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Sunflowers are quite popular this time of year, although I enjoy growing them all year long. I love how bright and colorful sunflowers are, and love even more that there are varieties I can grow in containers on my balcony! Today I want to talk to you about how to grow sunflowers.
Sunflowers are great flowers to grow from seeds, especially if you are a beginner gardener or want to enjoy gardening with your children. They are one of the few flowers that I have only started from seeds. They also don’t take long to grow from seeds, making them a great starter plant for kids and new gardeners.
Sunflowers date back to being grown about 3,000 years ago. Sunflowers have been growing in the Great Plains for years. They were used by Native Americans for fiber, oil, medicine, and seeds. They are now quite popular all over the country and the world.
Sunflower Fun Facts
Here are some fun facts I found about sunflowers while researching for this post.
- Typical sunflowers can grow 5 to 12 feet tall.
- Sunflowers are a native flower of North and South America.
- The inside of a large sunflower is made up of tiny flowers.
- Sunflower, in French, is the word tournesol, which means turned sun, as explained below.
- Sunflowers turn toward the sun as they grow.
- There are 60 different varieties of sunflowers in the world.
- The sunflower is Kansas’ state flower.
- Sunflower has flower in its name, which is the only flower named this way.
- The tallest sunflower grew to be over 25 feet tall!
- One sunflower can have as many as 2,000 seeds.
Just like with many other types of plants, there are many types of sunflowers. Tall, short, yellow, and different colored ones can be found. Here are some of the popular tall varieties.
American Giant-These grow up to 15 feet tall. The flower can grow to one foot in width, so make sure you have plenty of room to grow these!
Skyscaper-These sunflowers can grow up to 12 feet tall, hence their name! Their huge petals can also reach a length of 14 inches.
Schweinitz’s Sunflower-This sunflower is rare and almost looks like a daisy. It was named after botanist Lewis David von Schweintz, who discovered this type of sunflower in the 1800s.
These are my favorite, since the smaller varieties grow shorter, perfect for small gardens and containers.
Dwarf Sunspot-These sunflowers are great for containers, despite their size. They can get up to 24 inches tall. I’m currently growing a few right now!
Pacino-This little sunflower also goes by the name “dwarf pacino gold”. These grow well in small spaces and containers since they only reach 12-24 inches high.
Sunny Smile-These little sunflowers are great to plant around animals and children, since their stems are sturdy. Sunny Smiles can grow up to 15 inches tall.
Sunflowers are known to be the color of the sun, yellow, but there are also different colored varieties of sunflowers. Here are a few of them.
Mrs. Mars-This colorful sunflower grows petals that are pink near the middle and light yellow on the tips, making them stand out. They can grow up to two feet tall.
Moulin Rouge-This bright red colored sunflower stands out among the typical yellow sunflowers. This sunflower would look great mixed in a flower bed with other flowers and bouquets.
Chianti-This strikingly dark sunflower produces dark red wine colored petals, hence its name. This would make a great contrast in a bouquet with lighter colored sunflowers.
Growing sunflowers is a really fun and easy gardening endeavor, for new gardeners and children who want to get into gardening. And yes, even seasoned gardeners who enjoy the huge yellow (and other colored) blooms. You can start sunflowers by growing seeds or buying the plants from a garden supply store. I like to grow mine from seeds since they are so easy to grow!
Feel free to start sunflowers from a plant or seeds. Both work. I LOVE starting all my seeds in Jiffy’s Windowsill Greenhouse Kits! They are perfect for my balcony garden! I have two and rotate them when starting seeds. I love that they come with special soil pellets that expand when you add water, too! I also feature these on my gardener gift guide.
When the pellets dry out, add a little water. I use a waterspray. It also keeps our cat, Tiger, from escaping outdoors. When the seedlings get to several inches high, I transfer them to a larger pot and place them in the sun. I did this to a sunflower recently and its already starting to bud! I can’t wait to see the yellow flowers bloom!
Keep watering the plants. Not too much water or you will drown the plant. Make sure the flowers are in the sun, at least 6 hours a day. Enjoy your sunflowers, whether you grow them tall from the ground or in containers!
Caring for the Sunflower Plant
Caring for sunflowers is quite easy to do, since they are hardy plants. We had some huge winds come through yesterday, and although the winds damaged some plants, my little sunflower buds are still here.
Sunflowers just need full sun, water periodically, and some fertilizer to keep growing. You can also plan on planting more sunflowers every few weeks to keep enjoying them, if you have the space.
Sunflowers also make great flowers to add to a bouquet. Grow several to enjoy as a bunch, or combine with other cut flowers that you prefer. The choice is yours!
Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
Do you enjoy snacking on sunflower seeds? Save some money by using the seeds from your own sunflowers.
Wait until the petals are dry and begin falling off. The seeds should look mature and large. The seeds will also start to get darker when they are ready to be harvested.
Enjoy Your Sunflowers
How do you grow your sunflowers? Do you have a bunch of space or a little space to work with like me? If you haven’t tried growing sunflowers yet, I highly recommend that you do! Big or small, they are enjoyable to grow! Let me know how to grow sunflowers your way in the comments section below!
Want to keep track of all your beautiful plants in your garden? Check out my yearly garden planner!Yearly Garden Planner