All about How to take care of Sunflowers?

All about How to take care of Sunflowers?

Plant Sunflowers if you want to grow something spectacular. Sunflowers are available in a variety of sizes, from tiny to huge, and in addition to the iconic golden-yellow blossoms, you can also grow Sunflowers with red, orange, or even white blooms. Let’s look at how to take care of Sunflowers in Garden How’s post.

The lifecycle of a Sunflowers

The lifecycle of a Sunflowers
The lifecycle of a Sunflowers
  • Seedling: As a seedling, the Sunflower begins its life cycle. The seed germinates around 3 days after planting, and the case begins to split as the roots shoot out and push deeper into the earth.
  • Shoot: After approximately a week, a shoot will emerge from the earth, slowly seeking for the sun. The leaves will begin to open shortly after the shoot develops; the stem and leaves will continue to grow longer and wider as time passes.
  • Bud: A bud will ultimately appear as the seedling grows. As the flower head expands, the bud will gradually unfold.
  • Bloom: Finally, when the flower head fully unfolds, the beauty of the Sunflower is seen.
  • Wilt: The petals will begin to droop after a lengthy season. The entire bloom will eventually shrink, at which point the seeds will be discharged and strewn over the ground.
  • Regrowth: The Sunflower life cycle will begin anew after the seed has settled in an optimum location.

Do Sunflowers need a lot of care?

A Sunflower is a magnificent plant. Many popular Sunflower cultivars grow fast and are resistant to drought and disease. However, if you protect and care for them in moderation, you’ll have a lovely addition to your summer garden.

How to take care of Sunflowers in the garden?

Sunflower seedlings

Sunflower seedlings
Sunflower seedlings

1. Maintain a moist environment around young plants

Until the sprouts emerge from the earth, keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Water 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) away from the plant while the sprouts are still young and delicate to encourage root growth without washing the seedlings away.

2. Keep pests away from the plants

Sunflower seeds are loved by birds, squirrels, and snails, who may dig them up even before the sprouts appear. Cover the ground in netting to make it more difficult while allowing sprouts to grow. To create a barrier around your planting area, place snail bait or snail repellant in a circle.

If you live in an area where deer are present, surround the plants with chicken wire as they begin to produce leaves. You can wrap the leaves with a 36-inch (91-cm) piece of chicken wire and raise it with a few 6 ft. (1.8 m) bamboo poles or wooden posts as the sunflowers develop. This should keep deer away from them.

3. Water mature plants once a week

Reduce the watering frequency to once a week once the plants have produced stems and a strong root system. During the weekly session, water liberally, and if the weather is dry, increase the amount of water. Sunflowers, unlike most other annual flowers, demand more water.

The time between when your plant develops flower buds and when it blooms is essential, and not getting enough water can harm it. Once the flower buds begin to form, continue to water your sunflowers regularly.

4. Trim the plants back (optional)

Remove the smaller, weaker flowers after the flowers are approximately 3 in (7.5 cm) tall, and space the remaining flowers at least 1 ft (30 cm) apart. This will provide more space and nutrients to the larger, healthier sunflowers, resulting in taller stalks and larger blooms.

If you prefer little blooms for bouquets or if you planted at this spacing to begin with, skip this step.

5. Fertilize just when necessary or not at all

If you’re growing sunflowers for your personal pleasure, fertilizer isn’t necessary because they thrive without it and can be damaged if overfed. Dilute the fertilizer in water and pour it into a “moat” around the plant, well away from the base, whether you’re aiming to grow extra-tall sunflowers or cultivating them as a crop. The best solution is probably a balanced or nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

A one-time application of slow-release fertilizer worked into the soil is another option.

6. If necessary, stake the plants

Plants that are over 3 ft (0.9 m) tall, as well as types that grow many branches, may require stakes. Using fabric or another soft material, tie the stalk loosely to the stake.

7. Obtain the seeds (optional)

Sunflower flowers can last anywhere from 30 to 45 days. The greenback of the flower head will begin to turn brown at the conclusion of this period. Cover the blooms with paper bags to protect them from birds if you wish to collect seeds for roasting or planting next year. Once the blooms have dried completely, cut them off.

The blossoms will release seeds for the following year’s crop if left alone. However, harvesting them yourself ensures pest protection.

Sunflowers in growing process

Sunflowers do not require fertilizer, and too much nitrogen might result in a lanky plant with delayed flowering. If your soil is deficient, apply compost or slow-release fertilizer to the soil’s surface. This should aid the plant without overdoing it.

How do you take care of Sunflowers in pots?

Sunflowers in pots
Sunflowers in pots

1. Water

Keep an eye on the watering requirements of container-grown Sunflowers. They will dry out faster than plants cultivated in the garden. Depending on the weather, a basic rule of thumb is to offer one inch (2.5 cm.) of water every week. When the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil seems dry to the touch, water the plants. 

2. Add fertilizer

You probably won’t need fertilizer if you planted in nutritious soil with plenty of aged compost. When watering, some experienced home gardeners add some balanced fertilizer to the pail, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This is a good boost if you believe the soil has lost some of its nutrients due to frequent watering, but I wouldn’t do it more than once during the growing season.

Fertilize the flowers using a high-nitrogen liquid plant fertilizer, then switch to a high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer when a bloom appears.

3. Keep your potted Sunflowers in sunny areas

All Sunflowers cultivated in pots, regardless of type, should have drainage holes and be placed in full light.  As the seedlings grow, they require as much direct sunlight as possible to ensure that the stems are thick and strong enough to support the large flower head. Once established, your Sunflower should receive 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Sunflowers’ heliotropic heads follow the path of the sun. They will bend towards the sun if not in direct sunlight, eventually damaging the stem.

sunny areas
Keep your potted Sunflowers in sunny areas

4. Water Sunflowers several times a week

Keep an eye on the watering requirements of container-grown Sunflowers. They will dry out faster than plants cultivated in the garden. Depending on the weather, a basic rule of thumb is to offer one inch (2.5 cm) of water every week. When the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil seems dry to the touch, water the plants. 

Water your Sunflowers more frequently than you would other plants. Check the soil every day or two; it should be moist at all times. Give your Sunflowers about 2 gallons (7.6 L) of water once a week. If you put your Sunflowers outside, they should be fine with rainwater once they reach a height of 1 to 2 feet (0.30 to 0.61 m). If you have a hot, dry day, you may need to compensate. Water the root zone in a 3 to 4 in (7.6 to 10.2 cm) radius around the plant as it grows. Keep a spray bottle nearby and regularly spritz the flower head with water.

5. Staking Sunflowers

When you plant a variety that will grow to be more than four feet tall, it will require support from the start. Bamboo stakes are an ideal choice. When growing taller Sunflower types in pots, another option is: Place the containers along a fence and gently tie the stems to the fence with a sisal twine loop. This option does eliminate the ability to move the pots in inclement weather or for better sun exposure, so plan accordingly. As soon as you see that a seed has sprouted and will become a viable plant, place any support that will be in the pot or in the ground nearby.

If the cage doesn’t completely encircle the plant, once it’s six inches tall, gently tie the main stem to the support. For this task, tie the stems with sisal twine or cotton or nylon fabric loops, leaving four inches between them and the supports.

You don’t want a gust of wind to knock the plants over, but you also don’t want to restrict air circulation or cut into the stem while trying to keep them from toppling.

If your single-stem dwarf varieties require support later in the season, 16-inch plant supports with a curved top that encircles the stem should suffice.

Staking Sunflowers
Staking Sunflowers

How to take care of cutting Sunflowers for Bouquets

Sunflowers for Bouquets
Sunflowers for Bouquets

To stimulate side blooms in indoor bouquets, trim the main stem immediately before the flower bud opens.

Cut stems in the early morning or late evening. Flower withering may occur if flowers are harvested in the middle of the day.

Handle Sunflowers with care. In water at room temperature, the blossoms should persist for at least a week.

Arrange Sunflowers in tall pots that can support their heavy heads, and change the water daily to keep them fresh.

Utilize a clean knife or shears.

How to take care of harvesting Sunflowers and seed

Sunflowers after harvesting

Sunflowers after harvesting
Sunflowers after harvesting

Cut flowers for drying: Flowers should be cut and dried. It’s preferable to wait until the bloom is about half open and the petals are drooping outward in this situation. There are several ways to preserve them once they have been cut. The easiest method is to knot the stems with string and hang them upside down in a warm, well-ventilated room.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds

Protect seeds from birds and squirrels: You’ll have to fight the neighbouring animals if you want to gather the seeds yourself. Cover the flower head with cheesecloth or a paper bag as the blooms begin to droop and lose their petals. Most Sunflowers will yield a lot more seeds if you entice bees to pollinate them.

Harvest the seed head: You can remove the seed head after the disk it is resting on turns from green to yellow. Keep the disk in a dry, cold place until it gets dark brown. The seeds can now be eaten raw or roasted. Allow air to circulate by storing seeds in a cotton bag. This aids with mold prevention.

How to protect Sunflowers from pets and diseases


Squirrels and birds

Squirrels and birds are most likely the most dangerous. If you do have problems, however, it is far easier to protect potted plants than garden plants. Rather than trying to protect large areas, toss a row cover or protective netting over a couple of pots.

Squirrels is one of the most likely the most dangerous for your Sunflowers
Squirrels is one of the most likely the most dangerous for your Sunflowers


Rabbits can also be an issue, but containers can be moved out of harm’s way. Placing them on a table, a wall, or on top of a cinder block will make them difficult for rabbits to reach. This growing method also makes it much easier to inspect individual plants and blooms for insect pests and take appropriate measures to eliminate them. They’ll be closer to your house, and possibly at eye level. And they won’t be surrounded by weeds or other flowering plants that compete for your attention.


These worms, as the name implies, “cut” a swath through whatever leaf they happen to be crawling on. They like to spend the day hiding in dirt hollows and emerge at night. Aside from pesticides, there are a few more effective strategies to combat these pests.

One example is the previously stated adhesive tape on your Sunflower stems. The second option is to let your hens run around in the Sunflower stalks. They frequently enjoy cutworms and will pluck them from their daytime hidey places to eat. If you don’t already have chickens, borrow some for a few days.

Snails and slugs

Slugs and snails are common Sunflower pests that attack immature Sunflower seedlings and may be detected by the slime trails they leave as well as the damage they cause. Plants become less vulnerable to injury as they grow higher.

Plant seeds in containers out of reach of slugs and snails.

Check plants at night and manually remove slugs and snails.

Crushed eggshells or grit applied to the soil surrounding plants may have some effect.  If alternative approaches fail, scatter ecologically friendly slug pellets.


Sunflower leaves turning yellow

Sclerotinia disease, a soil-borne fungus, may cause yellowing of Sunflower leaves. Plants that are affected become yellow, wilt, and die. The stems frequently decay towards the base, and white fluffy fungal growth emerges, followed by black seed-like forms.

Remove and destroy any susceptible plants as soon as possible. Do not compost them since they will pollute the compost.

 yellow leaves
Sunflower leaves turning yellow

Gray Mold

Is fuzzy gray mold growing on your Sunflower plants? That will happen, especially during the hot, humid summer months. If this is an issue in your region, pick disease-resistant cultivars. Before planting, treat the seeds with fungicide (such as soaking them in garlic water) and fertilize the soil well.

Use diluted apple cider vinegar or aspirin spray to cure gray mold.

Why are my Sunflowers dying?

There are several reasons why your Sunflowers are fading. Indoor Sunflowers in pots and outdoor Sunflowers in gardens may be prone to the following

  • Not enough nitrogen 
  • Not enough space for the root system
  • Needs more sunshine
  • Overwatering 
  • Overheated
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Poor Quality Soil

When your Sunflowers aren’t looking their best, with petals falling off, stalks and stems turning yellow and brown, or leaves falling off, many gardeners panic. Before you throw up the towel, read on to understand the most common reasons why Sunflowers die and what you can do to keep your Sunflowers happy, healthy, and attractive.

How Do You Revive a Dead Sunflower?

Indoor Sunflowers that are failing to survive may need to be repotted to give them more space, watered if the soil has been left dried for too long, or fertilized for a nutrient boost. Outdoor and indoor Sunflowers should be given enough sunshine to grow, as well as practices like mulching, removing damaged leaves and pests on sight, and removing dead or damaged flower heads from the stem. If your Sunflower is a perennial type, make sure it is sheltered during the winter so it can return the following year.

Final Thoughts

To have a beautiful Sunflower garden, always remember the notes of how to take care of Sunflowers that Garden How have offered to you. Thank you for stopping by! 

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