How Do Sunflower Seeds Grow?


One of the largest and most colorful flowers is the sunflower. They add joy and a dramatic burst of color to the garden with their lovely, golden yellow petals. In addition, sunflower plants are heat-tolerant, pest-resistant, and quick-growing, making them simple to grow.

You can often plant sunflower seeds between early March and mid-May, but this will depend on the variety, so always check the seed packet. You must safeguard the seeds until they have germinated and seedlings are about 5 cm tall to give them the best start; it is preferable to do this indoors to prevent frost damage.

Sunflower seeds: Germination of sunflower

Do sunflowers really grow seeds?

A sunflower is an annual plant that has a big daisy-like bloom face. Although you can find the blossoms in various hues (yellow, red, orange, maroon, and brown), they are most frequently a bright yellow color with brown cores that mature into large heads full of seeds. They self-sow naturally. A few seeds at a time, when the seed heads ripen, fall to the ground.

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How do you get seeds from a sunflower?

You can harvest sunflower seeds in one way by letting them fully ripen on the stalk. Next, cut the stem about an inch (2.5 cm) below the head when the seeds are fully developed and just starting to come loose from the head. Now blow off the chaff, vigorously wipe the seeds off the head with your hand, and let them dry before storing.

When roughly two-thirds of the seeds are ready, the second way of collecting sunflowers begins. First, cut the stem into a longer piece. Using 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) works well. Next, the heads should be wrapped in a paper bag and hung to dry in a space with good ventilation for a few weeks. Ensure that it is warm but not overheated.

Open hand holding six sunflower seeds.

How long does it take to grow a sunflower from a seed?

Depending on the type, they can flower from seed sowing anywhere between 11 and 18 weeks. In light of this, it is wise to plant sunflower seeds every two weeks to have a steady supply of cheery sunflowers throughout the summer.

Do sunflowers seed themselves?

Sunflowers easily self-seed. They frequently self-seed and will appear in unexpected places. However, they will flourish more if the soil is fertile. On the other hand, the giant types rarely self-seed because squirrels and birds can easily consume their large seeds.

Three small pots growing sunflowers from seeds indoors near a window.

Planting sunflower seeds in pots

Growing sunflowers in a pot can make them quite content. They require a container, but it must be the proper size for the plant. Check the height information on your packet of seeds as some sunflower kinds grow significantly bigger than others.

Then directly into pots filled with well-moisturized, high-quality potting mix, space seeds 4-5 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Germination takes about 8 to 10 days.

When seedlings reach a height of a few inches, transplant them into larger pots at least 12 to 18 inches deep, making sure to space them out evenly. In other words, there should only be one plant in an 8-inch pot and three in a 15-inch pot. In addition, the seedlings should be spaced 6 inches apart in large planters.

Maintain weed control and moist soil. Use netting or plastic berry baskets to shield seedlings from predatory or nesting birds.

Don’t forget to put the pot in a location that receives a lot of direct sunshine.

How many sunflower seeds do you plant in one spot?

Space is needed to grow sunflower seeds—plant three seeds in each 3- to 4-inch peat pot to start sunflowers indoors. A soilless planting medium provides optimal drainage.

Do sunflowers need deep pots?

Sunflowers grown in pots will do well with smaller types. For example, cultivars that reach a height of 2 feet (61 cm) or less should be planted in a pot with a diameter of 10 to 12 inches (25 to 31 cm), whereas cultivars that reach a height of 4 feet (1 m) or more require a larger pot of 3 to 5 gallons (11 to 19 L) or even larger.

Is there a special way to plant sunflower seeds?

After properly warming the soil, you should plant sunflowers 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep and around 6 inches apart. If you want, you can plant several seeds and then select the best ones to grow to a height of six inches.

Sunflower seeds growing in the ground.

How late can you plant sunflowers?

Don’t worry if you plant your sunflower seeds a little late. They will still grow if you plant the sunflower seeds in the early summer. So simply a little bit longer to see those magnificent blossoms.

Can you plant sunflowers in late June?

Planting later crops in June also applies to sunflowers, including marigolds, cosmos, zinnias, four o’clocks, nasturtiums, and all of the annuals that usually burn out by late summer. 

What is the last month to plant sunflowers?

Even though it’s getting close to the end of summer, you can still plant sunflowers and get their benefits in the coming fall. Depending on the cultivar, sunflowers bloom 55 to 75 days after planting; 60 days is a respectable average.

How long does it take for sunflowers to sprout?

Sunflower seedlings will sprout after 10 to 14 days. If the soil temperature is ideal, 2 to 3 feet should be left between each row if you are planting in rows. It takes space to grow sunflower seeds. Therefore, you should thin plants down in a few weeks to ensure correct spacing.  

Can you plant sunflowers in May?

Yes! After the threat of spring, frost has gone, and the soil temperature has reached 60 degrees, you can sow seeds. Depending on where you reside, this will happen between March and May.

Sunflower grow in the wild

Do sunflowers come back every year?

Sunflowers can either be annuals, which require yearly replanting, or perennials, which grow yearly from the same plant. Knowing the difference between the two is not difficult.

How do you tell if a sunflower is annual or perennial?

Here are the common differences to tell whether your sunflower is an annual or perennial.

  • Growth pattern. Annual sunflowers often develop from a single stem spaced apart from other stems. The many stems that emerge from the earth form a compact clump as perennial sunflowers grow in clumps.
  • Seed heads. Unlike perennial sunflowers, which only grow small seed heads, annual sunflowers can contain both large and small seed heads.
  • Roots. Annual sunflowers only have the classic string-like roots; however, perennial sunflowers will contain tubers and rhizomes linked to their roots. Additionally, perennial sunflowers have deeper roots than annual sunflowers, which have shallow roots.
  • Germination. Annual sunflowers will sprout and expand quickly, while perennial sunflowers will grow much more slowly.
  • Blooms. Perennial sunflowers produced from seed won’t bloom for at least two years after planting. However, annual sunflowers will bloom the first year after being grown from seeds.
  • Post-winter emergence. Early in the spring, perennial sunflowers will emerge from the ground. Late April is when annual sunflowers that were reseeded will begin to emerge.

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