How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know

Published: 24/01/2023 | Updated: 18/04/2023

How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know - Shrubhub

There's always a specific memory when it comes to early fall, the trees are transitioning to new colors, some flowers die while others flourish, and the sunflowers make their bright yellow appearance. Sunflowers have always been an autumn staple; they bring life back into a dying and changing garden. This guide will give you everything you need to know about growing and caring for these autumn beauties.

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With colorful blooms that go throughout summer, sunflowers are heat-tolerant, resistant to pests, and attractive to pollinators and birds. Sunflowers produce gorgeous cut flowers, but they also offer food and attract wildlife! They produce oil and seeds that are yummy for birds and people!

General Information

How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know - Shrubhub

Sunflowers 101

Sunflowers are a type of annual plant. With bright yellow (and occasionally red or brown) petals radiating from brown cores that develop into a crown packed with seed, they resemble enormous daisies.

Sunflowers are strong, towering plants that can grow up to 14 feet tall in some types. Smaller variations that are only a foot tall or less can fit in pots or little gardens. Sunflowers are an excellent choice for a wildlife or pollinator garden since they come in many types that draw bees and birds that eat sunflower nectar and seeds.

Sunflowers and other heliotropes spin their blooms to face the Sun's path through the sky as it moves from east to west. To prepare for the rising sun, they then switch their blooms back to face the east at night. Heliotropism happens in the early stages before the flower becomes extensively seeded.

There is undoubtedly a sunflower that will grow in your garden because there is such a wide variety available nowadays. Choose among plants with spreading branches or single stems, lots of pollen for pollinators or none at all (great for bouquets), small size or height relative to other garden plants, or edible seed production. 

Recommended Sunflower Varieties

Everyone is familiar with the giant sunflowers that are supported by eight-foot-tall stalks. But did anyone tell you that some varieties have a modest 15-inch height restriction? The family of sunflowers is diverse!

How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know - Shrubhub

How to Plant Sunflowers

When it comes to planting sunflowers you need to make sure you choose the right location. Here are a few things to look out for when choosing your planting site.

How to Plant Sunflower Seeds

How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know - Shrubhub

When to Plant Sunflowers

Growing Sunflowers

Providing the right growth environment for your sunflowers might seem intimidating but it's a lot easier than you might think. Let's dive in!

How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know - Shrubhub


Harvest The Seeds

After the petals fall off, the brown center of the sunflower will develop into a seed head. The seeds can be harvested and consumed as a nutrient-rich snack, or you can preserve the seeds to replant your garden the following year. Grow sunflowers if you want to collect and consume the seed.

Cutting Sunflowers for Bouquets

How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know - Shrubhub

Pests & Diseases

The seeds will pique the interest of birds and squirrels. If you intend to use the seeds, use barriers to keep animals away. You can drape white polyspun garden fleece over each seed head as it develops and the blossom droops.

A high wire fence will deter deer from your property if you have any. Young sunflowers may have their heads nibbled off by curious deer.

Generally speaking, sunflowers are insect-free. Sometimes a tiny grey moth may lay its eggs in the blooms. Take the worms you want from the plants.

The plants can also be harmed by powdery mildew, rust, and downy mildew. Spray a general garden fungicide if fungal problems are discovered early.

Garden Design Tips

Cooking Tricks

The great thing about sunflowers seeds (besides the obvious of course) is that they have around 14 grams of sunflower oil and about 6 grams of protein in only one small measly ounce! Their lipids are almost completely unsaturated with around 9 grams of polyunsaturated fats and have monounsaturated fats of about 3 grams per ounce. But wait, it gets even better! Sunflower oil is a fantastic source of vitamin E and has a substantially high linoleic acid concentration.

How to Grow Sunflowers: All You Need To Know - Shrubhub

Roasting Sunflower Seeds

All you need to do to roast your soon-to-be delicious sunflower seeds is to soak the seeds overnight in very salty water, drain them and then make sure their dry by patting them down with paper towels.

Now onto the roasting! Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (162 degrees Celsius) and then pop your seed babies into the oven on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, make sure you have the seeds in a single layer! If they're on top of each other they won't roast properly! Once the 30 minutes are up, take your seeds out of the oven and stir them to make sure they are slightly toasted (you can do this while they roast as well). The most important part, make sure you don't burn them!

That's it!

Finally, your seeds are roasted which means you can add a bunch of different delicious flavorings to them! Try adding olive oil, seasoning salt, or BBQ-flavored seasonings for a fun twist!

Time to Get Planting!

You now have everything you need to know and it's time you get those gardening gloves on and get to planting sunflower seeds! Get ready for continuous blooms of gorgeous yellows and pinks every year!

From taller sunflower varieties to smaller flowers, there is a sunflower that is perfect for every garden!



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