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How to grow sunflowers from seed

You will need

  • Sunflower seeds e.g. 'Russian Giant'
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • 7.5cm plastic pots
  • Plant labels
  • Pencil or waterproof pen
  • Watering can with rose attachment
  • Plastic bottles
Do it: March - May
At its best: June - September
Takes just: 30 minutes


Easy and rewarding to raise from seed, with impressive, long-lasting flowers, the sunflower is an ideal plant for growing with children. Sunflowers look equally magnificent in borders or as cut flowers.

Sunflowers are hungry feeders. Improve the soil before planting out with plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost. Water your sunflower plants regularly. You may also need to stake them if they're in an exposed position.

Discover how to grow sunflowers from seed, below.

How to do it


Use a good multipurpose compost to fill 7.5cm pots to 1cm below the rim. Tap each pot to settle the compost and firm gently.


Sow one seed per pot - sunflowers germinate reliably and form large seedlings. Poke the seed into the compost.


Cover the sunflower seed with about 1.5cm of compost. Label each pot and water well so that the compost is just moist throughout.


Cover each pot with a plastic bottle 'cloche' to keep seedlings warm. Plant your sunflowers outside in June when the last frosts are over.

Our tip

At the end of the flowering season, harvest seed from your sunflowers for culinary use. Remember, though, that seed from packets is not suitable for consumption.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to grow sunflowers from seed
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MargieKerr 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I have sown some dwarf sunflower seeds in seed trays - never grown these before so complete novice! they are coming through now and about an inch high - I can only grow them on in containers but no idea how many seedlings to one container - any advice greatly appreciated! Many thanks.

susysundial1 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Every year I plan to grow sunflowers but always forget it until too late in the season. THIS YEAR I WILL DO IT. LOVE THE PLASTIC BOTTLE CLOCHES!!!!! THANKS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!

suzyq 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I have never grown sunflowers before so this will be an adventure. I love the idea of plastic bottle cloches. I will definitely try that. Thanks

Barbara66 24/11/2011 at 15:29

Last year i grew sunflowers from seed, i had 12 plants. I planted them in the garden for my litlle son.
We where proud of them and the morning after planting we went to say them was a googdbey indead!!!...: all 12 had been eaten by snails. They where about 10 cm high, so the snails had a good meal, there was really nothing left to see, just the soil.
Now i have grown 16 plants [ 4 different ones] and i will sure use escar-go. [ it is bio, not dangerous for other animals.]

AllotmentMax 04/05/2012 at 21:54

Kids have already planted a couple of sunflowers. Perhaps a bit early, but they are in fairly sheltered areas and about 2inches in height now. Going to plant some more, so we can use as cut flowers later on. Happy gardening!

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