Growing Sunflower

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
P P P P       P P P P P

(Best months for growing Sunflower in Australia - sub-tropical 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 10°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 45 cm 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

27 Dec 20, Tess (Australia - tropical climate)
I live on Horn Island on the tip of Cape York, is the best time to plant the seeds after the wet season in April?
05 Jan 21, Anon (Australia - temperate climate)
Not too many plants like wet soggy soil. Read the notes here.
20 Sep 20, Anita (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
When is the best time to plant giant sunflowers in the Southern Highlands, NSW?
27 Sep 20, (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Go to cool/mountain climate zone and check the planting guide at the top of the page.
25 Aug 20, Josie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi! Wondering if it’s too earlie to plant giant Russians , I’m just north of Byron bay in the mountains, nights are still getting below 10 degrees and the soil in my garden is red clay type soil mixed with soil improvers, too cold still?
26 Aug 20, Anonymous (Australia - temperate climate)
I'm sub-tropical and I have seeds germinating now (night temps av around 9-10 (7-14) and day temps around 23-24 (21-28)). Hold off for another week or two and then give it a go. We may have another cold period before winter is finished.
01 Jul 20, Emma (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I was hoping for some planting advice, how many seeds in each amount of soil?! Is it a good time to plant the seeds now in winter nice and deep to get the best results come spring time? Thanks Perth WA
06 Jul 20, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Plant seeds 50-60cm apart and rows 60-80cm apart. You can plant two seeds and then reduce to one after germination. If good seeds just one is required each 60-60cm. Don't plant until spring as you need a lot warmer soil than what it is now. Do not plant seeds deeper than what is suggested.
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.
Showing 1 - 10 of 72 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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