Sunflowers are undoubtedly one of the most popular flowers to grow in the garden. Their bright, cheery blooms and attractive sunflower leaves will put a smile on anyone's face and are certainly one of our best sellers at Seed Needs. We offer a large selection of over 30 different types of sunflowers to choose from. They come in color variations of red, yellow, orange, brown and mahogany. We offer heirloom sunflowers & hybrid sunflowers, varieties small & tall and even rare, or hard to find.
Sunflowers are grown as annual flowering plants. An annual plant is a plant that completes it's growth cycle from seed to flower in a single season. It will not return the following year from deeply established roots and will die with the first killing frost. The seeds of your annual sunflower can be collected for regrowing the following season, however be aware that any hybrid sunflowers will not breed true.
Water, Sunlight & Soil Preferences
Aptly named, sunflowers will enjoy an area that receives full sunlight for the majority of the day. They thrive in temperatures of 70F or higher and can be sown & grown in virtually any medium. With that being said, you must also keep in mind that sunflower plants will establish a deep taproot, which means that they will need a soil that is well draining. Soils and growing mediums that are constantly moist will cause your sunflower plants to become waterlogged, resulting in the death of your beloved plants. To improve drainage, we would recommend adding a light compost to areas consisting of hard, compact soil.
Sowing Sunflower Seeds
Sunflowers hate being transplanted and often times won't survive very long when they are moved from pots, directly into the garden. However, peat pots are a game changer in sowing your sunflower seeds indoors to transplant later on. Peat pots allow you to plant the entire pot into the garden without disrupting the roots of your sunflower plants. They are primarily made up of peat moss, which will break down, several weeks after transplanting them into the garden.
If started indoors in peat pots, make sure that you can provide the plants with warm temperatures. Again 70F, as stated above is a perfect temperature for your sunflower plants to thrive. Begin sowing your sunflower seeds at a depth that is double the seed thickness. For example, if you have a 1/4" seed, the proper depth would be to sow them 1/2" under. You can also refer to your Sunflower seed packet for the best depth to sow your seeds as well.
Most people use cling wrap to lay overtop of their pots to ensure moisture and warmth stays within the pots. You can also place the starter pots on top of the fridge at night to keep them warm. Once sprouts appear, nurture the seedlings, providing them with the daily water that they require as well as sunlight and continued warmth. When the plants become about 1 foot tall, they can be transplanted outdoors to continue their growth. The goal is to transplant your sunflower plants outdoors prior to the roots busting out of the peat pots. This will prevent root shock when placing them into the garden.
If you are sowing outdoors, you might ask, when is it best to sow sunflower seeds outdoors. You just need to make sure the weather is warm and all danger of frost has passed. Clear your sowing area of all unwanted weeds and plant life, turning the dirt, or placing fresh soil in it's place. Scatter the seeds to the surface of the soil, covering them lightly with the appropriate amount of soil. Again you can refer to your seed packet for additional information on seed sowing depth.
Stakes may be necessary to prevent your sunflower plants from falling over. Sunflowers won't gain much strength in their stems until they are a bit larger, so it is a good idea to take this into consideration.
Sunflower Growth Habits
Sunflower seeds will begin to germinate fairly quickly, taking as little as 7 to 10 days to sprout. Once established, tall varieties can reach towering heights of anywhere between 6 to 9 feet tall, if not more! Dwarf sunflowers are becoming more and more popular, only reaching a mature height of roughly 2 to 3 feet tall. Most other sunflowers can fall within the range between 4 to 6 feet tall.
Sunflowers are a great choice for use as a cut flower, and can often times be seen in many bouquets and floral arrangements as well. The dwarf varieties are especially popular for this reason. Depending on the variety grown, they are also generous seed suppliers. Our Salt N' Roast variety will produce hundreds of delicious sunflower seeds, on one large flower head. Just be careful to protect your seeds from birds, squirrels and other small animals seeking to steal your snacks.
Helianthus annuus is popularly established along fences, borders & driveways and used as a background or backdrop plant. Sunflowers are also great when sown by the masses in fields or an area that needs a splash of color.
Check out some of our most popular choices of sunflowers in the Sunflower category.