Sunflower Growing Guide

Sunflower

Crop Rotation Group

Miscellaneous 

Soil

Any sunny site with good drainage.

Position

Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Sunflower seedlings often escape damage from light frost, but larger plants have no tolerance of freezing temperatures.

Feeding

Mix a light application of a balanced organic fertiliser into the soil prior to planting.

Companions

Apricot, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Squash and Sweetcorn. A rare "shelter" plant, sunflowers can be used to create shade for sun-stressed crops. Tall varieties can serve as trellises for pole beans.

Spacing

Single Plants: 30cm (11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 30cm (11") with 30cm (11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Sow sunflowers from spring to summer. Poke seeds into the soil about 1 inch (3 cm) deep and 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Thin to 12 inches (30 cm) apart in all directions for dwarf varieties. Extremely tall sunflowers or those that grow into multi-branched bushes may require 3 feet (1 meter) between plants.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.

Notes

Explore different sunflower varieties, which vary in size, colour, growth habit, and the culinary quality of the seeds.

Harvesting

Cut sunflower heads when some of the seeds inside the edges appear ripe and fall away when rubbed, or when birds start harvesting them for you. Store in a warm, dry place.

Troubleshooting

Sunflowers will twist around to face the most abundant source of sun, which may be away from your garden.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Sunflower