Growing Sunflowers in Your Garden: A Detailed Guide

Growing Sunflowers in Your Garden: A Detailed Guide

Jun 13th 2024

Sunflowers are tall, bright, and beautiful and scream summer like nothing else. These beauties are usually associated with yellow but come in other varieties, such as red, creamy, orange, and mixed shades. Besides their colors, you'd want to grow them in your garden for multiple reasons, such as attracting beneficial pollinators, enjoying their delicious seeds, and many more.

Let's discuss how you can grow sunflowers in your backyard and take care of them effectively.

Sunflowers 101

Let's briefly overview sunflowers before discussing how to plant and care for them.

The botanical name of sunflowers is Helianthus annuus, and they look like large daisies. They have various types, with some giant sunflowers growing up to 12 feet tall. Sunflowers come in various petal counts, too, with the single layer of petals being the most common and some with double and teddy bear petal patterns.

They are heliotropic, which means they follow the sun across the sky during the daytime. At night, they face the east and prepare for the sun that rises the next morning. It's crucial to remember that the maturation period for most sunflower varieties is 85-95 days.

Following is a table containing the basic information of a sunflower:

Botanical Name

Helianthus annuus

Plant Type


Sun Exposure

Full sun

Soil pH

Neutral to Slightly Alkaline, Slightly Acidic to Neutral

Bloom Time


Flower Color

Yellow, orange, red, multicolored

Special Features

Attracts songbirds and butterflies

Planting Sunflowers in Your Garden

If you're thinking about planting sunflowers in your garden, there are various aspects to remember. Let's discuss all of them and help you overcome the challenges you might encounter.

1. Find a Sunny Spot

The first rule for planting sunflowers in your garden is to find a sunny spot. Sunflowers love the Sun and want a location with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. You should also protect them from strong winds by placing fences around them or planting them near a building. Wind protection is even more critical if you're growing larger varieties because they are top-heavy and could get toppled more easily.

2. Drainage and Soil pH

The spot where you plant sunflowers should have well-draining soil. You wouldn't want the place to become a pool after rain, leading to soil compaction and affecting the growth of sunflowers. When it comes to pH, sunflowers like it best when the soil is slightly acidic to alkaline, ranging between pH 6.0 to 6.8.

3. Spacing

Proper spacing is essential for sunflower growth, as they grow tall and have an elaborate root system. You should prop them up on fences or stakes as they grow larger.

Here are the things to keep in mind regarding spacing:

  • Single-stem sunflowers should be kept 4-9" apart, as it helps them have larger blooms. However, you can plant them closer if you want smaller blooms for bouquets.
  • Branching sunflowers should be planted 12-24" apart.

4. The Equipment You'll Need

Following are the equipment, tools, and materials you'll need to plant sunflowers:

  • Hand trowel
  • Garden shears
  • Sunflower seeds

5. Instructions for Planting Sunflowers

Here are the steps you need to follow when planting sunflowers in your garden:

Step 1: Plant sunflower seeds at least one inch deep and six inches apart.

Step 2: Give the plants plenty of room to grow. The rows should be 30 inches apart, except for smaller varieties you can plant closer.

Step 3: Use a small amount of fertilizer at the planting time to encourage stronger root growth. It'll help the plant to stay firm during strong winds.

Step 4: You can also try staggered planting over 5-6 weeks to enjoy continuous blooms.

Step 5: If you notice birds gathering around the seeds, quickly spread a net over the area until they germinate.

Step 6: The final step is to add mulch, but you must wait for the sunflowers to sprout. Use 2 inches of soil, leaf compost, wood chips, or other organic matter to regulate moisture and temperature. DIY leaf mulch also enables you to minimize fertilizer use.

Caring for Sunflowers

Planting sunflowers in your beloved garden isn't just about sowing seeds and forgetting about them. You must stay wary of the conditions and actively monitor their growth. Ensuring the right conditions can help them grow faster and better.

Let's see what you can do to take care of your sunflowers.

1. Soil

Sunflowers are indigenous to America, meaning they are mostly happy with any soil. You can put them in sandy, clay, moderately acidic, or alkaline soils, and they won't budge. However, one crucial fact to remember is that they suffer from root rot, meaning you must prevent water logging at all costs. And the best way to avoid it is to have well-drained and loamy soil.

2. Water

Luckily, sunflowers have also turned out to be pretty drought resistant. True, they need some moisture during their growth, but not watering them daily won't hurt them. After germination, you can water them once a week. It's important not to water them too frequently because dry roots are crucial to helping them get deeper into the soil and support larger stems. According to experts, sunflowers require around one inch of water per week.

3. Sunlight

Sunlight fuels sunflowers' growth, and they need at least 6 hours daily. The ideal range is 6-8 hours, so you must plant the seed where your garden gets the maximum sunlight. Moreover, instead of letting your aesthetic preferences take hold, be practical and look for a sunny spot to plant sunflower seeds.

4. Weed Control

While mature sunflower plants can outcompete weeds, caring for weeds in the early development stages is critical for optimal growth.

5. Disease & Insects

A few diseases can hamper sunflowers' growth, including Alternaria, Phoma leaf spot, Rhizopus head rot, and more. Humid conditions and extended leaf wetness usually provide breeding grounds for these diseases. Sunflowers are particularly susceptible to these problems at the beginning of their life cycle.

Insects can also cause serious trouble since sunflowers appeal to them. Sometimes, people use sunflowers to deter insects away from their main crops. Here, it's crucial to note that sunflowers also attract friendly insects, such as bees and butterflies. Therefore, you must exercise caution while using insecticide not to harm friendly insects.

How To Harvest Sunflowers

You can also harvest your sunflower seeds to snack on or feed birds. Here's how you can do that:

  • When seeds are ripe, and the flower heads start drooping down, cut them with the around 2-foot stem attached.
  • Hang them upside down after tying them with cheesecloth to let them dry.


Sunflowers are amazing and can be an excellent addition to your beloved garden. They are easy to grow when you have the right product from DripWorks, a reliable and trusted name. We are committed to water conservation.

So, contact us today, and one of our team members will assist you accordingly. We'll help you beautify your garden the way you like.