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sunflowers, bot. Helianthus are annuals and must be replanted every year. Alternatives to buying young plants for garden beds and tub culture is direct sowing and growing your own plants.

In a nutshell


Instructions for no-till

Sowing Helianthus begins in the fall by harvesting the pips that contain the seed. It is up to you whether you remove the sunflower seeds from the dried blossoms or leave them in until next spring. It is important that you store the seeds in a warm and dry place over the winter.


The ideal time to sow sunflowers is when the soil has reached a temperature of seven to eight degrees Celsius. According to the calendar, this is the case in April in mild regions in this country. However, the sure way is to wait until mid-May (after the Ice Saints) before sowing.

Tip: Since it takes about eleven weeks from sowing to flowering, you can extend the flowering period of the sunflowers by staggering the seeds in the ground.

For staggered sowing, it is ideal if you sow a week apart. New sunflower blossoms are constantly developing in summer. In this case, the last sowing takes place at the end of June / beginning of July, so that the last sunflowers make it to the flowering stage.

location and soil

Sunflowers, as their name suggests, need a sunny spot. It should also be protected from the wind so that the plants do not snap off. The floor should ideally have the following properties:

  • nutritious
  • permeable
  • loamy to sandy

sow sunflowers

When sowing sunflowers, you should keep the distance between the plants, as there are differences between the different species. For example, the planting distance is

  • Perennial sunflower, Helianthus decapetalus and Helianthus microcephalus 70 to 100 centimeters
  • Shaggy Perennial Sunflower, Helianthus atrorubens 50 to 75 cm
  • Hairy Sunflower, Helianthus mollis 70 cm
  • Giant perennial sunflower, Helianthus giganteus 50 centimeters

If you have opted for the time-shifted appearance, you should put the sunflower seeds in the ground at greater intervals so that the plants sown later have enough space.

With regard to the sowing depth of the seeds, there are no differences between the different species and varieties. Therefore, all seeds are about four to six inches deep in the ground.


Sunflowers not only love the sun, they also need a lot of water right from the start. Therefore, the soil must never dry out after sowing. Fertilization is only carried out when stately young plants have developed from the seeds.

Guide to Prefer

While pre-growing Helianthus isn't essential, it does have the benefit of getting them to flower earlier. Because the summer bloomers are brought indoors from the middle / end of March, when it is still too cold to sow in the garden.

If the sunflowers are later to be planted outdoors, you will need the following in addition to the seeds:

  • seed pots, small flower pots (four to four inches in diameter)
  • normal garden soil

sow sunflowers

The first step is to fill the pots with garden soil. After that you can put the seeds in the ground:

  • between three and five sunflowers per planter
  • Depth: about two centimeters
  • cover with earth
  • Moisten the substrate slightly

Tip: In any case, you should sow more seeds than you will later need for plants, because a seedling does not develop from every seed.

location and care

For germination put the pots in one

  • bright location without direct sunlight (e.g. a window sill)
  • with a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius

Select seedlings

After the germination period of one to two weeks, it is important to take a critical look at the seedlings, because only the strongest are cultivated in the garden until they are planted out. Therefore, remove the weaker specimens so that only one sunflower remains per pot.

These plants are now placed in a sunny spot with a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. They need regular watering until they are planted out after the ice saints, so that the little plants can develop into strong young plants.

Sunflowers for pot culture

Helianthus not only grows in the garden, but can also be kept in a bucket. In theory, you can move plants that have been brought forward into a larger planter for the balcony or terrace. In practice, however, it is advisable to sow the seeds directly into the intended pot (pot, etc.).


For direct sowing you need a bucket with at least 35 centimeters in diameter. For larger varieties, a flower pot with a minimum volume of 18 liters is recommended. Larger species should be sown in a heavy clay pot so that the sunflower does not fall over so quickly in the wind. The plants do not make any special demands on the substrate. However, since they are among the heavy feeders, a soil rich in nutrients and minerals is recommended for the tub culture.

Tip: So that the sunflower does not later suffer from waterlogging, the pot should have drainage holes. You should also create a drainage layer of potsherds and gravel at the bottom of the pot.

sow sunflowers

Since space in the bucket is limited, you should only grow one sunflower per planter. Nevertheless, put three sunflower seeds in each pot at a depth of four to six centimeters. This increases your chances of success, because not every seed produces a plant. Water the seeds well and make sure that the substrate does not dry out. If you are spoiled for choice after germination, only the strongest sunflower stays in the pot.

frequently asked Questions

Can I move sunflower seedlings afterwards?

Subsequent relocation of the seedlings is possible if, for example, it turns out that the planting distance is too small.

Are the offspring eaten by snails?

Yes, snails are a threat to plants. It is therefore advisable to protect the sprouts from the voracious animals with a barrier.

Can I use bird seed sunflowers for sowing?

Nothing speaks against that, but it remains a surprise which sunflower grows from the birdseed.

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