This ultimate guide on how to grow sunflower and plant care will help you to grow and care for your sunflower plant. Sunflower plant blooms throughout summer and fall. And is a great choice for ornamental plant lovers.
The ultimate beauty of sunflower plant is not hidden from anyone. It looks like that there is a face between gorgeous yellow petals. And during day time it keeps moving towards the sun. It looks like as if it chases sunlight for love and glory.
Although the reason is scientific but this flowering plant win hearts with the beauty of its flower. With the onset of spring season one thing that comes in my mind is to grow sunflowers.
I guess you also loves beautiful yellow coloured flowers and here we share a common interest. But, before knowing about sunflower plant care guide, let’s get to know this gorgeous plant a little more!
If you want then you can skip this introduction portion and directly move to the sunflower grow and care guide.
Well, most of the researchers believes that sunflower originated in Americas. Then during the 16th century, explorers brought this flowering plant to Europe. And later on it spread to different parts of the world.
However, apart for growing them as an ornamental plant, farmers grow them for industrial purposes too. Sunflower seeds are of great use to produce sunflower oil.
Depending on the variety, sunflower plant can grow from one feet to thirty feet in height. The tallest one reached the height of 30.1 feet, which is a world record. It is an annual plant and produces daisy like flowers that can be very large to medium sized.
Large variety flowers can reach up to 12 inches in size and are known to attract pollinators. This is also one of the reason to plant sunflower in the garden. If you are growing bottle gourds or pumpkins then the chance of pollination will increase.
During early days of flower growth you will notice heliotropism. When flower remains lightweight without seeds, they move from east to west in the direction of sunlight.
But once after the development of seeds, this phenomenon stops due to heavy weight of the flower.
How to grow sunflower?
Growing sunflower is easy, germinating seeds and caring for the plant are the important steps. Sunflower is a sun loving plant. Hence it will require good amount of sunlight to grow. Moreover, get to know growing season, potting mix, pot selection, propagation method.
You can grow sunflowers in plant hardiness zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. You can start sowing seeds during spring season. Soil temperature of around 21 to 30 degrees Celsius is considered best for germination.
Sunflower plant can tolerate temperature varying from 8 to 34 degrees Celsius. Hence you can easily grow them in hot temperate, sub tropical to tropical regions. Generally I start sowing seed outdoors in early March.
Sunflower plant loves well drained, loamy to sandy loam soil that is rich in organic matter. However it can also grow in various other types of soil. But there should be not waterlogging problem in the pot or field.
It can tolerate soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Hence you can also grow them in slightly alkaline to acidic soil. For best growth of the plant you can also prepare ideal potting mix. But if you have well drained soil then only adding compost is sufficient.
Prepare ideal potting mix with 40% garden soil + 20% cocopeat + 40% any organic compost. Sunflower is a heavy feeder. Hence it requires lot of fertilizer to grow and prosper.
If your soil is too much clayey then you can also use 10% river sand in this mixture. I will suggest to add one tablespoon fungicide in this mixture if possible. It will help to prevent any fungal infection.
Selection Of Pot
Selection of pot mainly depends on variety and growth stage of the plant. However you can select a 12 inched size pot for growing and caring for sunflower plant. I prefer earthen or terracotta pot for sunflower plant.
But you can also grow them in plastic pots. Make sure that your pot has at least 2 to 4 drainage holes at the bottom. You can also cover this holes with pebbles to prevent blockage of drainage holes.
How To Grow Sunflower Seeds?
To germinate sunflower seeds you can prepare potting mix with 70% cocopeat + 30% organic compost. Or you can also use the potting mix that I described earlier. Select any container with 6 inches depth or more with drainage holes at the bottom.
Fill the container with potting mix. And broadcast seeds in the germination pot. Cover it with a thin layer of potting mix and apply water gently. Keep this germination pot under partial shade sunlight. Maintain adequate moisture and within 7 to 10 days you will notice new seedlings.
For fast germination you can treat the seeds with beejamrut. Or covering the germination pot with transparent polythene or paper will also help.
Once your seedling reaches 4 to 6 inches in height then you can transplant them in the main pot. Prepare the potting mix and transplant the seedlings. I will suggest to practice transplanting during evenings.
After transplantation keep the pot under semi shade for 4 to 5 days. Once you notice healthy growth in your plant then shift it under direct sunlight. Do not forget to apply water in the pot after transplantation.
Sunflower Plant Care
Once you are successful in germinating and transplanting seedlings then you will need to take good care of sunflower plant. Knowing about sunlight, watering, and fertilizers helps to take good care of the plant.
However in critical situations your plant can also get infected by pests and diseases. Hence identifying and controlling them is also necessary.
But don’t worry! After reading this complete guide on sunflower plant care it will become very easy for you.
Sunflowers are sun loving plant. Hence it requires 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily for good growth of the plant. Sunlight not only helps in vegetative growth of the plant but it also helps to ensure heavy bloom.
Moderate watering helps to keep this plant healthy. I prefer watering according to the condition of the soil. Whenever I notice that the top layer of the soil is dry then I apply water. Apply water deeply but also take care of proper drainage.
Waterlogging can support fungal life that can harm your plant. Do not let the soil to become compact. You can dig the top layer of soil periodically to maintain porosity of the soil. I use to practice this before applying fertilizers.
The critical period of watering is during flowering stage. Hence apply good amount of water during this stage.
Sunflower is a heavy feeder, hence it requires good amount of fertilizers. I prefer adding nitrogen rich organic fertilizers during early growth stages. But after 60 to 80 days I start adding phosphorus rich fertilizers.
During early growth stage you can feed your plants with tea leaf compost or vermicompost. Apply them once after every 14 days. If you are in habit of adding NPK or DAP then you can add 1/2 teaspoon NPK(5:10:10) and 5 to 8 granules of DAP.
But I will suggest you to avoid adding inorganic fertilizers. During flowering stage i.e. after 60 to 80 days, you can start adding banana peel or onion peel fertilizers. At this stage stop adding nitrogen rich fertilizers.
Pests & Diseases
Sunflowers are generally not prone to pests. In any kind of infestation, you can use neem oil spray. However sunflower is prone to powdery mildew, rust, and downy mildew. As mostly fungal diseases affects the plant, therefore most of the time diluted neem oil spray works.
Staking is very important as heavy winds can damage your plant. Therefore to care for sunflower stake the main stem with wooden stick. Tie the plant gently to the stick to prevent any damage from heavy wind.
I guess you are now clear on how to grow and care for sunflower plant. If you have any ideas, suggestions, or queries then you can comment below. You can also connect with Agriculture Review on Facebook, Instagram, or Koo.
Aditya Abhishek is an Agriculture Science student who focuses on learning and delivering knowledge on Agriculture and Home Gardening. He created Agriculture Review as a common platform for all nature enthusiast to learn better practices of agriculture and gardening.