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How to Grow Sunflowers

Updated on December 11, 2014

How to Plant Sunflowers

Sunflowers for Your Garden

Love sunflowers? Me too! The sunflower is a fascinating, very nutritious, and extremely easy to grow flower. Its actually the fastest growing giant among all flowers. Did you know that in just 8 weeks, it grows from a tiny seed in the ground to a towering, 10 foot tall flower?! They do all this with very little help from you, too. Learn all about fascinating sunflowers and how you can incorporate them into your life. From growing sunflower seeds from kits to harvesting, find out why you should add these sunny flowers to your garden.

Sunflower Facts - Truly Amazing Flowers Because


I absolutely adore sunflowers, to me they resemble giant daisies. There are about 60 species of sunflower, both annual and perennial, all of which do bloom in the late summer or fall. Most are native to North American, and they are widely cultivated throughout the world. The common sunflower (Helianthus annuus) is the state flower of Kansas.

When the sunflower plant is young, its head turns to face the sun each morning and follows the sun's movement throughout the day. Isn't that amazing!

With their huge yellow flowers, sunflowers even resemble the sun. The flower heads look like a single flower, but they are really many individual flowers. The central brown button is a dense mass of individual disc flowers, and the petals are actually flattened ray flowers. There are many varieties of sunflower, with coarse, hairy stems that range 2 to 12 feet tall. Flower heads can be anywhere from 2 inches to 1 foot across. There are varieties with double flowers, some even ball shaped. The miniature sunflowers are so cheerful and the giants are simply amazing.

Colors of sunflowers include yellow, gold, bronze, orange, and mahogany red. Center discs can be yellow, brown, reddish, or purple. I, of course, like them all.

Sunflower Growing Kit

You can grow a field of amazing sunflowers and not have a green thumb!The high quality flower seed included in this kit ensures that you'll get big beautiful sunflowers and it honestly couldn't be simpler.

Seasonal Tips for Growing Sunflowers - From Seed to Seed

Sunflower Seeds

Spring: Plant seeds directly into the ground as soon as danger of frost is past. Thin to avoid over crowding and keep area weed free.

Summer: Apply mulch to help conserve moisture and keep weeds down. Provide plenty of water and fertilize with a mild, organic fertilizer.

Fall: Harvest flower heads when you notice birds eating seeds. Hang in a dry, airy place for about a month to allow the sunflower seeds to dry.

Winter: Store seeds in an airtight container to preserve their vitamin content. Enjoy the sunflower seeds plain, roasted, or use them in salads or recipes.

Planting Sunflowers

Sunflowers can be grown in any region that has 80 to 120 days of warm sunshine. They are perfect plants for children's gardens, since they are so easy and fun to grow. Sunflowers do well in ordinary garden, although, the large flowered varieties prefer rich soil, lots of water, and mild, organic fertilizer. In spring, plant seed directly in the ground after frost danger has passed. Thin to avoid overcrowding; overcrowded plants tend to fall in heavy winds. For giant-sized heads, space plants 3 to 4 feet apart. For seed production, space more closely.

Harvesting Sunflowers - Getting Sunflower Seeds

How to Harvest Sunflowers

When you see birds begin to eat the sunflower seeds, the sunflowers are ready to harvest. Harvesting sunflowers usually takes place 80 to 120 days after sowing. To harvest sunflowers, cut off the heads, leaving 1 foot of stalk attached. Tie the sunflower stalks together and hang in a warm and airy place to dry. After about a month of drying, the sunflower seeds will come loose quite easily if you rub the heads lightly.

How To Roast Sunflower Seeds

Raw, mature sunflower seeds can easily be prepared at home by covering unshelled seeds with salted water (2 quarts of water to 1/4- to 1/2-cup of salt). Bring to a boil and simmer two hours or soak in a salt solution overnight. Drain and dry on absorbent paper.

Put sunflower seeds in a shallow pan in a 300-degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Take out of oven and add one teaspoon of melted butter or margarine to one cup of seeds. Stir to coat. Put on an absorbent towel. Salt to taste.

Nutritional Value of Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds have always been a favorite food of birds. The American Indians were the first to grow them as meal source. Eating sunflower seeds is increasingly popular with people of today, and with very good reason. Sunflower seeds are very nutritious being made of 24% protein; they provide more iron than raisins and more B vitamins than wheat. They are also a very good source of phosphorus, thiamine, and niacin.

Most Fascinating Flower

We all have our favorite flowers, I know, but which flower do you find truly fascinating when you see it.

What Do You Think is the Most Fascinating Flower

See results

Mini Sunflowers

Blooms in a Bag Organic Mini Sunflower Garden Kit
Blooms in a Bag Organic Mini Sunflower Garden Kit

Grow your own Sunflower Garden with this unique Blooms in a Bag Heirloom Mini Dwarf Sunflower Garden Kit.


Sunflower Seeds - Snack Mix

Sunflower Seeds for Eating

A mix of soft hulled seed bearing sunflowers that will keep you and the kids stocked with tasty, healthful sunflower seeds all season long. The sunflower snack mix is chosen from the latest and best varieties each year from over 3000 breeding lines of seeds.

Easier to eat, sunflower kernals are so yummy. They are available raw, oil roasted, salted, unsalted, or even honey roasted!

Add flavor to your sunflower seeds by adding your own personal choice of flavorings. You can opt to purchase them, too. Choose your favorite flavored sunflower seeds! Original salted, ranch, dell pickle, jalapeno hot pepper, or how about bacon sunflower seeds!

Gardening Tips, Gardens and Crafts

Learn how to grow sunflowers indoors, view beautiful varieties and sunflower gardens, and learn how to make a flower craft.

Did You Find This Lens Helpful?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      “Let x represent the anoumt of money Sister has.” Then, write “Let x – 72 equal the anoumt of money that Josh has.” I'd also argue that after you write the first sentence, you don't need a let for your second statement. Even in formal algebraic form, I'd think the following is more appropriate:Let x represent the anoumt of money that Sister earned, in dollars.Then Josh earned x-72 dollars, and Mother earned x-93 dollars.]]>

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 

      5 years ago

      Beautiful lens. I love sunflowers, your images are very pretty!

    • Zola Mars profile image

      Lydia Workman 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Wonderful information!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Sunflowers always brighten up a garden. Great lens.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      This year I am going to plant sunflowers around our garden and near one of our raspberry patches. I enjoy seeing the birds feasting on them in the fall.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      The sunflowers are popping up in several places in our front yard. I need to take seeds out from last year and put them in between where the other are already growing to ensure that I have lots more this year!

    • choosehappy profile image


      6 years ago from US

      Yes, loved it. And I love sunflowers---my grandmother had tons of them when I was growing up--and every time I see them, they remind me of her. Great memories ;) I fully intend to try to grow them very soon.

    • mrdata profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful lens! Thanks! I love Sunflowers :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips for planting and growing sunflowers.

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 

      6 years ago

      Nice Lens! I love sunflowers too :) Thanks for some interesting info.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have been growing sunflowers from seeds in my back garden right outside my home office. Yesterday, 3 of them sported a sunflower blossom. I was waiting to write about them ... and then I saw your lens got featured today. Like somebody read my mind or something.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I will definitely try to grow my own. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 

      6 years ago from Burbank, CA

      Love sunflowers. I'm from N. Dakota and have many fond memories of fields of them and late summer days and evenings enjoying Dakota Kid brand sunflower seeds!

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 

      6 years ago

      I really enjoyed your article about growing sunflowers and I did pick up some good tips.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      7 years ago

      Love this lens!

    • alexandradouglas profile image

      Alexandra Douglas 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Love sunflowers

    • malena10 profile image


      7 years ago

      I must try this Chocolate Coated Sunflower Seeds, looks so fine!

    • Blonde Blythe profile image

      Blonde Blythe 

      7 years ago from U.S.A.

      Awesome lens! Love those sunflowers! :)

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      7 years ago from Kent, UK

      I doubt whether I'd grow my own but there's nothing I like better than seeing a field full of sunflowers with their heads facing the same direction, following the passage of the sun.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like looking at sunflowers, they make me happy.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Your sunflower lens was very helpful. You just reminded me that I was going to plant sunflower plants at the corner of my garden. My husband did not want me to put in a bird feeder because a neighborhood cat might be attracted to it (which I must agree would not be good) but I figure maybe a natural birdfeeder might still work for me ;)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Oh my ... but I have been talking about growing sunflowers in my backyard for too long ... need to just do it ... since I've been cutting the limbs of my perimeter trees, I am gaining more sunlight on the yard. Might opt first for the Blooms in a Bag Organic Mini Sunflower Garden Kit.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Back for a blessing :) Love those sunflowers!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 

      8 years ago from Connecticut

      Nicely done! We grow sunflowers every year, and let the birds have the seeds. Every now and then, a volunteer plant sprouts up from an unexpected location in the garden.

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 

      8 years ago from USA

      I love sunflowers! (Too bad every time I try to plant them they get eaten before they get grown!) Beautiful lens.

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 

      8 years ago

      Our sunflower heads are drying in the garage right now. Great lens!

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      8 years ago

      Oh, I love this! We used to grow mammoth sunflowers and they were amazing to watch.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What a happy, sunny Lens, I love sunflowers, they always make me smile!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      very interesting lens...

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Beautiful lens with great information about growing sunflowers. Added as a featured lens on my great sunflower project lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I loved this lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Does the flower really follow the sun direction? Lolz....

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      8 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      I love sunflowers! They are so bright and cheery all the time. My son and I just planted several and are looking for to watch them grow soon. : )

    • Rockett LM profile image

      Rockett LM 

      8 years ago

      My mom has a garden filled with sunflowers. It is spectacular ... and I think that there are a few more varieties she'd love to get seeds for. Thanks!

    • justholidays profile image


      8 years ago

      My neighbor grows sunflowers every year and these make her garden look gorgeous! I tried once and they died as soon as they started to grow :(

      Blessed by an angel on Squidoo.

    • thesuccess2 profile image


      8 years ago

      Stunning Lens, but why do Sunflowers always look the other way?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Stunning sunflowers, they look great and yield oil too. I remember sunflower fields overlooking the sun in soft yellow hues that captivated me for hours together.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Did a lens on Where Do Sunflower Seeds Come From, and thought I would check out some other lenses on Sunflowers. Very nice lens. Still trying to feel my way around.

    • pinkrenegade lm profile image

      pinkrenegade lm 

      8 years ago

      I find this lens helpful. Thanks. I will be planting sunflowers soon. :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      I'm a sunflower lover (grew up in KS), but can't grow them with all the shade I have during the summer. I've lensrolled this to my Sunflower Costumes page.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm tall and have always related to sunflowers. ;) They're so darn happy - I just love them! And sunflower seeds are pretty fab, too!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love sunflowers, just planted a load in my front garden. Can't wait for the flowers!

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      8 years ago from Ljubljana

      Amazing flower, I agree and very fine lens. Well done:) One of this days I can share a recipe with minced sunflower seeds, I guess ...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh wow, with all of the Yard I have, I will have to grow some Sunflowers now!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I love Sunflowers, thanks for devoting a lens to them :)

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Yes! Some very beautiful varieties, and I never knew there were chocolate sunflower seeds. Thanks!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      8 years ago

      What a beautiful lens. We get lots of baby sunflowers when the squirrels bury seeds from our feeders. I like to plant a patch of giant ones too. Thanks for reminding me to get my seeds. Those chocolate covered seeds are yummy too!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Your great lens is helping us plan now to plant more sunflowers in our garden this Spring.

      I will use this lens as our guide. Thanks

    • imolaK profile image


      8 years ago

      I love sunflowers,too. Wonderful lens. Blessed by an Angel!

    • Barb McCoy profile image

      Barb McCoy 

      8 years ago

      I am a big fan of sunflowers. I am getting ready to plant ours for summer enjoyment in our garden. I picked several new varieties and am excited to see how they grow and bloom. Lovely lens! Adding to my favorites.

    • suzyjahi profile image


      8 years ago


    • glenbrook profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens. I like sunflowers 'cause they attract birds to my backyard. Easy to grow too.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What no mention of the most famous sunflowers of all, ".Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers" Thanks for the lens.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Cheery and Colorful Lens. 5* I love sunflowers for their beauty and the seeds taste great. Have a Happy Easter weekend! :)

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 

      10 years ago

      Great lens. I love sunflowers. It is amazing to see a field of sunflowers and watch them turn to face the sun throughout the day.

    • profilesincolor profile image


      10 years ago

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing! :-)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I am so happy I found your lens Cynthia! I just joined Squidoo and I created my first lens about my favorite food in the whole world.....Sunflower Seeds! I found your lens very interesting. Thanks!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I've never grown them but I do like the seeds. The tapestry above is really pretty.

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 

      10 years ago

      Great lens. 5*'s. I just love sunflowers. I grow a number of different varieties every year. The birds & the bees love me for it too. :-)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      ooh oohh!! i love this lens. i've always wanted to grow sunflowers. i tried to once and failed miserably (i'm not much of a gardener.) but i'd still love to grow these one day. they're so beautiful.

    • papawu profile image


      10 years ago

      I will not lie and say that I am a green thumb so I won't. But, I truly do love sunflowers and it has been so long since I have seen a fields or plot of sunflowers. They are just so bright and lively and uplifting. Beautifully done lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great Lens abt gardening ......i also love Sunflower and the thing i love abt the sub flower that its grow straight and as i do not have good space at home this is easy to grow sunflower through the containers like Flower Window Boxes, Aluminum Window Boxes Flower Boxes....

    • kathypi lm profile image

      kathypi lm 

      11 years ago

      i love sunflowers now, i am a birdwatcher, while

      feeding my birds, they dropped some sunflower seeds to the ground, i now have sunflowers growing all over my flower beds, which i think is pretty neat, thanks to my birds, i now appreciate sunflowers, love your lens, thank you, kathy


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