Tips for Growing Easy Sunflowers

Tips for Growing Easy Sunflowers


Sunflowers can be excellent fun to grow. Given the right conditions they can grow quickly and provide excellent height and flower in late autumn.

Sunflowers are considered easy to grow and are often considered to be a good plant for children. (see: Growing sunflowers with children) However, to get the best out of sunflowers requires a few careful points.

Grow as a Fence. Sunflowers can make an excellent impromptu screen for late summer. The height can divide a garden creating a natural sense of rooms. – something top garden designers often go for.

  • H. ‘Pastiche’: available in mixed shades of reds, and yellows. The flowers appear on multi-stemmed plants that make an effective multicoloured fence in late summer – from 1.2m to 1.5m (4ft to 5ft) high.


Proper Staking. Preventing sunflowers from falling over is one of the great challenges of growing them. Individually, you need a strong cane well dug into the soil. If you grow sunflowers in blocks it will be easier to provide staking for the group; they will give each other support as they grow.

Feeding. Sunflowers enjoy a rich well fed soil. If going for height, use a nitrogen based fertiliser, switching to potash (tomato food) as the buds begin to appear.

Watering. Sunflowers don’t like drying out and they can soon start to wither. Make sure they are well watered; each watering should aim to reach its roots, rather than just touching the surface.

Starting From Seed.

  • Popping 2 or 3 seeds straight into well prepared ground in a sunny site will allow you to choose the strongest seedling and pinch out the others.
  • Use copper grit or coffee grounds to protect seedlings from slugs.
  • To get the best start for sunflowers sow 2cm deep just covering with soil and place in a 3 inch pot. When big enough you can plant out, hardening off if necessary. If you live in the colder regions delay planting the seeds.
  • Do not start too early a cold spell can severely check a sunflower plant.

Best Location. Sunflowers like a sunny position and preferably not too windy.


Choose the right variety.

    If you want to grow a tall sunflower try a specific variety such as

    • H. ‘Moonwalker’: grown for its yellow face with a chocolate-dark centre; reaches a height of 1.2m to 1.5m (4ft to 5ft).
    • H. ‘Russian Giant’: If you are just interested in height and entering the record books.
  • Sunflower Seeds at Thompson and Morgan
  • Childrens sunflower – Russian Giant – only £0.99!

Eden Project sunflower

77 thoughts on “Tips for Growing Easy Sunflowers

  1. Hi I’m a student from Singapore. Firstly, I would like to ask, how much water is needed for a sunflower seed?
    The weather here is really bad…it’s either raining heavily if not, the sun is burning. I’m planting 3pots of sunflowers (4seeds per pot as instructed by my teacher) for a competition that is due on July. My teacher advised us to put all 3 pots under different conditions. Hence, I’ve decided to put Pot 1 in school, Pot 2 at home, and as for the Pot 3, I put it in school on weekdays and bring home on weekends. However, the pot is really heavy! I can’t bring it to and fro every Fridays and Mondays. Should I just leave it in school or home?
    Also, how do I water Pot 1 on weekends? Leaving it in the school’s eco-garden is very risky since the weather in Singapore is really unpredictable. Should I built a mini-greenhouse? I haven’t figured out how to make a mini-greenhouse though…

  2. Hi

    I am interested in your advice for Ben, above, who is planning to grow sunflowers for his August wedding. I am in the same boat (or pot) and am growing for August too. I have a lovely south facing garden with good soil and was hoping for advice for timing. How long do the flowers usually take from germination to flowering if they’re started in doors. (Mine have been planted in pots in a conservatory a week ago) and what advice for good blooms? And if I plant more outside from seed in early May will they have a chance for flowering in August?

    Thanks for the great tips… happy growing 🙂

  3. If you have the space I would grow more than one variety. They crop at slightly different times.
    I would plant some outside now with a cloche cover in case of cold weather and high wind.
    If they flower early you can cut them and keep them very cool as florists do.
    I will look at how you can bring them forward to flower earlier in a future post.

  4. My sunflower has 12 heads so far! I can see more forming too, its the craziest thing. My other sunflower has 11! I didnt know sunflowers could have multiple heads, let alone 12 plus!!

  5. Hey yall, I’m growing some sunflowers in a 3liter jug in my dorm room. I planted them in late February. There are 2 autumn beauties in there and 1 mammoth sunflower. They’re all roughly 2 1/2feet tall. It’s now nearing the end of April. Yall know how much longer it will take for them to bud? Thanks a bunch!

  6. Sunflowers can grow over 6 feet tall and that takes time. Buds may come before your summer break.

  7. Hi i have planted sunflower seeds,giant and small ones. They have all grown to about 30 to 40 cms tall,i have put wooden bbq skewers attatched but some have snapped. All look v,healthy but i am worried how thin they look. How long do i leave inside,as wind dont help. I have about 25,all are growing,when do i repot and put outside,as i am so proud as are my kids. I dont want to lose them. Many thanks.

  8. I grew my sunflowers and i followed all these tip. i thank you so much because they were very helpful thank you and please put some more tips on

  9. if sunflowers get to tall and they fall over and the stalk bends will i have to cut them at the bend and if so will they regrow back or will i have to replant?

  10. Do not cut them as they wont reflower. Straighten them up as best you can and tie to a cane or stake. The flower will try bend to the sun and look a bit bent but better than nothing.

  11. I have a sunflower with 9 heads, is this normal or should i take off the other heads and let the main one mature ???

  12. Do not cut off the heads. There are multi headed varieties but if you want one big flower go for a Russian Giant next year.

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  14. Hello. I’m trying to grow some dwarf sunflowers and my first attempt failed.. I did as the instructions on the little pot said- water it daily, keep it in the sun and give it plant food and transfer to a bigger pot when it gets to 3 inches, but it still died. I’m on my second attempt and I have two sprouts that formed. What do I do to help them thrive, especially since I live in Florida and it tends to get VERY hot here… near the 100’s in the summer alone and the rest of the time it’s in the 80’s unless we have a cold front in November, December and January, sometimes February. We don’t really get a full blown winter. I think it being too hot killed my first one..:(

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