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Growing Sunflower

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 50°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 18 inches 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

04 Sep 19, margret botha (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
can I plant sunflowers in wellington westen cape
14 Nov 19, anon (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Look up your climate zone. Then select your crop to plant, then check the calendar when you can plant. Read the notes about growing it.
01 Jun 19, Thushari (Australia - temperate climate)
I had gian Russian sunflowers grown in my garden in Dec. Summer time in Melbourne. It grew nicely. It didn't grow up to 3 m. Only about 1 meyer tall. Big flowers similar to a size of a plate. Again i grew them in Autumn flowering started in late may. Looks like a bit slow considering cool windy weather conditions. I keep them inside ( its in pots) I keep them outdoor only when its Sunny. The name says Russian i assumed it ll grow in.Winter here in Melbourne. But flowering takes a bit longer than I thought. Anyone got good suggestions if I m doing the right thing? One plant I put on the ground it nearly dead due to heavy windy weather. I try to keep room temperature for the plant . Heaters on in my house most of the day. Any ideas most welcome? I grow flowers first time on my life. But really enjoying it. Thanks
04 Sep 19, TempestSkye (Australia - temperate climate)
If growing sunflowers from seed, they really need to be planted in September/October (in Melbourne) at the latest. I found that Giant Russian Sunflowers are very hungry and very thirsty, so in addition to lots of sunshine and warmth, it needs a lot of nutrient rich soil and a decent amount of water to keep it moist (but not too wet) at all times. Mine grew 2-3m in the first year. The second year I had a volunteer sunflower plant grow where they had been growing the previous year. It sprouted late and I didn't give it much help in terms of fertiliser and watering was less often than I had the first year too. It only grew a metre or so high before it succumbed to autumn chill.
20 May 19, bonga strydom (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
wish to know, can i plant sunflower in KZN midlands area of Estcourt and recive bulks? where is the sunflower market which is reliable?
03 Dec 18, Thulani Biyela (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Hi. I am at Mkhondo area, can I plant commercially sunflower in December till January?
17 Sep 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Read the notes here about when to plant, how long it takes from planting to harvest. Probably can grow in most places. Animals if hungry will probably eat them. How big the flower grows will depend on how well the plant grows to some extent.( And the variety) If first attempt at growing you probably have little chance at producing flowers on a certain date.
09 Sep 18, Lynda Lepelaars (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can sunflowers grow at the coast, I was going to grow some up against a fence. Also I have another section at a different location in which I have hundreds of seeds that I would like to plant out. Do you have to keep them away from livestock? Look forward to your help. Regards Lynda
28 Jul 18, Sheryl (New Zealand - temperate climate)
We would like to grow sunflowers for my daughters wedding in late February 2018, I am in Auckland. When would be the best time to plant them? I will buy the young plants from a garden centre I think. We are going to grow them on a friends large property out in Whitford. They may get some wind. Also they are rabbits on the land?? Many thanks
23 Jul 18, John (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Hi, I am interested in growing sunflowers in large quantities. I do own large open fields with the advantage of long hours of daily sunlight. I live in Lesotho, just outside of the capital town Maseru, completely surrounded by South Africa. It is currently winter but warming up very quickly with Spring coming in September, When is the best time to plant seeds?
Showing 1 - 10 of 98 comments

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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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