How to grow sunflowers from seed

How to grow sunflowers from seed

Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed and fun for all the family – start yours off now.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed and are ideal for growing with children.They can grow to heights of up to two metres, bear impressive, long-lasting flowers, and look fantastic in gardens and allotments. They make an excellent cut flower.

How to grow sunflowers at home

To grow sunflowers you need a sunny, sheltered spot and a good soil – add plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost before planting, if you can. protect the young plants from slugs and snails and water your sunflowers regularly. You may also need to stake them if they’re in an exposed position.

When to plant sunflower seeds

Sow sunflower seeds from April to May, individually in 10cm pots of peat-free, multi-purpose compost. Plant out into the garden when all risk of frost has passed, from early June.

More on growing sunflowers:

Learn how to grow sunflowers from seed, below.

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You Will Need

  • Sunflower seeds e.g. 'Russian Giant'
  • Multi-purpose, peat-free compost
  • 7.5cm plastic pots
  • Plant labels
  • Pencil or waterproof pen
  • Watering can with rose attachment
  • Plastic bottles

Step 1

Use a good peat-free, multi-purpose compost to fill 7.5cm pots to 1cm below the rim. Tap each pot to settle the compost and firm gently.

How to grow sunflowers from seed - filling the pot with compost
How to grow sunflowers from seed – filling the pot with compost

Step 2

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

How to grow sunflowers from seed - sowing sunflower seed
How to grow sunflowers from seed – sowing sunflower seed

Step 3

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

How to grow sunflowers from seed - watering the pots
How to grow sunflowers from seed – watering the pots

Step 4

Cover each pot with a plastic bottle ‘cloche’ to keep seedlings warm. Plant your sunflowers outside in May when the last frosts are over. You may be able to plant them out even earlier if you live in a mild location.

How to grow sunflowers from seed - covering each pot with a plastic bottle cloche
How to grow sunflowers from seed – covering each pot with a plastic bottle cloche
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At the end of the flowering season, you can harvest the seed from your sunflowers to use in the kitchen, or feed the birds. 

Blue tit. Photo: Getty Images.