowers are annuals, which only live one year. If you have one of these, it is unlikely to do well indoors if you bring it in when temperatures gets colder, since at that time the plant is likely nearing the end of its life cycle. Plus, the added stress to the plant due to the move (unless, perhaps, it is already in a container) may shorten its days even more.

Some people have had success growing sunflowers inside in winter under fluorescent lights in a warm spot. (These plants were grown as houseplants, and hadn't ever been outdoors.)

In warm climates, sunflowers sometimes can be planted outside for bloom in winter, although they may not be as vigorous as summer plants.

Perennial sunflowers will die back in winter and re-sprout in spring. Normally for these, you wouldn't have to bring it indoors when it gets cold. In fall, after the plant has died back, cover the soil with mulch to protect the roots over winter.

october wedding

I am trying to plan a wedding for middle to late October and want to plant a field of sunflowers that will be bloomed well about that time. I live in north Georgia. When would I need to plant them and is there a specific type that would do best? I preferably want the ones that have Orange in them as well.

Science Plant Girl

You should plant them in about mid-august .

Planting dates.

you must be talking about in the south, i'm in PA.

Sunflower wedding

We want to plan our wedding around the sunflower harvest. Can anyone tell me when in August is best to plan for?

Look at the dates to maturity

Look at the dates to maturity on the back of the seed packet and back up from there. But note that seeds can not be planted any earlier than the time when your soil temperature has reached 55 to 60 degrees F.

When should I plant in WA.

I want to plant a lot of Sunflowers along my fence. All sizes. When to plant in Tacoma WA.?

Plant the seeds after your

Plant the seeds after your last frost in the spring (mid to late April). You may want to plant seeds every 2 weeks to have blooms throughout the growing season. Stop planting about 75-100 days before the first winter frost is expected in your location (end of October).

My Sunflowers Petals

My sunflower (not sure about the type) grew beautifully, high and bright. The petals were all there until one morning when I noticed some of them falling off! I was afraid that it was drying out, despite my daily watering. Now, I'm wondering if I over-watered!
Will it eventually produce seeds, even though it has lost some of its petals? How should I proceed at this point? THANK YOU!!

Annual sunflowers grow for

Annual sunflowers grow for one season. When the petals fall the plants energy goes to producing seeds. Check the flower to see if seeds are forming.

hi everyone, i need help, what do i do next?

Hello, so my sun flowers bloomed beautifully and I waited till it was time to harvest the seeds. Now that I harvest the seeds, what do I do with the trunk/ stem of the sun flower? Do I rip it out of the soil and plant new seeds? Or do I leave it and a new one will eventually sprout? I have no clue what to do next.... Help! :)

Harvesting sunflowers

If you have an annual sunflower with a single flower on top, then once you harvest the seeds, it's OK to cut the stalk down to the base or remove it completely. If you have an annual sunflower with multiple flowers, you can harvest each flower as the seeds become ripe, but leave the other flowers to complete their ripening. After all flowers have been harvested, you can cut the plant down to the base or remove it completely. Annuals will only grow for one season, so you will need to plant more seeds in spring.

If you have a perennial sunflower, with multiple flowers, harvest each flower as its seeds become mature. Once all of the flowers have been harvested, wait until the foliage has died in late autumn before cutting the plant back to the ground (keep roots intact); the perennial will start new growth next spring.

seeds forming

i can see the seeds forming. do i stop watering and just let dry out until back flower turn dry looking

Sunflower care at harvest time

Keep up with the deep but infrequent watering. As the seeds mature, the plant still needs that water to carry out its daily functions, including seed formation.

Watch the back of the flower: When it turns yellow, you can harvest it (leaving about a foot of stalk with the flower) and then hang it upside down in a dry, warm, protected location.

Or, when the back is yellow you can cover the flower with a paper bag secured with string while it is still attached to the plant, to protect it from birds and other critters. Wait for the flower head to turn brown and the seeds to fully ripen. Then you can cut it off the plant and rub your hand over the seeds; they should fall out easily.

Mammoth sunflowers

I have them growing one is 4 1/2 ft tall with a bloom already open but is it normal for them to have multiple blooms..there are 4 others getting ready to open..thanks Gina

Mammoths do not normally grow

Mammoths do not normally grow multiple blooms on one stem. Wild sunflowers do have multiple blooms, so it is possible that your mammoths are being cross-pollinating with nearby wild sunflowers.

Annual planting

I have a garden spot about 150 ft X 200 ft, I was wondering if I could plant this area in a variety of sunflowers, tall medium and short, every year without damaging the soil?

Rotation is really the best

Rotation is really the best garden plan. Wait at least three years to replant the same type of flower in the same spot.

Sunflower Bushes...

I want to plant a row of Sunflower Bushes along the fence between mine & my neighbors house. I would like to do it before he gets here in October, but I'm worried that they wouldn't do good here in this heat. I know they service well here but is it ok slot start them now is my question. If I buy some bigger matured ones and plant them will they make it in this miserable South Fl heat? Thank u for your answers to a new member : ).

Sunflower Bushes

Sunflowers love hot weather and are not picky about the soil. If you start from seed check the days to maturity on the seed packet to make sure that they will bloom by October. If you buy seedlings make sure to water well until established. There are also sunflower varieties native to Florida available. Good luck!

Do they only bloom once?

I bought a sunflower "bush" which is about 2' tall, has 3 stalks and had about a dozen flowers on it around July 4th- There were a number of new buds showing up after a few weeks, so I cut off the old dried flowers, but the plant seems to have stopped growing and the leaves are browning. I watered it a lot when I first planted it.(probably too much after reading some of the questions) but it gets Plenty of Sun and the soil is sandy on the acidic side so that's probably not it. Do they only bloom once a year or am I doing something wrong?

If this is a true sunflower,

If this is a true sunflower, Helianthus, and it is one of the annuals (especially a dwarf form), then it could be just that the season is over, or that the plant has reached mature height. Also, if you are watering the plants from overhead during hot sunny weather, the water can burn the leaves, causing them to brown; if this is the case, try watering at the base of the plant only. Sunflowers like moist, but not wet, soil.

drooping sunflowers

i also bought two sunflower potted plants locally. they were beautiful, full, and abundant with flowers. leaving them in their pots and after about one week, these vibrant plants started looking a little droopy, the leaves beginning to shrivel. i thought maybe they needed water, so followed the next few days with light spraying (it is currently 85-90's here). now all the flowers have dried up, with only one/two new ones blooming. what should i do? do i cut the dead flowers off? i'd hate to lose two large plants.

It could be that your plants

It could be that your plants need larger pots, especially if the varieties that you have are the larger types of sunflowers. Also, be careful to water at the base of the plant; water on the leaves during hot sun will burn them. Make sure the pots offer good drainage—that there are drainage holes at the bottom, so the soil isn’t soggy. Have the plants gone through any environmental changes when you brought them home? For example, have nights been cooler? Is the site you selected much hotter or are they in more direct sun for a longer time than when they were at the store? If so, then it could be the plants are under stress and are trying to acclimate to their new space. Does it look as if the old flowers are going to seed? If so, you can deadhead them to encourage blooming. Hope this helps!


Wooo I got me some cool sunflowers I planted months ago from seeds just take care of them daily check on them and they should be fine spray them with bug spray for plants here a nd there give them plant food and waa laaa u got sunflowers

Help! Do I need to cut my sunflower's head when it gets droopy?

I bought 2 sunflowers from a plants shop last week and they look gorgeous. After planting them into the garden soil by a couple of days and watering daily at sunset, their leaves seemed droopy and the flower head that was so open and bright now seems droopy too. Now new buds are coming out, do I need to cut the old heads off? I live in Epping in Loughton, UK. And really would love my sunflowers to survive as they are gorgeous in direct sunlight most of the day.
I'm still watering them daily, just don't know what to do with the droopy heads as don't want to make a mistake that would kill them. Please help save my sunflowers :-(

The heads may be drooping

The heads may be drooping because they are getting heavier as the seeds are developing and it's near harvest time. Have the back of the heads turned yellow? However, the drooping leaves makes us wonder if you are overwatering. At this stage, pull back on the water and allow the soil to dry well before you water again. You can deadhead spent flowers--unless you wish to harvest sunflower seeds. For seeds, pick the heads and hang them upside-down in a warm, dry place. When the head is dry, the seeds separate easily!


When the flower head dies, we have to cut it off to allow the new younger buds to grow and open. That's what the local nusery told me when i bought mine, if it works i will be buying more to have a nice long line of 10. Want to get the "Mammoth" type so i can have some real tall beauties. Living in Roydon, Essex.

We love sunflowers, too! Most

We love sunflowers, too! Most cultivated sunflowers only have one central flower and then set seed. They do not rebloom--‘Mammoth’ is one. There are varieties that have more than one flower on a stem. These plants usually have a main flower, and typically 3 to 4 side branches with flowers. ‘Golden Cheer’ and ‘Soraya’ are a couple.

Sunflower care

You are probably watering them too much. They like moist, not wet soil. Cut back on the watering and see what happens. Good Luck!


I have an ornamental sunflower plant in a pot. When I got it, there was one small but beautiful sunflower open and several buds. The original flower is gone, and the buds are large and trying to open, but they never make it to the fully open flower stage...They push out some yellow petals, open a wee bit, then die. What am I doing wrong?

Often lack of bloom is due to

Often lack of bloom is due to lack of strong sun and heat. The trouble could also be due to a disease or insect. Check for entrance holes, frass, or discoloration at the base of the bud or sunflower head. Are there any other symptoms, such as wilting, or brown areas on the stem? Without a sample, it's hard for us to diagnose. You may wish to visit a local garden center or your cooperative extension office.

Rabbits (or another rodent) Chewed My Sunflowers!

Does anyone know what to do about rabbits (rodents) gnawing sunflowers? When my sunflowers were small (I was growing them in a pot), I had them on the ground to get some sun. Then, one day, I checked them, and all of them, except two plants, were chewed off! Ever since that tragic incident, I have kept my sunflowers in pots on the deck. Has anyone else had this problem? If so, what did you do?

Rabbits like sunflowers. Here

Rabbits like sunflowers. Here are natural non-chemical ways to deter rabbits: sprinkle plants with human hair, deodorant soap, dog urine, or organic commercial repellents. Or, use noise makers responding to movement or fencing. Unfortunately, fencing seems the most effective method. See our Rabbits page:

Rabbit problems

wow you are so mean( heres a non violent solution) dig a small 6 inch trench around ur plants, then put a small fence in at least 3 feet or taller. Or do it the other way if u intend to kill the poor little rabbit

I missed the violence that

I missed the violence that you are speaking of...sounded like simple solutions to repel critters and keep them away from your plants. Wasn't suggested to let the dog loose on em or pegged with a bb gun lol that my friend is violence!

Planting Sunflowers in August?

I want to plant a sunflower patch at an outdoor community festival occuring in the beginning of August (we are located in Detroit, MI). Is this really bad timing since we will more than likely only have 2 more months of summer? If we do this will we be prepping for the seeds to come up the following spring?

Most sunflower varieties

Most sunflower varieties blooms 55 to 75 days after planting. Find the number of days to maturity on your seeds packets. As long as it blooms by your first first, it's OK to plant. You can your first fall frost dates here: Your frost is probably around early October so they may flower in time.


my sunflowers seem real dry, watering them daily (twice. We are in Arizona seems when heat turned up, they started looking dry. Too much water? Second, at end of summer, do you need to remove stalk and all? Or will the grow flowers following season?

Sunflowers in Arizona enjoy

Sunflowers in Arizona enjoy DEEP watering once a week--or, when the soil is dry below the first joint of your finger. For most varieties, you should expect them to grow for about 90 days and then the bloom will last a week or so. They will slowly dry out until it's a dried head on a brown stalk. At that point, you can take out some seeds to plant next year, harvest the seeds for eating, or let the birds enjoy the seeds. As far as the stalk goes: remove it and hack it up into the compost pile -- or leave it and use for a stake or trellis!


can u have a house sunflower ?

They now have varieties that

They now have varieties that have been developed for small spaces and containers. However, sunflowers often need lots of sun so location is extremely important.

Try talking with someone at your local garden center on the varieties that will work well in your home.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.


Ants are eating the leaves of my sunflower what can I do to stop this happening?

Usually, when you see ants,

Usually, when you see ants, you have lots of aphids (pests). Aphids love sunflowers, and ants follow the aphids to farm them for the honeydew. Use a soap spray to get those aphids off your flowers.


Can you have a sunflower plant growing upside down.

We've never tried this.

We've never tried this. Flowers prefer to face the sun. When finished harvesting, you do hang the heads upside down to dry them.

Sprout the seed first?

Someone recommended that I soak the seeds and place them in the sun to assist with the sprouting of the seed. Do you recommend this?

For sunflowers, soaking the

For sunflowers, soaking the seed isn't needed for your everyday flower. However, crop studies that have shown pre-soaking of sunflower seeds in water for 12 hours or 24 hours followed by drying ensured higher germinability, early emergence, better growth of crop, and increased yield. Time can be saved between sowing and emergence.

My Sunflower

I've just sowed a sunflower seed in a pot because I'd like to transfer it later on. Will the sunflower be stunted or altered in any way, as opposed to its brethren in the free soil? Also, how often is "infrequently" regarding the watering? Thank you!

As long as the plant has been

As long as the plant has been properly cared for -- given enough light (about 6 to 8 hours at least), good potting mix with soil nutrition, proper watering, no pests/diseases, etc. -- then it can be as healthy as one planted directly outdoors. There’s a chance that it may be even healthier, as there is more opportunity for animals, cultural, other problems to pop up and disturb seedlings sown outdoors. When transplanting, choose a good site and be careful with the roots—try to disturb them as little as possible.
As for watering, sunflowers need about 1 inch of water per week. They can tolerate drought for a time. The soil should not be soggy. If the soil feels dry (say, down to about 1 inch deep from the surface), then it is time to water.


I have amazing sunflowers that came from my birdseed. How do I replant the seeds. We just had strong winds in FL and it blew them ALL down. I would love to plant the seeds next year. These sunflowers had numerous stalks/stems and about 15 + flowers each stalk.

Storing sunflower seeds

The seeds need to be ripe and dried properly before storing. You can hang the seed heads in a sunny dry location to dry. Store the dried seeds in a paper bag in a dark cool place, away from critters, until ready to plant. Sow the seeds in good soil that has been amended with some compost or aged manure.


my daughter gave me a sunflower in a pot for mothers day. well the seed sprouted,long green vine now,i don't know what kind it is so i don't know if i should re-pot it outside or in larger pot,what should i do?

re-planting sunflower

If the sunflower is planted in a small container, you need to repot it or plant it in the garden. Depending on what kind of sunflower it is it may need a new pot that is about 16” deep. Sunflowers have long roots.

Forgive the stupid questions...

I have planted some sunflowers in my flower bed and am getting ready to plant a few mammoth sunflowers in front of my house. I have a few stupid novice questions, bare with me :)

- For the mammoth's, I can just let it keep growing right? Will it rebloom or do I have to harvest it and replant? I have no problem letting the birds get the seeds :)

- For the regular sunflowers, will they rebloom or will I need to replant seeds?

I'm just now getting into the gardening thing and had to start with my favorite flower the sunflower :) tia!!

can i plant the sunflower given to me for mother's day?

Yesterday I received a sunflower from my mother in law for mother's day. It is about 2 feet tall already & the head is about 4-5 inches across. My great grandmother had a sunflower in her garden when I was growing up & I've always wanted one! Can I keep this thing alive?!

planting sunflowers

If the sunflower is planted in a small container, you need to repot it or plant it in the garden. Depending on what kind of sunflower it is it may need a new pot that is about 16” deep. Sunflowers have long roots.
If this is a single flower sunflower, the flower will eventually mature and you can collect the seeds for the birds. Some sunflowers have multiple blooms on one stalk and last longer.



Sun love

I really love sunflowers ....and somehow i think they live me too!


my son brought me home a sunflower that he started growing 22 days ago at school when is the best time for me to plsnt it outside and where should i plant it? and i live in florida and my yard is very sandy is that ok?

My son brought me home a

My son brought me home a sunflower too for Mother's Day - I planted mine next to the fence which is sandy also but will receive up to 6-8 hours of sun each day - I'll see in a couple of weeks if it likes where it is - Good Luck & HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

replanting sunflowers

Yes, you may replant from a small container. Sunflowers grow best in full sun. They prefer average to rich soils as they have very deep roots so sandy soils aren't recommended as the sunflowers might get uprooted. Perhaps it would be better to replant in a bigger pot (that's about 16 inches deep) and set in a place where you and your child can enjoy from the window?


I have a problem with slugs. Do slugs eat sunflowers?

slugs and sunflowers

Yes, slugs eat sunflowers. There are different ways to get rid of them: Put out shallow containers filled with beer. You'll find drowned slugs in the morning Or, if you can do it, handpicking is effective (in early morning or night with a flashlight!). See our SLUG page for more remedies:


I am planting some new ones this weekend. When I grew Mammoth ones in 2005, they were taller than my mobile home !! You can grow peas as companion plants and the peas will climb up your sunflower stalks. Just be sure to let your sunflowers get a foot tall or more before you plant the peas. Happy gardening.

the sunflower head

watch the head of the sunflower during the course of a bright sunny day and you will see it rotate to face the sun, fascinating.




I am a city girl who has moved to the county. I have always, always wanted sunflowers. I am on my way out to plant them for the first time ever. I hope they survive the efforts of a novice!


as long as you don't plant them to deep or plant them in full shade they should be fine.


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