Growing Sunflower

helianthus annuus : Asteraceae / the daisy family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
        P P            

(Best months for growing Sunflower in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 10°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 45 cm apart
  • Harvest in 10-11 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Cucumbers, Melons, Sweetcorn, Squash
  • Avoid growing close to: Potatoes
  • Sunflowers
  • Young plants

Sunflowers need full sun and grow best in fertile, well-drained, moist soil with plenty of mulch. Sunflowers do not like to be transplanted so are best grown direct from seed. The giant or Russian varieties are preferred for seed production.

Grow to 1 - 2 metres (4 - 6 ft) so need staking or protection from the wind. Protect seed heads from birds when ripening with nets or paper bags. Chickens love a sunflower head hung for them to peck!

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sunflower

Use seeds fresh or toasted or press for oil.

Your comments and tips

07 Sep 08, Jaci (Australia - temperate climate)
Sunflower seeds are very easy to grow. I have grown them for a few years for looks, but being a very experimental gardener, I plan this year on growing them to semi-support my tomato plants. I have a few varieties but have chosen the Giant Russian variety to take on this job. They not only look great in the vegie patch, they attract bees and produce lots of seeds (for eating). I'll just have to watch it that the birds will help themselves to the seeds (and the tomatoes).
15 Sep 08, tripperx (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I get a 2 kg packet of sunflower seeds from the pet food shop and plant them in neglected parts of the garden. I find them easy to grow and people always comment on them.
17 Sep 08, gareth (Australia - temperate climate)
sunflower seeds are great for a snack and are extremly good for you perhaps grow 3-4 plants they also look attractive
04 Mar 09, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello fellow sunflower lovers I have grown a dozen this summer .... but the birds always get to them before the seeds can ripen. Are there any tricks to ripening 'off-stalk' so to speak? I don't want to net them - it seems silly. Thanks Nash
10 Mar 09, Beattie (Australia - tropical climate)
Do you have to do anything to the seeds once they are taken from the plants before they are eaten???
28 Feb 23, √Člodie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Ive always eaten them straight out of the flower as a kid! They are fleshy and juicy. If you like them dry or toasted then probably need to do something!
03 Aug 09, Samantha (Australia - temperate climate)
I purchase sunflower seeds by the 3kg bag for the lorikeets in my garden, can these seeds be sown or have they been 'treated'?
14 Aug 09, Norma (Australia - temperate climate)
I don't think the bird seeds are treated... I put a dish out now and then for the birds and they are such messy eaters, they scatter the seeds all over the place. We currently have quite a nice patch of sunflowers with flowers just about to open under where the plate is on the fence. We have now decided to invest in a bag to plant along the back fence.
26 Aug 09, ian robertson (Australia - temperate climate)
Hello all, i am a high school teacher at urrbrae ag hs down in adelaide. We have a class project to grow sunflowers. I have been allocated a good size plot. I want to make sure i get the correct variety..i want to grow the sunflowers which reach up to 5-6 feet and i would like advice on growing them. we are selling them to raise money for kids cancer and we are making a short film to go with it.
16 Aug 11, David Costa (United Kingdom - cool/temperate climate)
Hi, I own a flower shop in the UK and a customer of ours has aksed to deliver some cut sunflowers to an address in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Our suppliers say that they are completely unavailable as it is winter. Is this the case? Or can someone help and point me in the right direction? Many thanks
Showing 1 - 10 of 163 comments

Google a sunflower seed selling website and pick one out.

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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