If you’ve ever driven through a large field of Sunflowers or seen them peeking up over the fence of someone’s yard, you know how lovely and eye-catching Sunflowers are They’re also quite simple to grow. This article will show you how to plant a Sunflower seedling as well as how to care for them. You’ll have gorgeous Sunflowers of your own in a few months!
Sunflower History (More Reasons To Love Sunflowers)
It’s crucial to know who you share your home with, including your plants. To get to know them better, I’ll quickly discuss the sunflower’s long history.
The Sunflower (Helianthus annus) is one of the few crop species that originated in North America and is now grown all over the world. They are estimated to have originated from wildflowers around 1000 BC.
Sunflowers are an annual plant that flourished prolifically on the Great Plains, and Native Americans cultivated its seeds for meal and oil, which they utilized in medicine and cooking. The Sunflower was carried over by European settlers in time to grace Van Gough’s easel, and it became an important agricultural crop in Russia in the late 1800s.
Until recently, the Sunflower was primarily thought of as a crop flower. It is currently coveted for its lovely cut flowers, as well as its ability to serve as a living bird feeder and an aesthetic plant. Thanks to the development of several smaller kinds, the Sunflower is no longer limited to the rural countryside. It has now become a small garden and indoor favorite.
The best Sunflower seedling to plant
There are more than seventy Sunflower types to choose from. Some tiny Sunflowers barely reach a height of 50cm (20in), whereas the tallest Sunflowers can reach heights of over 3m (10ft). Here are some of our personal favorites:
Sunflower ‘Russian Giant’ – 3m (10ft) tall, with bright golden-yellow flowers
‘Velvet Queen’ – 1.8m (6ft) tall, with dramatic deep red flowers
‘Earth Walker’ – 1.8m (6ft) tall, with flowers in shades of bronze, orange and yellow
‘Red Sun’ – 1.8m (6ft) tall, with deep red flowers and almost black centres
‘Valentine’ – 1.5m (5ft) tall, with creamy yellow flowers
‘Teddy Bear’ sunflowers are 50cm (20in) tall and with spherical double yellow pompom flowers. Teddy Bear sunflowers can reach a height of two to three feet and produce numerous blooms on a single stem. Their blooms resemble bright yellow poof balls and are devoid of the flat, dark, seed-filled center that is typical of sunflowers.
Sunflower ‘Dwarf Yellow Spray’ – bushy plants with yellow flowers that grow to 60cm (2ft) tall.
Big Smile sunflowers have a solitary blossom and can reach a height of eight inches. Because up to three can be grown in a six-inch diameter container, they are the ideal indoor sunflower.
Pacino sunflowers can grow to be two feet tall with several yellow flowers.
Helianthus annuus, sometimes known as the common sunflower, is a flowering plant that grows in the Helianthus annuus genus It is a tall annual that grows to a height of 1.5 to 8 feet. It has a huge blossom that attracts a lot of gardeners.
Jade, Valentine, Little Becca, Dwarf Incredible, and Topolino are some of the most popular miniature sunflowers. Sunflowers come in a variety of colors and shapes.
Growth Timeline and Life Cycle of Sunflower seedling – 8 Stages
Sunflowers are one of my favorite plants to grow every year. They’re one of the fastest-growing plants, and they’re also great for teaching about the life cycle and the facts of life. They also include activities for both children and adults, such as a competition to see who can grow the tallest plant or the largest bloom.
Sunflowers are an excellent way to learn about the various stages of plant growth and how to keep a plant healthy from seed to harvest.
So, how long does it take for sunflowers to grow? Seedlings emerge from sunflower seeds. Seedlings develop into robust plants. The mature sunflower produces blooming buds. Pollinators come to the blooms to pollinate them, and seeds are produced. The sunflower begins to wilt as the seeds ripen. Some seeds fall off the flower and land in the ground, resuming the cycle.
Here are 8 Stages of Sunflower Growth
Stage 1. Planting the Seed
Planting your seeds.
The seed is the plant’s latent, undeveloped stage. This is the point at which the life cycle begins. The sunflower seed is a solitary dried out fruit of a plant in its full form, with its shell on. It’s known as a cypsela in botanical language. All of the nutrients and genetic information needed to create another sunflower plant are contained within this whole seed.
Stage 2. Germination
2 to 10 days
Germination begins shortly after the seed is sown.
This is the first stage of the seeds’ lives once they have awakened. The wispy roots reach out beneath the soil, hidden from view, while a budding shoot pushes its way to the surface of the soil in search of sunlight. We know we’re on our way to growing a sunflower when this shoot appears.
Stage 3. The Seedling, Leaf and Plant Development
10 to 35 days
A young Sunflower plant has grown from our seedling. This is the stage in which it is attempting to grow as much as possible.
If you started your seeds indoors, now is the time to harden them off and transfer them to their permanent growing location outside. This normally occurs near the end of April, when the worst of the winter weather has passed.
The newly grown sunflower normally has two infant leaves on it when it first sprouts, but as the stalk grows longer, it swiftly grows many more. The first few sets of sunflower leaves are typically oval, but when additional leaves appear, they resemble the heart-shaped leaves of a mature sunflower, only smaller.
The young plant begins to grow quickly, becoming as strong and tall as it possibly can. Photosynthesis is how sunflowers obtain their energy.
Stage 4. Growing a Bud
35 to 65 days
Our tall leafy developing sunflower has matured to the point of producing a bud.
It’s thrilling to see sunflower buds. It signifies we’ve looked after our plant and are hoping to see a flower, but we’re not quite there yet. Our sunflower plant seedling is still growing, and our bud is attempting to absorb as much sunlight as possible in order to gain as much energy as possible for development and enlargement.
Our sunflower accomplishes this by tracking the sun. Heliotropism is a genuinely amazing phenomenon.
This is also the time to hydrate your sunflower. Watering is critical during the budding and blossoming stages of its life so that it can grow strong and large.
Stage 5. Flowering
65 to 85 days
With all of our attention, our sunflower’s bud has grown as large as it can and is beginning to flower.
Our sunflower has reached the stage of blooming and is softly opening its petals. It flaunts its splendor to the rest of the world. For a few weeks, we can marvel at this magnificent sight.
We’ve planted our sunflowers so that we can enjoy watching them develop, but now is the time to remove a sufficient length of stem to display them indoors in a vase if you so wish.
Stage 6, Pollination
65 to 85 days
Pollination occurs during the flowering stage as well.
Our sunflower, in all of its petaled glory, invites pollinators to visit the thousands of nectar-filled disc florets within the huge brown center circle.
Pollinators, primarily bees, drink nectar while pollen adheres to their fluffy bodies. They carry the pollen to another flower, causing the pollination and fertilization process to begin.
Sunflowers pollinate in two ways, but they also have a strange fail-safe system in place to ensure pollination and fertilization.
Stage 7. Seed Development
85 to 105 days
The fertilized seeds begin to develop and ripen after pollination.
In and of itself, this stage of our sunflower is intriguing. The major goal of its entire life cycle has culminated in this: to produce as many viable seeds as possible. The back of the sunflower’s head begins to turn yellow, which is a totally normal sign that the seeds are about to ripen. Depending on the variety and conditions, this process could take up to 125 days.
Birds, animals, and bugs are drawn to the ripening seeds.
This is the best time to decide whether or not to harvest.
Stage 8. Harvesting
105 to 125 days
The seeds have matured and are ready to be harvested.
The sunflower’s head begins to droop and turn brown at this point. This is a nice time to harvest the seeds for feeding your pets or yourself, or to preserve for winter feed for wildlife. Cut the stem approximately 4 inches below the head of the sunflower and store it upside down in a breathable bag away from wildlife and pets in a dry spot.
If you’ve planted your sunflower for nature to enjoy, and a clever critter hasn’t eaten all of the falling seeds, the seeds may nestle in the undergrowth and remain dormant for the winter.
The seeds will then awaken in the warmth of the following spring, begin to germinate, and a sunflower seedling will emerge, allowing us to marvel at the 8 stages of our sunflower’s growth timeline once more.
Main steps for sunflower plant seedling
Germinating Sunflower Seeds
1. Check the temperature outside
Sunflowers can be started inside, but they thrive when planted in the ground. Because sunflower roots are sensitive to movement, transplanting them could result in their death. They thrive in temperatures ranging from 64 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit (18–33 degrees Celsius), although you can plant them at somewhat lower temps once the last frost has passed.
Sunflowers develop and produce new seeds about 80 to 120 days, depending on the type. If your growing season is shorter, plant the sunflowers two weeks before the final frost in your location; most seeds will likely survive.
2. Choose a sunflower cultivar
Although there are several sunflower types and hybrids, most gardeners will only need to consider a few traits, which are usually listed on the seed packet or on the internet. Check the maximum height of the sunflower, which can range from miniature types under 1 foot (30 cm) to giant sunflowers 15 feet (4.6 m) or taller. Also, consider if you want a sunflower with a single stalk and flower or one with several stalks and tiny blossoms.
Plants cannot be grown from roasted sunflower seeds, although they can be grown from sunflower seeds in bird seed if the outer shell is present.
3. In a moist paper towel, fold the seeds
Wet a paper towel just enough to make it damp but not drenched or dripping. Fold one half of the towel over to cover the sunflower seeds.
You can skip to planting if you have a large quantity of sunflower seeds and don’t mind a lower success rate. It takes 11 days for seeds put directly in the soil to sprout.
If your growing season is long, try germinating seeds in batches one or two weeks apart to ensure that your garden flowers for a longer period of time.
4. Place the paper towels in a plastic bag to keep them safe
In a plastic bag, place the damp paper towels.
Check on them once or twice a day until the seeds sprout, then continue. Sprouts will often grow from the majority of the seeds within 48 hours. After that, it’s time to start sowing the seeds.
For optimal performance, keep the paper towels at a temperature above 50°F (10°C).
5. Clip the seed shells’ edges (if necessary)
If the seeds don’t sprout after two or three days, try removing the shell’s edge with a fingernail clipper.
Take cautious not to suffocate the seed inside. If the paper towels are drying out, add a few additional drops of water.
Planting Sunflower Seeds
The reason why we grow Sunflowers seedlings indoors Vs outdoors
Sunflowers can be grown indoors for a variety of reasons. The main reason for this is that you have some control over some of those annoying growing elements, particularly temperature. Sunflowers thrive in hot weather, but if you live in a cooler climate or where frost is a possibility, planting them outside isn’t a good idea. Sunflowers, on the other hand, can be grown indoors all year!
Also, if you want to show off your sunflowers to the rest of the world, that’s a terrific alternative. Growing them indoors gives you an advantage, especially when it comes to larger plants.
How to plant sunflower seedling in trays or pots (indoors)
Fill the seed tray to about 1cm below the top with multi-purpose compost. Place one seed in each cell and gently press it into the compost. Fill each cell with extra compost until it reaches the top, then water thoroughly. Finally, name your plants so you know what you’ve done.
Place the packed seed tray in a warm, sunny location; a sunny windowsill is best.
Once your seedlings have germinated and grown to roughly 5cm (2 inches), they can be transplanted into 7.5cm (3 inch) diameter individual pots. Remove the seedling from the tray and carefully transfer it into the next pot after adding a tiny amount of multi-purpose compost to each pot. Fill with compost, then gently compact and secure the seedling with the compost. Fill the pot with water and place your plant label on top. Place the pots in a warm, bright location.
Tip: To avoid damaging the plant or its roots, be cautious when removing the seedlings from their cells. To free the cell, gently run a narrow, flat instrument around the interior of it, such as a dinner knife or even a plant label.
Tip: You can start using liquid fertilizer to help the seedlings grow at this time; the fertilizer should be diluted by half and used twice a week.
You can either put your plants in the garden or move them to a larger pot after they reach 30cm (12 inches) in height. To avoid harm from late frosts, don’t start this project until May.
Here’s how to transplant seedlings you bought at the shop or that you grew yourself in starter trays outside.
Choose a spot that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day and has rich, well-draining soil. Dig a hole the size of the root ball, remove the plant from the starter tray, and carefully insert it in the hole. Replace the soil over it and water thoroughly.
Depending on the size of your flower head and the cultivar you’ve chosen, space each hole two to twelve inches apart.
To be sure, check the seed packaging, and keep in mind that branching kinds require more room than single-stemmed varieties.
Place the entire container into the soil if you began your seeds in biodegradable peat pots.
After that, simply water completely and voilà! You’ve completed the transplant process.
How to plant sunflower seedling in the ground
Before you begin, make sure the soil in which you’ll be sowing your seeds has a fine granular texture and is weed-free; also, find a location that receives plenty of sunlight and has well-drained soil.
It’s a good idea to add some organic matter to the area you’re planting in, such as Gro-Sure Farmyard Manure, to help nourish your sunflowers.
Each seed should have its own drill (a shallow dip in the soil) with a 10cm interval between them; the drills should be around 12mm deep.
Place the seeds in the drill with care and cover with dirt. Thin out the seedlings as they grow to a distance of 45cm (18 inches) between them.
Use a cane to support the stems as the sunflowers get taller by gently connecting the stem to the cane with some twine. This will help to maintain the stem robust and promote the plant to grow straight.
TOP TIP: If you enjoy seeing sunflowers, sow a few seeds every few weeks. From early July to the end of October, you’ll have brilliant and cheery flowers.
Sunflower seedling care
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 are one of the largest and most colorful blooms on the planet. They add a brilliant burst of color to the garden and a feeling of enjoyment with their lovely golden yellow petals. They’re also quite simple to cultivate and care for, making them a wonderful flower for kids. We hope that after reading all of the material above, you – sunflower lovers – will have a better understanding of sunflower plant seedlings and all aspects of this beautiful flower.
How to harvest Sunflower seeds for planting?
How much sun do Sunflowers need?
Companion planting Sunflowers: 23 best options for your garden
Where is the best place to plant Sunflowers?
Step-by-step guides for planting Sunflower seeds in pots
How much water do Sunflowers need for each stages of their growth?