How To Grow A Sunflower

Sunflowers are brilliant for your garden and brilliant for wildlife. They attract insects and the seeds they produce will be enjoyed by your garden birds.


Sunflower grow from tiny seeds into tall stalks with flowers in about 2 or 3 months. There are many cultivars to choose from that can produce plants that measure anything from a metre to 5 metres tall. The tallest sunflower ever grown that was verified by Guinness World Records measured a whopping 9.17 m tall. It was grown In German and reached its peak in August 2014.

Once they have flowered watch the young sunflower heads turn their heads during the day to follow the sun. When they are fully matured they will stay permanently facing east – it’s thought that way they warm up quickly in the morning and so attract more pollinators such as bees.

One of the most fun things about growing a sunflower is seeing just how tall it will grow. Why not have a friendly competition with your friends, neighbours, classmates, or colleagues to find out who can the grow the tallest plant or largest sunflower head.

You can sow sunflower seeds straight into the ground where you want them to grow. This will give you the best chance of growing a giant. However, if you want to keep a close eye on them to begin with start them off indoors. If you don’t have a garden then It’s easy to grow them in pots. Our simple step by step instructions will show you how.

Bee On A Sunflower

What you will need

A packet of sunflower seeds

An empty, washed out yogurt pot, or any small plastic carton will do

Gardening gloves


A watering can

A flower pot

A stake


  1. Choose your sunflower seeds. If you want to keep your sunflower in its pot, then you choose a dwarf variety such as Little Dorrit. If you eventually want to plant your sunflower outside then go for a tall variety such as Giant Yellow. For something a bit different you could try a colourful red variety such as Evening Sun.
  1. Add some compost to the pot and poke a hole in it with your finger about 3 cm deep.
  1. Put a sunflower seed in the hole and cover with some compost.
  1. Pour over a little water so the soil feels damp.
  1. Pop the pot somewhere sunny like on a windowsill or in a conservatory.
  1. Make sure you check on your sunflower regularly and give it a little more water whenever the soil feels dry.
  1. The plant should start to poke through the top of the soil in about a week of two.
  1. You might want to start measuring it now to keep a record of its progress.
  1. When it gets too big for its pot and leaves start to appear you can transplant it in to larger flower pot. Carefully remove the sunflower from the cup by tipping it upside down and gently tapping or squeezing the sides.
  1. Fill the flower pot with compost and make a hole large enough for the sunflower and the soil attached to its roots.
  1. Place the sunflower in the hole and add a more compost if necessary to cover its roots.
  1. Give the plant a water and leave it somewhere sunny to keep on growing.
  1. Alternatively, you can transplant your sunflower outside. Choose somewhere sunny but sheltered – you don’t want your sunflower to blow over in the wind.
  1. As the sunflower starts to get taller you may need to stake it to keep it upright. Keep on measuring to see how
  1. When the sunflower has finished flowering and its seeds turn brown you can cut off the head and hang it somewhere to dry.
  1. To harvest the seeds rub your hand over the sunflower head being careful to catch the seeds in a bowl. You could also use a stiff brush or if you have more than one sunflower you can remove the seeds by rubbing two heads together.
  1. Leave the sunflower seeds to dry some more and in a few days you will have a delicious and nutritious treat for your garden birds.

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