All You Need To Know About Growing Sunflowers

You want to grow sunflowers at home but still have some open questions that need to be answered?

Great! This article is exactly for you since I will answer all questions you might have about growing sunflowers in the following chapters.

Table of Contents

Time & Duration

When to grow sunflowers from seed?

If you want to grow sunflowers from seed, the best time to do so is in early spring.

In most moderate climatic zones, this is between March and Mai. Of course, you could also plant sunflowers outside this main season.

However, if you do so, you should not expect the same growth behavior and also your yields tend to be smaller as well.

Do sunflowers grow year-round?

It is possible to grow sunflowers year-round. However, sunflowers are only harvested once a year and the plant material is disposed of into the garbage after that.

Moreover, while you could grow sunflowers in the off-season, you may still not get decent results and you may also have to grow them indoors which can lead to many additional issues.

Prepare the soil!

Hence, if you want to make your gardening project as productive and enjoyable as possible, you should rather grow sunflowers in the main season instead of growing them in rather exotic months.

Do sunflowers grow fast?

While sunflowers don’t grow as fast as carrots or lettuce, they also don’t take as long as pumpkins or melons to grow.

On average, you should expect that it will take you 3 to 5 months to grow sunflowers from seed to harvest.

Consequently, if you are a rather impatient person who wants to see results much quicker, you may want to grow other garden vegetables instead.

How long does it take to grow sunflowers?

It will take you between 90 and 130 days to grow sunflowers from seed to harvest on average.

However, please note that this greatly depends on the climatic conditions and also on your skill level.

While experienced gardeners will be able to grow sunflowers in about 3 months, it will often take you much longer if you are still a beginner since you will just make more mistakes.

Therefore, don’t get discouraged if it takes you longer to grow sunflowers but rather enjoy the process and learn so that you can grow them faster in future years.

Do sunflowers grow back every year?

No, sunflowers are grown as annuals and this means that you will only harvest sunflowers once a year and then get rid of the remaining plant material.

If you want to get sunflower plants for future years, you have to sow new seeds every year.

How long do sunflower plants live?

If you plant sunflowers in spring, they will live until you harvest your plants.

If you don’t harvest your sunflowers, they will usually live until the first strong winter frost hits.

Hence, sunflowers will live around half a year in your garden on average until you either harvest them or let nature do its work.

How long does it take until sunflowers flower?

Sunflowers usually start to flower between 2 and 3 months after sowing the seeds.

However, this also greatly depends on the lighting and on the overall conditions you provide to your plants.

The better the growing conditions, the faster your plants can grow and develop decent flowers.

Can you grow sunflowers in fall?

If you want to start growing sunflowers in fall, you should note that you would have to grow sunflowers indoors since they would otherwise decay due to frost.

Growing sunflowers indoors is not recommendable since they would take away lots of space from you and you will also not be able to provide the most natural growing conditions to your plants.

Consequently, if you have the choice, make sure to wait with growing sunflowers until next spring instead of planting them in fall.

Can you grow sunflowers in winter?

While it might also be possible to grow sunflowers in winter, I still don’t recommend it since you would have to grow sunflowers indoors from seed to harvest for the entire growing circle.

Not only will this be annoying for you since sunflowers get quite big and steal lots of space from you, but your plants will also not get sufficient levels of sunlight and will likely not grow as well as if you started growing them in the main season in spring.

Location & Climate

Will sunflowers grow in shade?

As the name already suggests, sunflowers love the sun and growing them in shade is a rather bad idea.

Hence, only grow sunflowers in shady environments if you simply don’t have any other choice.

Otherwise, choose a location where your sunflower plants get many hours of sun or at least direct lighting per day.

Will sunflowers grow in partial shade?

Growing sunflowers in partial shade is better than growing them in full shade.

However, the more hours of sun you provide to your plants, the better your sunflowers tend to grow and instead of growing them in half-shady environments, I suggest you grow them in the sunniest spots in your garden or on your balcony to assure the best growing behavior and decent yields.

Do sunflowers grow best in full sun?

Yes, sunflowers grow best in full sun.

While it can be a good idea to protect young sunflower seedlings from excessive sun exposure, bigger sunflower plants love the sun and you should therefore pick a spot in your garden that provides as much sunlight as possible to your plants if you really want to optimize growing conditions.

Will sunflowers tolerate frost?

Like many other plants, sunflowers don’t like the cold and are also pretty sensitive and vulnerable to frost.

Hence, only grow sunflowers outdoors if you don’t expect spring frost anymore.

You can also grow sunflower seedlings indoors and transplant them later in the year to avoid any issues in this regard.

Do you have to protect sunflowers from the sun?

There is no need to protect sunflowers from the sun. Just let them grow and the more sun they will get, the faster they will grow on average.

One exception to this rule is when sunflower seedlings are still small.

In such a case, you should provide partially shady growing environments to your plants and move them to spots with full sun once they get bigger.

How much space do you need to grow sunflowers?

Sunflowers grow quite big and can reach a height of more than 8 feet.

Consequently, you should make sure to plan around 10 square feet per plant so that you can be sure that your sunflowers don’t have to compete for sunlight or nutrients with each other and can grow in an optimal manner.

Will sunflowers grow indoors?

While it is possible to grow sunflowers indoors in theory, I still don’t recommend you do so since you would run into all sorts of issues.

First of all, sunflowers grow quite big and take away lots of space.

Second, you may also introduce pests into your home which may spread to your plants inside your home and you may have a hard time getting rid of those pests.

Third, you will also not be able to provide natural growing conditions for sunflowers indoors, which will translate into lower yields and slower growth on average.

As you can see, growing sunflowers indoors should only be a means of last resort and growing them outdoors should definitely be the norm.

Can you grow sunflowers without a garden or balcony?

In case you don’t have a garden or a balcony, you would have to grow sunflowers outdoors.

However, you would run into many different issues and I therefore recommend you don’t grow sunflowers in such circumstances but rather wait until you move to another place that is more suitable for growing sunflowers.

Can you grow sunflowers in small flats?

Growing sunflowers in small flats is a real torture. Not only will your plants not be able to grow in a healthy manner, but they will also take away lots of your precious space.

Hence, if you already don’t have enough space at home to store all of your stuff, don’t think that growing sunflowers indoors in your flat is a good idea. It would rather lead to a state where you would have barely any space to move at all.

Can you grow sunflowers in an aquarium?

While you could use an empty aquarium and fill it with potting soil to grow sunflowers in it, there is still the issue that water will not be able to run off properly and waterlogging may become an issue.

In turn, the roots of your plants would start to rot and I therefore recommend you grow sunflowers in your garden or in pots instead of using an aquarium for those reasons.

Can you grow sunflowers in a terrarium?

Growing sunflowers in terrariums is also not a great idea.

While it might be possible in theory, you will still not be able to provide natural growing conditions to your plants.

In turn, your plants will not grow as well and also the roots of your plants may start to rot if excess water will not be able to vanish.

Consequently, instead of growing sunflowers in terrariums, you should rather go for the classical approach and grow them in pots, containers or in your garden instead.

Can you grow sunflowers in a bucket?

Growing sunflowers in buckets is definitely possible.

You just have to make sure to drill some small holes into the bottom of your bucket so that water can run off properly.

Also make sure to use big buckets since sunflowers will grow quite big and also need lots of nutrients to grow well.

After drilling those holes, you can just fill your bucket with potting soil and you will be good to go.

Can you grow sunflowers in bags?

You could also grow sunflowers in big fabric bags instead of growing them in conventional pots.

Results will be quite similar and if you currently don’t have flower pots at home, this can be a great way to still being able to grow sunflowers at home.

Can you grow sunflowers in hanging baskets?

Growing sunflowers in hanging baskets is not a good idea.

Sunflowers grow quite big and will also become unstable if you grow them in hanging baskets.

Instead, just use conventional pots with lots of soil where sunflowers will have a good foundation to grow in.

Can you grow sunflowers in rainy climatic zones?

While you can also grow sunflowers in rainy climatic zones, it would just take you much longer compared to growing them in sunny climates and also your yields would be much lower on average.

However, if you really want to grow sunflowers, don’t be discouraged if you live in one of those regions.

Just do your best and you will still be able to get decent results as long as you follow all the advice in this article.

Can you grow sunflowers in tropical climatic zones?

While sunflowers like the heat and the sun, most sunflower varieties don’t grow well in regions with excessive levels of moisture in the air.

Hence, growing sunflowers in the tropics is usually not a good idea, even though it might be doable if you use a strain that has been designed for those extreme climatic conditions.

Can you grow sunflowers in regions with permafrost?

Growing sunflowers in regions with permafrost is only possible if you grow them indoors or if you use a heated greenhouse.

Both options are not recommendable since you would either take away lots of space inside your home or would have to spend lots of money on electricity, which would not only be bad for your pocket but also for our environment.

Do sunflowers grow on vines?

No, sunflowers don’t grow on vines. Instead, they grow on big plants which I am sure you have seen many times before.

If not, make sure to check out one of the videos in this article to get a better impression of what sunflowers really look like.

Do sunflowers grow underground?

No, sunflowers don’t grow underground.

Instead, apart from the roots, the whole plant grows above the soil surface and needs a lot of sunlight to grow well.

What is the best orientation for growing sunflowers?

Since sunflowers love the sun, the best orientation to grow sunflowers is south.

However, you could also grow sunflowers in east or west orientation in a decent manner.

Just avoid growing them in north orientation since your sunflower plants would just not get enough sun in such a case.

Can you grow sunflowers with indirect sunlight?

Growing sunflowers with indirect sunlight is also possible as long as you use a decent greenhouse that is also big enough to provide sufficient room for your plants.

However, I am still a fan of growing sunflowers outdoors instead since they just get the best and most natural growing conditions with direct sunlight.

Where do sunflowers grow best?

Sunflowers grow best in sunny spots in your garden or on your balcony.

Also make sure that your plants have enough space so that they don’t have to compete for nutrients or sunlight with each other and also that the soil is rich in nutrients so that your plants have lots of energy to grow well.

Where to grow sunflowers in pots?

If you want to grow sunflowers in pots, make sure to choose a sunny spot on your porch or in your sunroom so that your plants can grow in the best possible manner.

Avoid any location where your plants don’t get at least a few hours of direct lighting a day to get the best results.

Where to grow sunflowers indoors?

If you want to grow sunflowers indoors, you will run into all sorts of issues.

However, if you still want to go for it, at least make sure that your plants will get enough sunlight.

Hence, make sure to place your pots in a sunny room and provide as natural growing conditions as possible.

Can you grow sunflowers in water?

Growing sunflowers in pure water is not possible.

Instead, you need a soil mix from which your sunflowers can get sufficient nutrients and are also able to anchor their roots into the ground.

Can you grow sunflowers with LED lights?

You may also think about using artificial lighting to improve the growth behavior of your sunflower plants.

However, this is usually not a good idea since it would cost you lots of energy and money in the long run and you would also not get as decent results as just using natural sunlight.

Hence, just place your pots in a sunny spot and you will be perfectly fine even without the use of LEDs or other sorts of artificial lighting.

Can you grow sunflowers in dark rooms?

Since sunflowers need lots of sunlight to grow well, growing them in dark rooms is never a good idea.

Instead, make sure to pick the sunniest spot at your home to grow sunflowers as best as possible and avoid environments that are simply too shady.

Soil Requirements

Can you reuse soil for growing sunflowers the next year?

You can reuse soil for growing sunflowers multiple times.

Just make sure to add some additional fertilizer so that your plants get enough nutrients for many years to come.

Do sunflowers grow well in waterlogged soil?

Like almost all other garden plants, sunflowers don’t grow well in waterlogged soil.

Hence, make sure that excess water can run off properly so that you can avoid that the roots of your plants will start to rot.

Do sunflowers grow best in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil?

Sunflowers grow best in acidic or neutral soil with an optimal soil pH between 6.2 and 7.

As long as you get a decent soil mix from the garden center, you will be perfectly fine in this regard and don’t have to worry about these technical issues.

Will sunflowers grow in sandy soil?

Sunflowers also grow in sandy soil. However, they still don’t like it if the fraction of sand in the soil mix is too high and I therefore suggest you just choose a solid soil mix from the garden center instead of choosing one that is extremely sandy.

Will sunflowers grow in clay soil?

While it would also be possible to grow sunflowers in clay soil, I still don’t advise you to do so since this type of soil is pretty solid and water will often not be able to run off properly.

In turn, waterlogging may become an issue and the roots of your plants may start to rot.

Consequently, instead of choosing a clay soil mix, make sure to go for a looser alternative instead.

Will sunflowers grow in compost?

You will be perfectly fine with growing sunflowers on compost since it is rich in nutrients and also loose enough so that water can run off properly and the roots of your plants can develop in a healthy manner.

Plant Care

Do sunflowers need a lot of water?

Since sunflowers grow quite big, they also need lots of water. However, this also depends on the stage your sunflowers are currently in.

When sunflowers are still young and small, they will not need lots of water. However, once they get bigger, their water demand will grow exponentially.

Do you have to water sunflowers on a regular basis?

How often you have to water your plants greatly depends on the climatic conditions you live in.

For instance, if you live in a hot and dry region, you will have to water your plants almost every day.

In contrast, if you live in cool and rainy regions, chances are that nature will do the work for you.

In such a case, you may not have to water your plants at all since they will often just get enough water from rain.

Should you use filtered or unfiltered water to water sunflowers?

There is no need to filter water when it comes to watering sunflower plants.

Just use some tap water and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.

Should you use rainwater to water sunflowers?

You could also just use rainwater to water sunflowers.

Not only will this be cheaper compared to using tap water, but it will also be easier since you can just store lots of rainwater in big rainwater tanks and you will have water for many weeks or even months to come.

When to stake sunflowers?

You should stake sunflowers as soon as they reach a size of around 4 inches in height since they become relatively vulnerable to outside conditions at this point in time and staking them can make your sunflower plants just more resistant.

What to tie sunflowers with?

You can just use some sticks, place them next to your sunflowers and tie them with cord to those sticks.

This simple but yet effective approach assures that your sunflowers will be stabilized quite well.

What to do when sunflowers turn yellow?

If your sunflower leaves turn yellow, this usually means that you either have issues with your watering or your fertilizing behavior.

Hence, in such a case, make sure that you water your plants more often and see what happens.

If the problem still exists, try to water your plants less often. The same is true for fertilizing your plants.

Just try out different things and see if the leaves of your plants turn back to a healthy green and remember those things for future growing seasons.

How to protect sunflowers against wind?

You just have to tie your sunflowers with cord to sticks and they will become pretty resistant to heavy winds or even storms.

How to protect sunflowers against heavy rain?

There is no need to protect sunflowers from heavy rain.

Your plants will be resistant enough to do this on their own without any intervention needed from you in this regard.

How to protect sunflowers against hail?

If you grow sunflowers in pots, you just need to move those pots to protected areas around your home.

If you grow sunflowers in your garden, you can try to protect them from hail by using some foliage cover.

Should you pinch out sunflowers?

While you could pinch sunflower plants, I personally don’t think this is a good idea.

Especially if you are still a beginner when it comes to growing sunflowers, you will often do more harm than good to your plants and I therefore recommend you just let them grow without pinching your plants.

Where to pinch sunflowers?

If you want to pinch out sunflowers for some reason, you may want to do it outdoors to avoid a mess inside your four walls and also to keep pests out of your home.

Can you grow sunflowers without fertilizer?

While sunflowers need lots of energy and nutrients to grow well, you will still be able to grow them without using additional fertilizer as long as you provide a rich soil mix right from the beginning.

Hence, use high-quality soil so that your sunflowers can grow in the best possible manner.

Should you cover your sunflowers to protect them against frost?

Instead of covering sunflowers and altering lighting conditions to protect them from frost, I suggest you wait with transplanting sunflower seedlings outdoors until you don’t expect frost anymore so that there will be no need for covering them.

How to get rid of moss when growing sunflowers?

Moss on the soil surface is usually a sign that you water your plants too often.

Consequently, to get rid of moss, make sure that you adjust your watering schedule so that the soil will be able to dry up and the roots of your sunflower plants are not exposed to excess water on a regular basis.

Pests & Diseases

Can you grow sunflowers without using pesticides?

The better the growing conditions you provide to your sunflower plants, the stronger your plants will get and the less likely it is that pests will infest your plants.

Consequently, make sure to optimize the growing conditions and you will often be able to grow sunflowers without using any pesticides.

Should you use natural or chemical pesticides for sunflower plants?

In case pest infestations are too severe, you may need to use pesticides to let your plants survive.

In such a case, make sure to use organic pesticides instead of chemical ones to make your gardening project as organic as possible to protect our environment.

What are the most common sunflower pests?

Cutworms, wireworms and thrips are just a few of the most common pests you will have to deal with when you want to grow sunflowers.

There are many more of those annoying gardening companions out there and you should get some knowledge on how to deal with them in a proper manner.

How to protect sunflowers against pests?

If you really want to get a good understanding of how to deal with garden pests, make sure to check out how to get rid of sunflower pests and diseases and also have a look at my pest removal guides so that you know how to get rid of garden pests in a simple but yet effective manner.

Growing Difficulty

Are sunflowers good plants to grow for children?

While growing sunflowers is not that demanding, it still requires quite a lot of time and you may therefore choose other garden plants to grow with children instead since kids can be pretty impatient and if they don’t see quick results, they may simply get bored of it pretty soon.

Are sunflowers good plants for a school project?

Growing sunflowers can be a nice school project since you can teach school kids a lot about how our food is produced and these kids will also value their food much more once they see how much work it takes to produce groceries.

Is growing sunflowers difficult?

Growing sunflowers is not difficult at all. In fact, sunflowers are pretty resistant plants and will barely need any assistance from your side to grow in a decent manner.

Consequently, as long as you have the space to grow sunflowers, they can be perfect plants for your first gardening project.

Harvest

What color do ripe sunflowers have?

While the leaves of the flowers will be yellow, sunflower seeds will have a dark color once they are ready to harvest.

I am sure you have seen sunflower seeds in the store before and you should harvest sunflowers once the seeds reach a similar size and color.

Can you save seeds from sunflowers?

Apart from using sunflower seeds for making bread or for various other dishes, you could also just use them for growing purposes for future years.

Just save some seeds and store them in dark and dry places inside your home.

Can sunflowers get overripe?

Like most other plants, also sunflower seeds can get overripe and if you don’t harvest them in time, they will just slowly decay.

Hence, make sure to harvest sunflowers in time to get the most nutrients and the best flavor out of them.

What parts of a sunflower plant can you eat?

Apart from sunflower seeds, also the leaves of most sunflower varieties are edible.

You can just make nice salads or tea out of it if you really want to make your growing project as economical as possible.

Additional Questions

Is growing sunflowers expensive?

Growing sunflower is not expensive at all. You just need to get some sunflower seeds from the store and you will be good to go.

If you don’t have a garden, you may also need some pots and soil.

Yet, all of those things don’t cost a fortune and therefore almost everyone will be able to grow sunflowers at home from a financial point of view.

Is growing sunflowers fun?

Growing sunflowers can be lots of fun and it can also be pretty interesting to see your plants grow and make progress every day.

Moreover, gardening can also help you relax after a hard workday and can give you power for demanding tasks yet to come in the future.

Do sunflowers grow on trees?

No, sunflowers don’t grow on trees.

Instead, sunflowers grow on big plants and I am sure you have seen some of them before.

Do sunflowers grow from flowers?

Sunflower seeds grow from flowers. In fact, hundreds of seeds can be produced from only one flower and growing sunflowers can therefore be pretty rewarding if you know what you are doing.

How many sunflower plants should you grow per pot?

Since sunflowers grow quite big, you should never plant more than one sunflower per pot since your plants would compete for nutrients and sunlight otherwise and this would greatly adversely affect the overall growth behavior of your plants.

Which animals feed on sunflowers?

Chipmunks, squirrels or mice are just a few of those hungry friends who will try to feed on your sunflowers.

Hence, make sure to protect your plants with fences or install other measures so that your plants will not become a target in this regard.

Will your pets eat your sunflowers?

Also your pets may try to feed on your sunflowers.

Thus, make sure to keep them away from your plants to avoid any damage to your plants or even to your pets.

Are sunflowers toxic for pets?

While sunflowers are edible for most pets, there may still be pets that will not be able to digest the plant material properly and may therefore experience certain health issues.

Consequently, make sure to separate your garden plants from your pets as best as possible to avoid any issues in this regard.

Why sunflowers grow small?

If your sunflowers grow small, this usually means that you haven’t provided optimal growing conditions to your plants.

Hence, for future years, make sure that you provide more sun and more nutrients to your plants to get better results.

What to grow with sunflowers?

There are also many plants you can grow with sunflowers.

Hence, make sure to have a look at the best sunflower companion plants to get information on what to grow with sunflowers and what plants you should never grow with sunflowers.

Can you grow sunflowers from sunflowers?

You can also grow sunflowers from sunflowers. You can do so by just not harvesting your sunflowers.

By doing so, the plant material will decay while many seeds will eventually end up below the soil surface and will likely produce sunflower plants in the future.

Can you grow sunflowers without seeds?

You can also grow sunflowers from seedlings from the garden center instead of raising them from seed.

This can save you a little bit of time and effort and if you are a rather lazy person, you may become happier with growing sunflowers from seedlings instead of using seeds.

Do you have to pollinate sunflowers by hand?

No, there is no need to pollinate sunflowers by hand.

Just let nature do its work and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.

How to grow big sunflowers?

The better the growing conditions you provide to your plants, the better your sunflowers will grow.

Consequently, make sure to provide an optimal soil mix and that you also choose a sunny spot in your garden to grow sunflowers in the best possible manner.

Also make sure that you water your plants on a regular basis and that you take measures to keep away hungry animals or pests from your plants.

Can you grow sunflowers commercially?

Growing sunflowers commercially can be quite a struggle.

Only few big companies share this fierce market and it will almost be impossible for you to enter this market if you don’t have serious connections in this field.

Moreover, you would also need to spend lots of money on farmland and equipment and I therefore recommend you just grow sunflowers as a nice hobby instead of starting a business around it.

Can you grow sunflowers from fresh seeds?

Growing sunflowers from fresh seeds is perfectly fine.

You just have to place those seeds into the ground and you will get seedlings pretty soon.

Can you grow sunflowers from dried seeds?

You can also just grow sunflowers from dried seeds.

If you don’t want to rely on seeds from the garden center, you can also just save your own seeds and use them for many growing seasons yet to come in the future.

Can you grow sunflowers from rotten fruits?

If you don’t harvest sunflower seeds in time, the plant material will start to rot.

In such a case, you can just leave your sunflower plant in your garden and wait until it fully decays.

Some of the seeds will still likely produce new plants in the next growing season.

Can you grow sunflowers from cuttings?

You could also try to grow sunflowers from cuttings.

However, this is quite advanced stuff and I therefore suggest you just grow sunflowers from seeds since it is just much easier.

Should you use a sunflower growing kit for growing sunflowers?

While you could use a sunflower growing kit, it is often just a waste of money and I therefore recommend you just get some sunflower seeds from the store and some additional equipment that provides value for you in the long run instead.

Do sunflowers grow in the wild?

Sunflowers also grow in the wild. In fact, many birds accidentally drop sunflower seeds in nature and you will therefore be able to see sunflowers grow at the most exotic places.

Should you talk to your sunflower plants?

While you could talk to your sunflower plants to make them grow faster, I personally think that you should use your time on much more important things instead.

Should you plant sunflowers at half moon or full moon?

You also don’t have to care about moon phases when it comes to growing sunflowers.

Instead, just plant them in line with your schedule and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.

Now that you hopefully found all the answers you were looking for, you may also want to check out my sunflower grower’s guide where I show you how to grow sunflowers from seed to harvest step-by-step.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helianthus

Own research and experience

About the Author

My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.

In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.

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