A favorite of kids! Home flower gardeners are growing sunflowers from seed for their rich colors, large blooms and dazzling golden heads. Easy to start indoors, they are available in sizes ranging from miniatures — good for edging — to over 10 feet tall with 2-foot diameter blooms. All have big, lusciously colored blossoms that vary from the traditional yellow and orange to cream and tan.
Sunflower seeds germinate quickly and can be an adventure in tiny to towering plants. Best of all, they provide plenty of seeds to harvest at the end of the season, making them the ideal plant for children.
Plant sunflowers in full sun and in rich soil on the north side of the garden so they won’t shade other plants. A hardy annual that will probably volunteer next year, thanks to dropped seeds and active birds.
Fun fact: The world’s tallest sunflower was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer of Germany and measured in at 30-ft 1-in, a Guinness record. He held this record twice previously.
A symbol of summer, brightly colored sunflowers can grow to impressive heights.View all
Heirloom flowers will turn your outdoor space into a profusion of color! Planting instructions are included with each seed packet and shipping is FREE!
Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Caring for Sunflowers
- Choose from dwarf or giant varieties in an array of yellow, red and orange hues
- Direct seeding recommended once all danger of frost has passed
- Needs full sun with average to rich soil that can support strong roots
- After blooms have passed, let dry and save seeds or leave in garden to feed birds
- Rarely bothered by pests and diseases
Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 60-95 days from seed to flower
Height: 2 to 10 feet
Spacing: 4 to 12 inches apart in all directions
Plant sunflowers in full sun and in rich soil on the north side of the garden so they won’t shade other plants (see Springtime Garden Soil Preparation). It is not recommended to plant sunflowers in sandy soil as they need a strong base to support their tall, top-heavy plants.
How to Plant
Sunflowers are very easy to direct-seed. Sow after all danger of frost has passed, about 4 to 12 inches apart with 1/2 inch of soil covering them.
After seeding outdoors, watch for squirrels and birds – they like to steal the freshly planted seeds to supplement their diet. If starting seeds indoors, use CowPots or pots made of newspaper that can be planted directly into the garden.
Once established and healthy, plants will continue growing easily even if left unattended (watch our video Flower Gardening from the Ground Up). Water to keep the soil slightly moist and provide support when plants begin to get top heavy. Leave mature flower heads on the plants to attract birds to your garden.
Consider planting in a circle to make a sunflower house for children or in a row to create a private, gorgeous sunflower hedge.
Insect & Disease Problems
Insects and disease are not typically a problem for sunflowers.
Seed Saving Instructions
Separate sunflowers by 1/2 mile to ensure pure seed. Harvest the heads when they have completely filled out, have lost all of their petals, and the backs begin to turn brown. Allow to dry in a protected area and then shell by hand.
Savvy growers know redworm castings to be rich in nutrients and beneficial microbes.
Flower Fertilizer (4-8-4)
A hand-crafted blend that promotes bigger, more vigorous blooms.