Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

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 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-11 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Cucumbers, Melons, Sweetcorn, Squash
  • Avoid growing close to: Potatoes
  • Young plants

Large showy flowers, available in a variety of colours Giant or Russian varieties are best for seed production

Sunflowers do not like to be transplanted.

Grow to 1 - 2 metres (4 - 6 ft) so need staking or protection from the wind. Protect the seed heads from birds when ripening.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sunflower

Use seeds fresh or toasted

Your comments and tips

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?
23 Jun 18, Susie (USA - Zone 8b climate)
When is the last month I can successfully plant Mammoth Sunflower seeds in my zone 8b?
25 Jun 18, (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I asked that question in a FB garden group and they said to plant now
18 May 18, Carol Graf-Haslam (USA - Zone 10b climate)
When should I plant Mammoth grey stripe sunflower seeds? I live in Southwest Florida and the temperature can range from 32 for a few hours during the winter with highs in the mid to Upper sixties but starting in April the temperature goes into the 90 +range. Should I plant them in October or November 4 a January crop or plant them in March for a May crop? I don't want them to burn and I don't want them to freeze. Please help. Thank you and I am glad to see that the friends in South Africa are also in the same predicament as I am.
13 May 18, (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
why sunflower is a popular crop option in marginal areas of South Africa
14 Apr 18, Therese Elizabeth Ries (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi I have planted and grown with some success King Sunflowers . When they have finished flowering and the heads start to drop , should I cut off their heads to dry out the seeds for sowing for the next season ?
16 Apr 18, Mike (Australia - tropical climate)
Let the plant die back a bit before cutting the seed head off.
Showing 1 - 10 of 91 comments

Looking at the climate for Malmesbury in Western Cape you seem to have fairly mild winters. wait until after any frosts are over then plant your seed. If you have heavy clay soil try and break it up a bit by adding gypsum. I would try and work in about 2kg per square metre. You could also plant field peas or lupins to help break up the soil. These can be forked in when they are flowering. If your soil is really degraded this should help. Alternatively plant some of the shorter varieties that only grow from knee to waist high. Sunflowers are quite tough and respond well to good watering. Trust this helps.

- John

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply


All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Buy the app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on Gardenate. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter


Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

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.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.