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sunflower in pot

How to grow sunflower in a pot?

Love bright sunflowers? Learn how to grow and take care of sunflowers at home from scratch.

Sunflowers are bright and beautiful flowers with seeds rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals, and phosphorus. Whereas raw sunflower seeds have vitamins B and E and sprouted contain vitamin C. Sunflower can be grown at home easily by selecting the right seeds and going by the mentioned instructions. Sunflower seeds can be consumed raw as snacks, or mixed with raisins, chips. Seeds can be added to fruits or vegetable salads. Sunflower seeds are also a good substitute for nuts while baking.

Follow the steps mentioned here to grow sunflowers in a pot:

Step 1: Buy sunflower seeds and container

  • You can buy sunflower seeds from a local nursery or garden, or order them online. For buying exotic sunflower seeds, see online.
  • If you already have a fully grown sunflower plant, take the seeds and store them in an airtight container inside the fridge.
  • Plant the seeds as early as possible as older seeds shall be harder to grow.

Step 2: Choose the sunflower variety

  • Look for a dwarf variety of sunflowers to grow in your container.
  • Read over the packet of sunflower seeds or website for variety while making a purchase. It will have instructions about the growing process of that breed.
  • If you are buying from a local garden or nursery, you can also ask an associate for help.
  • If you want sunflowers all summer, you need to replant every 10 to 14 days. The single-stem sunflowers grow a single flower from a seed. Nevertheless, these varieties are pollen-less, therefore they won’t drop pollen on your furniture, or clothes.
  • Whereas branching sunflowers get many flowers during the season. They have different colours such as burgundy and chocolate.

Step 3: Choose the right size container.

  • It is important that the size of your container is according to the height and the number of flowers you want in each container. Like, you can plant most dwarf sunflowers in a 12 to 16 in (30 to 41cm) pot.
  • Mammoth sunflowers require a container that has a capacity of at least 19 litres.
  • If you are unsure of the size, go for a larger pot. Sunflowers need good space in order to grow.
  • If you are using an old container, clean and sterilise it thoroughly. Make sure it has drainage otherwise your seeds may rot.
  • Place a plate or saucer under the container to prevent water run-off.

Step 4: Put compost and potting soil

  • Select good quality, nutrient-rich topsoil for planting sunflowers. Adding compost to soil makes it rich in nutrients for your sunflowers.
  • Usage of high-quality topsoil will prevent you from adding any drainage material, such as sand or rocks to the bottom of the container.

Step 5: Plant your Sunflower

  • Dig each seed about an inch into the soil.
  • For planting more than one seed, you need to sow the seeds 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) apart. You can also add a thin layer of compost to the topsoil after sowing the seeds.
  • Make sure there is a space of 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) along all sides of each seed. Avoid sowing them too close to the edges of the container.

Step 5: Water your seeds every day

  • Sunflowers’ water requirement in their growing period is more than most of the plants. Soil should remain moist and well-drained all time. Give your sunflowers at least 7.6 litres of water a week at the time of germination of seeds.
  • If you do not give sufficient water during their growing stage, then sunflowers will have thin, weak stems, unable to hold the heavy flower head up.
  • The indication of well-drained soil is that water flows through it quickly. If the water is standing in your pot, there exists a drainage problem.

Step 6: Keep a watch as seeds germinate

  • Sunflower seeds should start to grow into small seedlings in 7 to 10 days. Water it regularly and make sure the soil is moist.
  • If your sunflowers are outside, then you may have to cover the seedlings with baskets or nets to protect them from birds.

Love bright sunflowers? Learn how to grow and take care of sunflowers at home from scratch.

The Big Sunflower Project

Growing sunflowers to raise awareness of centronuclear and myotubular myopathy

How to grow sunflowers

Sunflowers can be grown in pots or sown directly into the ground. They can be started off indoors in early spring and will grow quite happily on a window sill for a time. Alternatively, seeds can be planted outside directly once the risk of frost has passed.

Sowing indoors

To begin growing your sunflower, fill a pot with compost to 1cm below the rim. Anything that will hold compost will make a good pot. If you don’t have a plant pot consider using yogurt pots, tin cans, plastic cups, old bottles (with holes in the bottom for drainage) or toilet rolls which are biodegradable and can be planted into bigger pots or into ground soil later. Sow one seed per pot and water so that the compost is moist. If you are growing different varieties of sunflower remember to label your pots.

Sunflowers started off indoors grow rapidly and tend to grow tall and leggy because of the warm environment – you should see them begin to shoot within about a week to ten days of sowing your seeds. Supporting them with a cane will keep them upright until they are big enough to support themselves – if you don’t have any canes you could consider using pencils, chopsticks or knitting needles.

Sunflowers started off indoors are tender and should be introduced to the outside world slowly to harden them off – a couple of hours outside during the day before returning them inside overnight over a period of time helps to prepare them for being outside permanently.

Sowing outdoors

Sowing seeds outdoors is best done after the threat of frost has gone. Seeds can be sown directly into the garden border or in pots as described above. If you are sowing your sunflowers outdoors (and when your sunflowers are small), be aware that slugs, snails, mice, rabbits and other animals have a healthy appetite for baby sunflowers.

There are measures you can take to protect your sunflowers. Plastic bottles make good sunflower protectors – try cutting a plastic milk bottle in half, cutting off the base and putting it over the top of your sunflower will deter anything that thinks your sunflowers might be dinner, while allowing the sunflower room to grow out the top. Throwing gravel or egg shells around the base of your sunflowers makes an uneven surface which it is difficult for slugs and snails to move on. You can also buy copper tape or bands in garden centres.

Watching your sunflower grow

Sunflowers like plenty of sun but also like to be kept moist. Choose a sunny spot for maximum exposure to sun when planting your sunflower. Ensure you water it regularly too but make sure it doesn’t get water logged.

When sunflowers are well established you can feed them with lawn feed or tomato feed but be careful not to get this on the leaves as it can cause the plants to rot. The thick stems mean your plants should not need to be staked but if they look as if they need some help, they can be tied to canes with string or ribbon providing it is not tied so tight as to cut into the stem.

Further information

For further information about growing sunflowers, watch the short films below from Dobbies Garden Centres.

Please note: a printable version of this page can be found in the resources area of this website

Sunflowers can be grown in pots or sown directly into the ground. They can be started off indoors in early spring and will grow quite happily on a window sill for a time. Alternatively, seeds can be planted outside directly once the risk of frost has passed. Sowing indoors To begin growing your sunflower, fill a…