Sunflower Care

Things you may need:

  • Bamboo canes
  • Velcro Ties
  • Watering Can
  • Secateurs
  • Slug Pellets

Sunflowers need very little attention but to get the most of your crop there are some very easy tips you can follow.


Sunflowers do like a lot of water and thrive when given a regular daily watering. However you want to be careful not to over water as it can lead to root rot and may loosen the soil too much causing the sunflower to fall. Sunflowers are very drought tolerant so will survive if you don’t water them for a short while. Even when they look completely dehydrated and half dead they can recover quickly with a good drink.

Staked sunflower


Due to the nature of a sunflower’s shape they are at risk of getting of getting blown over or snapping if you have some strong winds. While not all varieties require staking, if your plants are in an exposed location then it is a good idea to stake them to increase their stability and strength. Bamboo canes are very good for this purpose and are available relatively cheaply from your local garden centre.  Use velcro ties to loosely fix your sunflower to the stake every couple of feet up the stem leaving a couple of inches for the plant to move. You don’t want it too tight as it can become too reliant on the stake and the stem will remain thin and weak. Also try not to use thin string or wire as this can rub and cut into the plant and damage it.

Sunflower Foes

Sunflowers are very tasty and can attract a variety of animals and insects many of which can damage or kill your favourite plants.

Baby slug eating juvenile sunflower

Slugs & Snails: These can be the cause of the quickest way for a whole tray of young seedlings to die a very quick death. There are many suggested ways to deal with these pesky gastropods including beer, coffee, copper, human hair, vinegar, citrus rinds and ducks! Obviously slug pellets are a reliable control method but be careful if you have small children or animals and make sure you read the label.

Dead snails with sunflowers

Aphids: Greenflies & Blackflies love sunflowers although they don’t do a massive amount of damage they are a pest. Lightly spraying them with soapy water will work, although not too much and try and keep it off the leaves as it can damage them. Companion planting can also help, planting chives can deter aphids as they hate the smell or plant some nasturtiums near your sunflowers as the aphids will prefer these to your sunflowers. If you have a few Ladybirds in your garden they do enjoy munching on aphids, otherwise you can just pick them off with your fingers and give them a squeeze so they pop.

Squirrels: When your sunflowers are nearing ready to harvest they will become attractive to Squirrels who will be interested in the seeds for their winter stash. A squirrel can very easily snip off a sunflower head with its teeth so beware if your flower is near a wall, tree or other squirrel friendly perch.

Sunflower Friends

Bees: Probably the most important insects for sunflowers are bees as they are the primary pollinators. Both Bumble Bees and Honey Bees are good pollinators and you can encourage your favourite stripy insects by either building or buying a bee house and placing it in your garden.

Honey bee on a sunflower

Ladybirds: As we mentioned earlier Ladybirds are good for sunflowers as they will patrol your plants searching for Aphids to have for their lunch. Small insect boxes can easily be constructed or bought to attract your favourite spotted insects.

Ladybird patrolling a sunflower


Grey Mould: This is particular active in wet conditions appears as a soft whitish-grey mould which can rot any part of the plant and will spread to adjacent plants if you do not remove and destroy all affected material and spray with a fungicide.

Powdery Mildew: This is easy to recognise as a white powdery substance which will appear on the upper side of the leaves. If it does appear then remove and destroy all affected material and spray with a fungicide.


Sun: Sunflowers love sunlight, try to position your plants where they will receive plenty of direct sunlight, although they will still grow in shaded areas.

Wind: The most lethal danger to sunflowers from the weather is the wind. Try to position your tall varieties of sunflowers in areas which are more sheltered from the wind and try and keep them staked as mentioned above. You could even erect a wind break to aid protection if it is a particularly windy day.

Snow sunflower

Snow: As you might guess, sunflowers don’t really appreciate the snow as it can cause their heads to get a bit saggy and soggy.

Hail: Probably not the most obvious peril, but it can only take a brief hail shower to shred and destroy young sunflower seedlings.

Rain: Sunflowers love a good dose of rain and also means you don’t have to get your watering can out.


After your plants have developed mulching can reduce moisture loss from the soil through evaporation meaning you don’t have to water them quite so often. You can lay down some bark chipping, leaves or wood chips around the base of the plant for this purpose.


Typically sunflowers don’t require any pruning. As the plants grow taller the lower leaves get less sunlight and can dry up, these can be snipped off with some secateurs. If you have a multi-headed variety you might have one flower which has reached maturity while others are still developing so these can also be removed. If you have several plants in close proximity of each other you might want to chop down any of the weaker ones to ensure it does not fall and knock over your stronger ones, and it will also stop them absorbing any nourishment from the soil which could otherwise go to your stronger plants.


407 thoughts on “Sunflower Care

  1. I had some precious sunflower seeds from a friend that I sowed on the ground. The next morning, I heard some happy, chirping sounds. I thought I would be overjoyed to see birds on my front yard but I had a jaw-dropping surprise. I found that almost all the seeds were gone, only empty shells left-behind! Anyway, I thank the birds for teaching me a valuable lesson. So, I’m glad it filled their empty stomachs. The funny thing is that they didn’t like the bird seeds I bought from a petshop.

  2. I think a horse got into my garden and ate the tops off my sunflower seedlings (they were about 6 inches tall). Will they grow or are we done for the summer?

    • I’ve had similar problems with a pig. If they are a multi-headed variety then potentially they may produce some side shoots which have flowers on them but otherwise I think you may be done with regards to seeing any blooms this year.

    • Sunflowers flourish with regular watering although if they get too much and are sat in standing water it can cause their stems to flop. They are also tolerant of dry conditions if you aren’t able to give them a regular drink.

      • Nice advice mine is at nineteen cm tall and has eight leaves when will it bloom? I have to show it on a stall in two weeks. What shall I do?

  3. My sunflowers have bloomed & are looking great!! But, I do have a question…when they bloom & start to shrivel up, what is my next move? Do I take that head off? Leave it to do what it’s going to do naturally? I don’t want the whole thing to shrivel up & I’m unsure of what to do.

    • Wait until the back of the heads turn yellow. Then snip the heads off and put them in an airy location to dry out for a week or two. Once they have dried out it is easier to get the seeds out if you’d like to save them to plant in the next year. Or you could just leave them out for the birds to snack on. Take a look at our harvesting guide for more information.

      • The link for more information has been removed. Are the remaining stalks also cut back or
        pulled?… I have sunflowers growing in a planters. And was planning to plant new seeds where plants have bloomed and dried down.

  4. BUGS!
    They’re black, about a half inch long, maybe a quarter inch thick and they fly. They swarmed my sunflowers, the whole plant and were having the buffet of their little lives. I got rid of them, but What are they?

    • Hi Donna I am not sure where you live but I am in the uk and my sunflowers always have ants crawling up them to get to the Aphids that I keep having to wipe away. Now in an ant colony here anyway we have flying ants and this is what these little pests sounds like, they are bigger than normal ants. Have a look on google images for flying ants and see if they look the same. If so you can get some ant powder and sprinkle it around the nest just look around you will soon see where they are coming from. I have to put boiling hot water down there because of my dogs as I am not sure if the powder is animal or child friendly. Good luck 🙂

      • I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem. 🙂

  5. If my sunflower is not fully finished but you could see the seeds under neath the stuff on top of the sunflower. If I rub the top of the head will it kill my sunflower and stop it from growing?

    • Hi Veronica. Rubbing the old florets off to expose the seeds won’t do it any harm. In fact if it rains, leaving the old florets on can sometimes cause the head to get soggy which can attract mould. I’d wait until the back of the flower head turns yellow before chopping it off and harvesting the seeds though.

  6. I have large bags of empty sunflower seed shells from feeding my backyards birds throughout the year. What, if anything, would they be good to be used for or should they just be dumped in the garbage?

        • Keep in mind, sunflower seed shells are allelopathic (they inhibit plant growth/germination). You could use them mixed with mulch for walkways and such, but I would not mix them in compost that you intend to use as soil amendment.

          • You could use them to prevent slugs from coming around the plants. Just put them around as a barrier.

  7. Hi. We started our sunflowers in a ziplock bag and now they are about 3-4 inches tall. There are 3 seedlings but they are only 1-2 inches away from each other.. how do I transplant them without damaging the roots? Thanks 🙂

    • It is best to hold them by a leaf and prize them gently from the soil with a pencil from underneath to lift them. You should then be able to drop them in to your new hole with the roots intact.

  8. Need help please!! I have aphids on my sunflowers. I am so confused on what to use to kill them. I made the solution in consentrate of saffron oil and dishsoap but after spraying once on my plants and leaves hey have started to droop so quit right away. Are here any other home remedies I can try?? There my favorite flower and I want them to be healthy and grow. Any help would be appreciated.

    • The best solution is spraying them with water which contains a small amount of washing up liquid in it. When you spray them they will fall off but don’t spray too much as it can damage the leaves in the short term, but will recover eventually as they grow taller. The other most effective and slightly messier method I have found is to use your thumb and forefinger to gently pinch them off the leaves and squeeze them until they pop. Finally anything you can do to encourage ladybirds such as ladybird houses can help as they are a natural predator for aphids.

      • Thank you so much. It is good to finally get great ideas. Was really worried about other sites I went to this one is perfect in every way.

    • I have to do this gently with my fingers and the Aphids are so small and nothing to them and no danger and hurting them with soapy water,although that is what my mum and grandmother used to throw on all their flowers years back

    • I’ve heard if you water them all over with a little washing up liquid and plenty of water it repeals insects, this worked for me, sounds a bit nonsense but give it a try.

    • I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem.

  9. I have about 50 seeds in separate 3.5′ pots sowed in cheapy 1£ compost, in a cheapy pvc greenhouse . At night it gets down to about 45degrees and up to 90 in the day . Will the seeds germinate in these conditions ? And how long should I expect to wait? ? TU in advance.

    • Yes, they should germinate fine. Just make sure the compost is kept moist. You should expect them to germinate within a couple of weeks.

      • Hi again, im pretty new to all this so sorry for daft qs. My seedlings have sprouted and I’ve just noticed that the pots are probs only about 2.5 inch cubes. Should I transfer them in to the prepared soil now . Or should I leave till the first true leaves form ? My reasons for asking is because I don’t want the root to be blocked from growing by the bottom of the pot. Thanks again .

        • Leave until first true leaves is what the sites say–they are hardy so if they get a bit root bound it should be ok…

          • We lucked out. The first year the aphids hit like a tornado and my sunflowers were GONE in 2 days. Sunday – we took pictures and wowed everyone with our 10 foot high giant sunflowers. By Wednesday, they were GONE. Drooped, leaves all dark green and dead looking. I was told to BUY lady bugs (why does this article keep calling them lady BIRDS???) I planted 146 giant sunflowers the next year because I had THOUSANDS of seeds I was able to salvage from my drooping heads the year before. The lady bugs just CAME. I didn’t have to buy any. But the aphids hit again this year (another 200 sunflowers line the side of my house and my circular driveway) and I was amazed – I even saw the lady bugs mating right on a leaf…so they must be lady AND MISTER bugs! Just lucky, I guess, but they really did their job. Hundreds of them were on the underside of my leaves – a sure sign there were aphids trying to destroy my sunflowers again. No problem with the lady bugs. I tried spraying with soapy water and wasn’t sure WHERE to spray. The leaves died anyway when I did this. SO – probably cheaper soap? Not DAWN 4x?!? I hope I don’t have to do that EVER – with the number of sunflowers I plant each year, it is impossible to spray them all. I also found they grew in clayish soil pretty well – we are retired. Our trees on our new property will never get big enough so I use the sunflowers for some SHADE in areas where the sun keeps burning my flowers to death. But some of the flowers I tried to protect didn’t get ENOUGH sun once the 10 foot sunflowers grew (and they grow faster than ANYTHING in your garden). I could NOT get them to transplant. I do NOT try to grow them inside or in plastic bags first. I was puzzled by that.

          • in reply to susan ‘ladybugs’ as you call them are known as ‘ladybirds’ in the UK (I think it’s a prettier name for these cute little beetles anyway!)

  10. When do I start fertilizing the sunflowers? Can I fertilize it with chicken manure? How much and how do I do that?

    • Sunflowers shouldn’t need fertiliser. If you do fertilise them either use slow release granules or wait until they are a few feet tall.

  11. I grew my first sunflowers from seeds and just days ago they bloomed when hail hit! Now the leaves are shriveling up and the flowers turning white, what should I do?

    • Hail can be a real pain. It doesn’t sound like there is much you can do with these. You might just have to plant some more seeds.

  12. My sunflowers were growing well till I started to notice Brown patches like rust on the leaves. I have cut off the rusty leaves and applied soapy water but still notice this infection.

  13. I started growing my sunflowers around 3 weeks ago they have just started to get leaves on the top but I have snapped the stem,will it still grow normally or will I have to start again.

    • It depends on the variety and how tall they had got. If they are a multi-headed variety and you are lucky they might branch off and grow out from side shoots. But if I’m honest I’d just start again, they’ll soon catch back up.

  14. My sunflowers have been growing beautifully here in Oregon and then we had a major hail storm two days ago. When I went out today I noticed most of the leaves are damaged with rips and holes in them. None of the plants had flowered yet. Can I save them or are they a total loss?

    • Someone told me to put vinegar and water on my sunflowers to kill ants…I almost killed them…leaves were brown and crinkled. I watered and rinsed and prayed…They came back, and I just cut off the dead leaves as new green ones have grown. Just stake them loosely, leave them alone and I bet they will recover.

  15. Hello.
    I got as a present a sunflower “irish eyes” in a pot. They were fine but I don’t know why the central flower (the other ones have not started to flower yet) is starting to “close” and dry up…

    I water it everytime that the soil is dry… The pot might be too small since the roots are growing through the holes under it, should I transplant it to a bigger pot?

    Should I water it more often?
    I don’t want my sunflower to die!!
    Thanks for your help.

    • It does sound like the pot might be a bit small if it the roots are coming out the bottom and it is constantly dry. I’d pot it on into a bigger pot or into the ground. It should require watering less then too.

  16. I’ve had a couple sunflowers this year get vertical splits in their stems that are a 2-3″ long and they fall over. Been a few days and the plant still seems okay (except for the part where it can’t support its weight. Is it caput, or can I bamboo stake it and have it supported that way?

  17. We have all critters of all types in our yard. Birds, squirrels and chipmunks. I built a cage to keep the newly sprouted seeds from being dug up by the birds. Plants got too big to keep surrounded by the cage. Something has now snipped the sunflower plants – some at 6 inches above soil level, some at soil level. Not eating just snipping and leaving. Any idea what the culprit might be and how to stop it? By the way the dearly departed sunflowers were in the ground and I used the pepper type granules around to attempt to protect them. I have some in pots that as of yet has not been touched.

    • Unless the flowers have developed seeds it is unlikely to be birds or squirrels. My best guess would be slugs or snails.

    • It IS squirrels. I have the same problem. Yes, squirrels snip off leaves, stems and buds of many kinds of plants. Sometimes they just leave it on the ground. Very evil those squirrels.

      • Dogs! My dogs eat the leaves off my sunflower plants big or small. They love them and they know how to bite a small bit off a little leaf, crazy id never seen anything like it but all my dogs eat them and any other part of theplant for the matter.

    • I was having this same problem. We have small rabbits, birds, squirrels and chipmunks around. I put up a rabbit fence but that only worked for a week, then I put up bird netting. When the plants got too tall for the net on top I removed it and then something still kept getting in and chewing the stems, not eating! So I think it’s probably a chipmunk, they are small enough to get through the medium sized openings in the rabbit fence which are a few rungs up. My guess is they are climbing up until they can squeeze in. I noticed this week that one of my thicker plants got chewed as well, about 6 inches off the ground. Seems none are safe and I’m just hoping most of them survive until they can bloom. I have a bout a 2 foot by 20 foot long bed they’re in. Lots of varieties. I planted them mid May here in the southern USA and they are finally getting buds on them. So exciting.

  18. Hi,

    Wed have a lovely sunflower about a foot tall with a healthy flower head. Well it was healthy until the yellow flower petals started turning white. Do you know what this could be? We don´t think it´s powdery mildew as it just seems colour pigment is dissapearing.


      • My sunflower seems to have the same issue. I just repotted in a larger pot and all 5 other flowers are doing well except for the largest, which is turning white, and the petals seem to be shriveling up. Any ideas?

  19. I have this one sunflower plant that is around 2-2 1/2 feet tall. It has already started flowering.. and the stem is only about a quarter in. to half an inch thick. Is it too early for it to flower?

  20. My 6 year old and I planted a sunflower seed back in May. It is now almost six feet tall! It has looked like it is about to bloom for the last week, but hasn’t yet. My husband is freaking out about the root system. I did not realize it would get so tall, so I planted it next to the house. Is it too late to replant it in a huge pot? I don’t want to mess it up since it is about to flower.

    • It probably won’t do very well if you tried digging it up. I wouldn’t worry about the root system. Sunflowers are annuals so it will die after it has finished flowering and won’t cause any damage to the house.

  21. Last year my daughter brought home a sunflower from school for Mother’s Day. A week later we planted it behind our mailbox. It turned out to be a mammoth sunflower and was about 7ft tall with a 15 inch flower head by the beginning of August ready to harvest at the begging of September. We saved some seeds and planted about 30 this year right before Mother’s Day. They grew from seeds quickly just as I expected but once I planted them in the ground in our backyard (in 3 rows about 3 feet apart from each other) a lot of them died and the ones that lived have been growing very slow 🙁 Only one of them is about two and a half feet tall right now and the rest are only about 6 inches!! The leaves are all nice and green and I don’t see any bugs or anything around them. Is there something I could be missing? Is there anything I can do to help get them growing so they will flower and be ready for harvest before the winter hits??!

    • Have you been watering them often enough? It might also be the soil is low in nutrients. You could try giving them some regular garden fertiliser.

  22. I have some beautiful Sunflowers the past few days the yellow flower is drooping and looking bad and the stalks have a lot of ants all over them how do I get rid of them. Will they do harm?

    • Ants don’t eat the leaves, but they “farm” aphids on your sun flowers which can do a lot of damage. I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem.

  23. i have recently bought a small potted sunflower from a local store and it has two developed heads on it and two heads which have never opened, now the two developed heads are dying off and i can’t revive them. the plant is about 10ins tall, it is well placed in the sun and has been watered everyday. Also, it has some leaf miners on it so would they be affecting the growth? is it beyond revival?

    • The leaves won’t be causing any problems. It does sound like it is beyond any revival but I’d keep watering it though, just in case!

    • Less water….the sites say water once a week with several gallons of water…you may be rotting the roots…I say leave it alone for at least a few days, and water sparingly at first, to see if it recovers…Someone told me to put vinegar and water on my sunflowers to kill ants…I almost killed them…leaves were brown and crinkled. I watered and rinsed and prayed…They came back, and I just cut off the dead leaves as new green ones have grown. Just stake them loosely, leave them alone and I bet they will recover.

  24. hi I’m new to growing sunflowers. I bought some seeds from the store and they grew to about 12in tall. they bloomed and now the heads are closed, they’re brown and dried up and some of the leaves are turning black. there is also some furry white stuff growing on the stem and leaves. there are new flowers developing but they’re covered with a black substance. are these flowers salvageable? I have a photo but looks like I can’t attach it here… help?

    • I’m afraid it doesn’t sound good. It sounds like you’ve had the best of them if they have already bloomed. If they’ve gone black with stuff growing on them it sounds like it is time to put them on the compost heap.

  25. My first year growing sunflowers and I tried several varieties, mutihead and tall Russian variety. They were show stoppers… but for such a short time. Why? My sunflowers were planted after the last threat of cold, zone 5
    ( mid-May). Here it is August 11th and they are mostly saggy and sad. What did I do wrong? How can I be more successful with a longer bloom season next year? Should I stagger the planting time , 1 week ,2 weeks? Perhaps you can suggest a variety that last longer? There is a farm down the road that grows for cuttings. Their sunflowers are still blooming. Help!!

    • It is hard to say without seeing them. Staggering the sowing over a few weeks can help in case you get any late frosts. Over watering and wind or pest damage can also cause sagging.

  26. My daughter planted some sunflowers and one survived it’s about 6 in tall. Her friend came over and hit it and it snapped in half. Will it survive ?

  27. My sunflowers are growing some type of brown pieces on the stems and it’s starting to grow onto the leaves and i don’t know what it is and what do with it!!!!! I’m very scared that it’s gonna ruin my little babies that i have worked so hard for!!! :-(((

    • Is it on the leaves at the top or the bottom of the plant? If they are the leaves on the bottom then it is quite normal for these to turn brown as it grows tall.

      • it looks like a growth, sort of like a trunk. and it first grows on the stem and makes it’s way to the insides of the leaves and it looks like warts.

        • I don’t think I’ve come across anything like that on Sunflowers before. It could be something fungal. Hopefully it won’t ruin them.

  28. I bought a sunflower plant that was beautiful got it home and something has eaten the leaves until they are almost gone. There are new buds coming up but there are no leaves left on the plant. What is eating the leaves like this and how can I prevent it?

  29. hello,
    I am growing mammoth sunflowers in my garden. Some are very tall and blooming, some are shorter and haven’t bloomed yet. Some of them have had the heads taken off (I find them in my grass eaten up) is it safe to assume the ones who got the heads eaten off will not grow another bloom? are they just done for the season? 🙁

    • The mammoth sunflower varieties tend to be single headed so if the tops have come off you will be very unlikely to see any flowers I’m afraid.

      • I have planted 6 mammoth sunflowers and they are about 4 feet tall and about a foot apart. They all bloomed pretty heads, but the middle ones began turning black from the center and the yellow petals have fallen off. Now the outer ones are doing the same. Any idea what happened? They are planted along our wood fence, and we have them staked because the stems weren’t holding them up well. We live in Texas, but we water them each evening after the sun has gone low enough.

        • That sounds fairly normal behaviour, the flowers only last a few weeks to attract the pollinating insects, then they concentrate their energy on developing the seeds inside the flower head.

  30. I’ve been growing tithonia in a large pot and my first flower bloomed and I was so happy…..unfortunately I went out of town for a few days and the person I asked to water then forgot -__- when I came back the petals on the flower fell off. Do the petals grow back or do I have to remove the flower head?

  31. Hello!!! I need your help. I just bought a sunflower plant. I put it on the roof top to receive enough sunlight. unfortunately, due to weather conditions, it has been raining for like 2 days already. Is it bad for the sunflower to be wet through the rain? And i also noticed that the petals are like shrinking or i dont know what to describe to it. Please help me im just a new in these kind of things

    • Sunflowers don’t like to be sat in water, but as long as the water can drain away and the pot has the chance to dry out it should be fine.

  32. Hi. I planted some sunflower seeds last week and now they are 2.5 to 3 inches tall. I noticed that in some seedlings the cotyledons have started to grow yellow. In one seedling, even the first true leaves started to get brown on the tips. My seedlings have been transplanted on the 2nd day after germination since they were crowding in the original pot. I water them daily using a 250 mL squirt bottle and for 15 seedlings I consume the whole bottle. What could have been the cause of the yellowing and browning of the leaves?

    • It is not unusual for the cotyledons and also the first proper leaves to turn brown and drop off. Their main purpose is to start generating that initial burst of energy for the plant to kick on and grow tall with more larger leaves.

    • A squirt bottle is a bad choice for watering sunflowers because the water gets on the leaves. Since the leaves are “fuzzy,” they retain the water and this rots them (just as pooling water would rot the stem). In short, don’t get the leaves wet or they will brown and die.

  33. Hi Could you please help me, This my second year of growing sunflowers using the seeds from the previous year, they have all been growing beautifully up until now. There are thousands of weevilly type bugs with wings eating the seeds. They are eating every seed ! Is there anyway to save the seeds ?

    • I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem.

  34. Hi, I’ve just removed all the seeds from my sunflower head , they are all black with no white strips, have I harvested them too early . They were harvested six weeks after the first yellow petals showed but I never left them to dry out and they were a bit awkward to remove. Thanks.

    • They might not necessarily be harvested to early as not all varieties have stripes. Many are all black or all white. Did you check our harvesting guide? You will need to dry them out though, otherwise they are likely to get mouldy.

  35. Hello! I was growing a sunflower plant for a university class in a hydroponic system for a few weeks, and after the experiment was complete I potted it in soil and took it home. It was about 12 inches tall and growing beautifully in the greenhouse in its jar of water and nutrients, but it’s been in my apartment for a week and the leaves are drooped, its cotyledons (which were really nice and green) have shriveled on one side, and the leaves are getting a little bit crispy on the edges and little dry spots intermittently. I watered it quite a lot when I first potted it but I’ve been holding off for two days because of fear of overwatering. My apartment is very small and the only sunny spot is a little close to an air conditioning vent. Is it just the humidity? Am I watering it wrong? Is it the transplanting? I don’t want it to die…

    • It is normal for the cotyledons to shrivel but not the other leaves before larger ones have grown above them. Sunflowers don’t like too much water so it may be that, especially if you don’t have drainage holes in the pot, it might also be that the pot was just too small. Also they do tend to grow better outside.

  36. Hey, my seeding sunflower stem turning brown, is that normal? the leafs are still green and everything look fine, just the stem turning dark-brown.

  37. I bought a pot of sunflower 3days ago. 2nd day it looks like over plant with water. Now it looks like its all dry up. Will it still survive?

  38. Hi! I live in a tropical country so I’m wondering if it’s alright to water my sunflowers at night? They were drooping already when I got back home so i watered them at once. Is that alright?

  39. Hi, I have a sunflower and a couple weeks ago it was beautiful, bright, and yellow, and now it’s started to droop and the petals have started curling and going pale, Is there anyway to save it? I don’t want to cut it or harvest it, it means the world to me, please help if you can!

    • Unfortunately Sunflowers don’t last forever, and inevitably they all go this way. Don’t despair though, look at our page about how to harvest the seeds and then grow even more next year!

  40. I’m in the middle of saving my sunflower from dying. The petals are falling off, the leaves get limpy. I just can’t figure out what it needs. The plant looks dry, but the soil is still moist. It doesn’t look healthy. Help 🙁

  41. HI, we have planted our sunflower seeds a few weeks ago, they have just started to shoot from the ground. unfortunately our small son ripped the top off the small p[lant, wrill they still grow a flower?

  42. Hi I have 6 2-week ild sunflower seedlings and they are currently growing their third set of true leaves. However I noticed that 2 of the seedlings have vertical splits in the stem, I think exposing their ‘insides’, starting from the base of the stem for about 2-3 inches. The seedleaves are alo starting to yellow. Is this normal? The other seedlings didn’t split.

    • Yes, that can happen if they are greedy and consume a lot of water quickly. You could try holding them together with a can and some velcro garden ties.

  43. my plant’s leaves are like swiss cheese. planted w/tomatoes & lettuce. nothing else was attacked. aphids? can i use Take Down on them? will that destroy the plants?

    • Yes, sounds like Aphids to me. I’ve heard an effective method of dealing with aphids is mixing some garlic with water and then spraying it on the affected areas. Let me know how you get on.

    • They can do a lot of damage…I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem.

  44. I think my sunflower is dying the leaves are crumpled and its crisp the petals are falling what should i do? I live in a tropical area so I frequently water my sunflowers however there is no change in appearance.

  45. Hi! I bought a sunflower for my Mom (gift for mothers day). Please help or guide me how to raise and take care of the sunflower. 🙂

    • The best place to look is on this page and read through all the advice people have left. If you have any specific questions please let us know.

  46. Im bought sunflower seed and plant it in the pot. Now is already open and petals looks great.i love it.and now,should I take it out from pot and plant it on the ground for good growing and become taller and stronger?thanks.

  47. May I ask somemore..when transferring the sunflower,is it need pour some water in the pot to let the soil bit moist then can easier to put it out from pot?because im worry wil damage the roots..thanks..

  48. May I ask is it sunflower plant at pot more low risk face threatening by slugs or plant it on the ground?because I want plant it on the ground..thanks..

        • sunflower’s petals already turn brown in color n almost gone.but its has multi-heads too..looks great.but stil small . My problem now is ..recently I saw many ants come and eat the head which’s already turn to brown color.i haven’t cut the head seem the head stil in green color.i want save the seeds for next year.but I worry the ants wil eat the,is it I need cut off the head?is it the seeds will eaten by ants?please help me.i don’t want lost mine sunflower..thanks.

          • I’ve not heard of ants eating sunflower seeds before. You could try putting a paper bag over the head and tying it tight around the stem to try and keep them out and allowing the head to finish making the seeds for you to keep.

          • Ants are probably “farming” aphids on your sunflowers…I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem.

  49. I have some juvenile sunflowers planted around my fence. Last night someone came and cut off all the tops! I am so upset about it and am wondering if they will still flower this summer. Please any info you have will be helpful.

    • I think it is unlikely you will get anything now. The only hope is that if they are one of the multi-headed varieties, they may grow some side shoots to produce blooms from.

  50. Please, help. I planted a dwarf sunflower in a big wooden outdoor pot and it was beautiful, but yesterday I noticed the yellow petals are turning white. I saw somebody else had similar problem here, which was caused by hail, but we haven’t had any rain recently here in California. It’s exposed to strong winds, but I supported it with a stake and I water it every day and even though it hasn’t been very sunny in the last few days it gets at least 6 hours of sunlight. Any idea what could be wrong? Too much water maybe?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Too much water can be a problem sometimes, sunflowers are quite drought tolerant so don’t mind if they dry out for a few days. Petals do inevitably fade eventually when it gets towards the end of its life, but you should normally get a few good weeks of it in its prime.

  51. Hi, can you help me?

    I have planted some sunflowers and it already sprout, it already has the 2nd branch if leaves but then my dog ate the leaves, and only the stem remains.. Will it still grow? My plant still is standing yet it isnt growing tall or growing a new branch of leaves..
    And also one of my growing sunflower plant(maybe 6 inch tall) snapped but is still attached.. I tried to put a stick behind it to support and it did! But it no longer grow tall?? Will it still live and grow?

    • I wouldn’t hold out much hope on the first one if it has no leaves as it won’t be able to generate much energy for itself. The second might be ok if it’s not been too damaged, snapped stems can be repaired if supported correctly.

  52. First attempt at sunflowers from seed, got them to 600mm in the pot. Put two of them in the ground with plenty of compost below around and above but they look as fed up as I feel! Looked like they’d aged 30 years in two minutes.

  53. Hi, just bought a sunflower in a pot that is already bloomed a week ago but now the petals are falling, i read some articles that if it is dying, the flower head should go brownish in color.. But my plant is still very green even the head and some of the buds in the branch isn’t even bloomed yet.. Is it normal? Or is my sunflower dying? Please help me i don’t want my sunflower to die 🙁 thank you very much for you’re time ..

    • Yes, that is very normal. Multi-headed varieties can keep producing heads over a fairly long period of time before it dies at the end of the season. Even after one flower head has completely finished its cycle, the others can still keep growing. Don’t cut the head off until the back of it has turned a yellow/brown colour if you want to save the seeds from it for next year.

      • Im very glad! You really gave me hope 🙂 thank you very much!! should i cut some leaves that is already brown? Would it make it healthy? Also when my sunflower is under direct sunlight it gets sloppy for a long time even though i water it in morning, but then i put it in shaded area then water it, it turns to normal.. Is it because its too hot??

        • You can leave the dry leaves on or take them off, if they have any green bits they will still be generating energy for the plant. It doesn’t sound like you have anything to worry about.

    • You’ll just have to enjoy it without the petals I’m afraid. It will still be able to make new seeds for you to use next year.

  54. First time growing. Bough potted sunflowers at a shop. 3 or 4 heads on the plant about 8 inches tall. Petals are looking fine but the started turning white. Like a loss of pigmentation.. stem is perfect. Leaves and petals as well. Just a loss of pigmentation on the petals. What could this be ?

  55. hi there…….i am conducting research on phytoremediation potential of sunflower….in my country summers are soo harsh…my sunflowers are about a month old…..unfortunately i m unable to water them for 3 days…most of the leaves got dry….shoots are fine…do leaves regrow again????plzzz assisst….

    • It is unlikely to grow new leaves to replace the dried ones. But Sunflowers are quite resilient and can bounce back from a short drought even when it looks like their leaves are dead.

  56. Hi there.
    Had a numerous amount of aphids on my sunflowers and caterpillars munching them so sprayed them with a bug killer. The leafs have drooped on most of them, some crisp. Do you think they will revive or am I fighting a lost cause ? Any tips greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • I do fear for them. If the leaves have drooped from over spraying they may not recover. I’d be interested to find out though. I believe a garlic solution is better than most bug sprays as it doesn’t damage the plants and most bugs hate it. You just have to put up with smelly flowers.

    • Just leave them alone and don’t overwater them…someone told me to put vinegar and water on my sunflowers to kill ants…I almost killed the sunflowers…leaves were brown and crinkled. I watered and rinsed and prayed…They came back, and I just cut off the dead leaves as new green ones have grown. Just stake them loosely, leave them alone and I bet they will recover. Instead of toxic bug killer, I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem.

  57. Hi I have a sunflower I bought a few weeks ago. It is thriving well in a large pot. What I would like to know is do I remove the healthy second third and fourth buds that are developing under the main flower head. They look too good to destroy!

  58. I had a sunflower plant I bought and when I removed it from.the pot and planted it in the ground my dads girl friend accidentally dropped the shovel on it and we kind of heard a Crack. Now it’s been a week and some of its flowers are kind of droopy looking and not fully opening. I can see lots of new blooms but can’t tell if they are opening or if everything has kind of stalled aND stopped growing. Not sure what to do

  59. I am growing sunflower from seeds. One of them is ready about 5″ tall and some of the leaves are getting black spots, kind of large. I’m not sure what’s wrong with it. Can anyone help!

  60. I planted 3 mammoth sunflower seedlings in the ground in my garden about 6-8 weeks ago. They are now about 5.5-6 feet tall, and two of them are doing great with continuous new leaf growth at the top. The third plant is about 2/3 the height of the other two and the new leaves at the top have all shriveled up and died. The lower leaves are still big and healthy. I’m just concerned that this plant will not make it if it can’t grow any more, or possibly will not be able to flower because it seems like nothing can grow at the top of the plant. It’s in a fairly sunny spot, and like I said, the other plants are doing very well. They are primarily watered by drip twice/week and hand watered by me maybe once a week if they seem droopy. Any thoughts as to why the third plant seems not to be able to produce leaves at the top any more? Thank you! I’m fairly new to gardening. (San Francisco Bay Area, California)

    • It is hard to say exactly without seeing it. It is possibly it has had some pest damage at the top from insects or slugs which is causing it to struggle to grow.

  61. My kids and I started plants from seeds (indoors) early this year (3.6m & 4.6m varieties), and they’ve been outside for about a month now. Now that they’re about 1m tall the leaves are starting to curl and get tough, but only on the plants that have ants. I have checked for aphids, but don’t see any sign of them, so I’m not sure what is happening. Please help!

    • The ants are probably “farming” aphids, which can do a lot of damage to your plants…I use a mixture of water, dish soap, neem oil, rosemary oil and lavender oil…they die and it takes them quite a while to come back. Spray in the morning or evening all over top and bottom of leaves and on the stem.

  62. hello, well i planted about 12 sunflowers all were growing so well, that is until a deer came late one night and ate the tops of all of them.. there were only a foot or 2… Now 3 of the flowers managed to pull through.. the others still chopped and not growing. the three that are growing are now 3 or 4 foot and look great but my question is WILL MY SUN FLOWERS STILL FLOWER IF THEY WERE BITTEN EARLY IN THERE GROWING STAGES?

  63. I have Southern armyworms destroying the leaves on my sunflowers. Is there an effective way to get them to go away or kill them without harming my flowers? My flowers are all blooming except my teddy bear sunflowers which are being eaten the most. 🙁

    • I can’t say I’ve ever come across that pest before. You probably want to look for some specific advice on those pests. It sounds bad though.

  64. I planted some flowers a couple months ago and they’re getting pretty tall. I’ve noticed there’s a couple spots of brown around some leaves and there’s little white bugs that fly off every time I water. What should I do about the bugs? Should I cut off the brown leaves ? Lovely site by the way!

    • I’d leave the leaves on if they still have enough green on them. Treating the bugs depends on what they are. If they are aphids you could try spraying them with a garlic solution.

  65. Some one ate my Sunflowers…I think the squirrels. They are not in good shape. Will I lose them? Can I cut them all back? Or just give up? Thanks for any input

    • I wouldn’t cut them back, I’d leave them just in case they recover but if they have been badly damaged they might not make it.

  66. So I bought two sunflowers that were already grown and had some flowers already out on them. It’s been about a month or so and gradually overtime, the yellow color started to fade and the petals started to wither. I’ve been watering them and usually water in the evening. So what exactly should I do now? Should I just wait till next year and try again? These are my first plants and I don’t think I did a good job in keeping them alive. They still look alive I guess i mean the leaves are still green but the flower heads don’t look so alive.

    • Sunflowers are annuals and their flowering period is relatively short, maybe just a few weeks. So, you probably haven’t done anything wrong. I’d get some seeds and grow them from seed next year.

  67. I have four sunflowers in separate 5 gallon pots. They currently range in heights of 3.5 to 5 feet (as measured from above the soil). I noticed what I believe to be Japanese Beetles on their leaves and noticed a few of the leaves were eaten through on each plant. That was a couple days ago. I did notice these beetles (black and metallic green, flying insects) did not like my stargazer lilies that are in full bloom, they are untouched.

    The bottom line is that I think I over sprayed the Seventh Generation Free & Clear dish soap and water solution and now the leaves are developing dark gray spots and curling up. Maybe I’m wrong and it is some type of disease. Nevertheless, should I cut and toss these plants in the trash or is it somehow possible they’ll recover? In my only other attempt at growing sunflowers (or anything for that matter), birds pecked the sunflower seedlings to pieces or literally flew away with them.

    Having sunflowers grow at all this year was my first “success” and the plants were all healthy until I saw the bugs on them and sprayed only two days ago. Obviously, I am a total newbie and also apparently a black, as opposed to green thumb. Any suggestions?

    • If the soap solution is fairly soapy it can make the leaves look particularly unhealthy. I’d leave them as they are to see if they recover.

  68. My husband and I have a few sunflowers that surprisingly popped up in our yard here and there (we did not plant any)! They are quite lovely flowers. However, the heads are now drooping. I was wondering: when is it best to prune the drooped heads?

    Also, are sunflowers perennials or will I need to replant seeds each year?
    Thank you!

    • You may have had some seeds in bird food that self seeded in your yard. It is best to prune them when the back of the heads turn yellow. You should find the heads are full of seeds. Sunflowers are annuals so you’ll need to save the seeds and replant them next spring.

  69. Hello! The rain barely stops here and the sun barely comes out too. I am worried for my sunflower but it’s on our terrace and I water it daily but not too much. I’m worried because my sunflower barely sees the sun. What should I do?

    • If it is raining consistently you probably don’t need to worry about watering it. As for the sun, it should still be fine if the temperature is reasonably warm.

  70. This is my first time growing sunflowers. I am not sure which variety they are. They are about 3-4 feet tall and have a single 4″ beautiful yellow blooms at the top with buds along the lower branches. The problem is, I noticed something eating the leaves, and saw a couple of small black insects, aphids, I believe. So I sprayed them with a mixture of soap & baking soda. The next day, the flowers started to lose their pedals. They have only been in bloom for two weeks, is this a normal cycle for them to loose pedals already, or did the soapy water hurt them? The other blooms haven’t blossomed yet, so I am hoping they still will? What should I do? Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Spraying the leaves with soapy water shouldn’t make the petals fall out although the leaves might not appreciate it. The flowers should last in full bloom at least 2 weeks. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, if the leaves are still looking healthy the other heads should come out too.

      • Thank you so much for the information, I feel much better. I was a bit depressed when I noticed the pedals falling off after having them in beautiful bloom for only a short time :), I was afraid that I damaged the plants. The articles I have read have given advice to “spray the leaves”, so I am confused about where to apply the soapy/baking soda solution? Although I may not need to worry about using it any longer because I haven’t seen any bugs since I sprayed them. The next day after spraying, in addition to loosing a few pedals, one or two leaves showed up with a couple of rust colored spots but mostly they look fine. Thank you once again, you are very knowledgable and helpful!! 🙂

    • It could be too much or too little water. Regardless, I’d give it a stake for some support and it will probably sort itself out.

  71. My sunflower got some heads (?) that hasn’t bloomed yet but I notice like their edges are becoming darker. Are they withering even before they bloom? How do I save them?

      • Thanks. I think I got the wrong word, I think the right word isn’t withering but wilting? Some of the leaves aren’t in complete shape anymore and I read that maybe it might be caused by a fungus or something? I’m worried that it will affect the other sunflower heads that haven’t bloomed yet. What’s the cause of this and how to stop it?

        Also, do I need to fertilize my sunflower so I can help those heads that is yet to bloom?

        I am new to this so I am sorry for asking a lot. 🙂

        • I’d just make sure it is well watered, it may bounce back. If you want to give it some food, give it a dose of standard tomato food.

  72. I planted my first sunflowers this year, giganitiams I am told. They are over 12 ft tall and looked fine with big bright heads over a foot across. I noticed this morning that one flower head is curling. What could cause this and what might be the solution if any.

    • I’m not quite sure what you mean but as long as they have plenty of room in the ground for their roots and are well watered, I should think it will be fine.

  73. We have sunflowers in pots that we have grown from seed. They were very sturdy healthy 3-4 foot plants.Yesterday we sprayed them with an Ortho vegetable spray because of some leaf damage. Today the leaves are quite curled and are turning black or tan. We had also moved these plants into our garage due to a wind storm . Do you think they’ll survive?

    • Sunflowers are quite resilient. As long as not all of the leaves have been damaged and they still have some new ones to grow they should survive.

  74. I recently bought some sunflowers as vase flowers. I
    I have had them about a week, they are thriving. Today I noticed a shiny substance in the centre of the bloom, on touching it, I discovered this to be thick and extremely sticky, even hot water and soap, even swarfega does not remove it from my fingers. What is this please ? Has anyone else experienced this, I have never come across it before. There is no trace of insects being present.

  75. Hello! This year I was given a pack of seeds in June as a gift. I know they should be planted April time but I still planted them early June hoping they would ‘catch up’. Now I have a lot of sunflowers at about 10 inches tall. Will they reach a decent height and flower before winter/ autumn comes or is it pretty pointless planting them that late?

  76. This is my first year growing sunflowers. I live in New Hampshire,not a long growing season. They have turned out to be the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen! We have paid no attention to them except for watering. We have one that is 14 feet tall with the most amazing flower!! We started them inside in February in cups that we could plant right in the ground. Every one of them has grown and flowered! Not sure what we did right, but we hope to do it again next year. We are waiting now for them to spill their seeds. So,keep trying people, because it is well worth the glory!!!

  77. I have planted some sunflower seeds recently & many have sprouted. But I noticed that as they grow taller, the stems seem to be weak & bendy & tend to lean downwards. Is that normal? Must I hold the stems with something for them to stand?

  78. I have some sunflowers that are just about to flower, the stems are still very thin though- is this normal? I have them supported with bamboo sticks and ties but they are still quite thin. thanks!

    • Yes, that can happen. I’d try making the ties you’ve used to tie them to the stake a little looser to allow the stems to strengthen a little.

  79. Using seeds from a previously successful flower head, I currently have a sunflower stalk that is almost 10′. (Critters got all but one plant). Great height, still growing, already a few feet taller than it’s predecessor. The previous plants produced flowers that were easily 12″ across. This time around, rather than one large flower head, I’m seeing many smaller heads. (A handful of larger heads near the top and tiny ones at each leaf branch-off all the way to the bottom) This has never happened with my plants before. Is this damage of some sort or possibly an anomaly within the seed? If I were to snip off the tinier ones, would that encourage larger growth of the main flower(s)?

    Have you any experience with this?

  80. Hey my plants are quiet tall now but I’ve growing them inside next to my window there about 4 ft I don’t know what to do coz some leaves keep crisping up but I water it perfectly fine I have 3 but 2 are huge and my other one I grew at the same time is like 1 ft I don’t know what to do but I don’t have enough support for my big ones they bend on the window and the leaves Bend and the plant leans over in the side but I can’t turn it around coz me certain leans on it and it’s scaring me should I just give them away or keep them and save lots of money but food and stuff u will problem say put them out side but I can’t coz my dog would destroy them it worries me I could get cage and stuff coz there is a tiny beginer pot I think I should re pot them but I don’t know how any advise?

  81. Hello there. I just harvested sunflower seeds from my garden however I noticed that they are all black and without the white stripes. My back yard gets only partial sun and the flowers were not a large as could be, I wonder if the seeds are not fully developed? They came out easily from the cut flower head but I only let it sit and dry a couple days before harvesting… any thoughts?

  82. I have loads of large (8-10′) sunflowers that were blooming quite happily…however, last night we had really bad wind and rain which has snapped 2-3 of them and caused the rest to bend rather alarmingly. We are also moving house in a couple of days and are unable to transport them due to the massive size, So, my question is, If I cut the heads now, will the seeds still grow inside them and be ready for harvest, or am I going to have to accept that I lose this years harvest of seeds? We have some smaller plants that we will be able to take, but if possible I really would like to be able to have the seeds from the bigger plants…Thanks

  83. Hi! This is my first time growing sunflowers and I love it!!!! They reached over 7ft tall. The taller stalks have flower heads that are drooping and appear to be finished for the season but I am now seeing some new smaller stalks starting to flower. Should I cut away the flower heads that have died and cut away the taller stalks to allow for these new shorter stalks to grow. I did not harvest any seeds for next year. I’m new to this but enjoying it! Thank you 🙂

  84. Hi. I planted 10 seeds of mexican sunflower in rectangle pot with fertilised soil but it’s almost 11 weeks but there is no flower coming. The stem is still 4 inches tall. And the leaves were starting to turn brown. I transfered 1 of my plant to a small pot and after 2 days it died. What should I do to rest of my plants?? Should I transfer them to a larger pot or replant again? Please help me. Thank you.

    • It could be down to over watering, wind or the head just getting to heavy for it’s stem. I’d strap it up and tie it to a stake to try and help it.

      • i thought it maybe overwatering but i dont give them much as i am at the bottom of a hill and get some run off and they are well mulched. I also thought it may have been because they grew really quickly, anyway they are doing great now at almost 5 feet. Thanks for your help

  85. Hi, I planted sunflower seeds late in the season (July) and now they are 7ft tall, each has one main flower but there are smaller flowers budding. Should I cut off the smaller ones so growth is concentrated on the main flowers? The main flowers are not blooming yet, they are about 10cm in diameter. Weather people say we could have warmer weather in next few weeks, so I am hopeful! (in UK)

    • Yes, you can do although I’ve never done it myself. I like to see them all flower but you’ll probably only get seeds from the larger ones.

  86. Hi! So my sunflower is growing big lately. I have one main sunflower that already bloomed and it also has a few other small sunflowers around on the stem. I was wondering if I cut the main sunflower, will the whole plant die, or will it keep growing from where I cut it?
    And will the other small sunflowers bloom too?
    Thank you.

    • You can cut the head off, but I’d wait until the back of the head goes a yellow/brown colour to make sure the seeds inside are all fully developed for you to harvest and use next year.

  87. We grew sunflowers for the first time this year. We had lots of luck and now are attempting to save seeds. My husband cut one of the heads before we looked up the ‘how-to’ on harvesting the seeds. The back is still green and the seeds are still white. Everything I’ve read says to wait until the back is yellow.

    Is there any hope for this head? I put it in a paper sack and set in on the porch (temperatures are cooler so it won’t mold, I hope!). Will the seeds still dry out and be usable or will they just rot? should I just throw it to the chickens? I still have 30+ heads to play with so if I lose this one I will be okay!!

    Thanks for any information you can give this seed-saving ‘newbie’!!

  88. Hello, my husband brought home a small pot, probably 3 or 4 inches wide with a small sunflower inside, about 3-4 inches tall, with a small yellow head. The pot has no insert, or care instructions. Can I keep this flower in the pot? In the house? I have so many critters that would love this for lunch.

    • You can if you like plant cruelty. 😉 Seriously Sunflowers do grow quite big so you will need to repot it into something bigger and it is an outdoor plant really.

  89. hello! My first year growing sunflowers. The plants got 9 or 10′ tall and had some huge flowers. Life was busy so I didn’t get to harvest them when I should have and then I brought the heads inside and put them on paper on the floor thinking they would dry out and the seeds be easy to remove. Instead, a few days later they had mold growing on them. My question is, are they ruined for eating? I think I could use the seeds for growing edible sprouts but not to eat the seeds? Thanks!

  90. Help! So I’m living in Arizona and received sunflower seeds from a 19 ft sunflower. Without doing any research or being an experienced Gardner I planted them in my front yard as well as in a small pot. To my surprise, I have three that have sprouted. One in the pot and two in the yard. Here’s the problem, I planted in late September the end of summer. I want to see my plants grow as big as they can. Will they survive the winter? Is there anything I can do to protect them? It’s still hot here (about 100 degrees) but the weather is sure to change soon. Thanks

  91. My daughter and I planted Sunflower seeds indoors. They were growing beautifully. About 5 of them in a pot and just recently they started to wither. I’m unsure if it’s the amount of sunlight, water or if they need a bigger pot. What do you think I can do?

  92. Hey another problem well I can’t put them out side my sunflowers one has a flower the other dosnt the one that dost has no flower yet but the one that has a flower has light green leaves I am growing they’d on the window sil they are 6 ft now I don’t know what to do I don’t think I can take care of them any more they have to over lean against the window or a lean across abit from each other I don’t want to kill them what do I do

  93. Last summer I grew an amazing sunflower “Russian Giant” variety, I harvested the seeds with the intention of sharing them with friends to plant more sunflowers this year. However, I don’t know whether the seeds are okay or if maybe they didn’t dry out enough. I took the head off once all the petals were dead and left it out to dry for about 2 weeks but I think it got rained on once or twice.
    The seeds now seem hollow, on opening them there is a furry coating and one little bit in the middle.
    Do you think they will be any good or not?
    Thank you

    • It sounds like they weren’t dried out enough or quickly enough. This often happens with the larger seeds. I’d plant them but I’d also buy some new ones as a back up.

  94. Hi there, I grew some sunflowers last year and had some beautiful 17 inch heads on them. I even saved one that had a damaged stem (it grew a lump and continued to grow sideways!) So this year I planted their babies but I am a bit concerned about if they will grow…they started beautifully but they have started wilting and going pale. I’m not sure if it is because maybe the compost holds water or if I maybe damaged the stems when transplanting? I’m hoping it has nothing to do with the seeds themselves as I donated a few to my sons class (4 year olds) as they wanted to grow some…I don’t want to upset them all because they turned out to be “bad seeds” I hope you can help! They did live for an few days out of sunlight

    • I’d probably just tie them to a bamboo cane to give them a bit of support until the weather warms up a bit. You could always plant some more as a back up!

      • Thank you! I do still have some but I think I worry most for the children’s sunflowers , but I have told them i have more if needed. Some do have support but I think I may have damaged some of the stems as they are really bent over as if the stalks have snapped

  95. Hello
    I would like to use sunflower petals for my wedding. Does anyone know if I pick the petals if the sunflower as a whole will still live and thrive? Thank you!

  96. I have some sunflowers and they are beginnibg to sprout out of the ground. I will be gone for a week and a half, in which I will not be able to water them. Will they live until I get back?

  97. Excuse me but I need a help with my sunflower. You see, I’m at Malaysia and I’ve been wondering if my sunflower can thrive here. Right now, The sunflower is almost wilted and the middle part of the flower is covered by the grey mould. Can I just remove the moulded part and grow the flower using only it’s lower part and upper part? (Among the 3 parts of the flower, only the middle part is affected by the mould.)

    • It depends on the depth of the pot the seedlings are in but usually when they are 2 or 3 inches high as the roots go quite deep very quickly.

  98. Hi, I planted my seeds almost a week ago, right after I panted them we got 2 days of rain. Do you think it hurt the seeds?

  99. I have two types of sunflower seed packets- Dwarf Teddy Bear and Evening Sun Mixed Colors. I live in Virginia, where there is some clay in the soil. My neighbor planted a beautiful row of 8-10 foot tall sunflowers that peeked over my fence last year. I would like to plant some this year. He did have an issue with squirrels on the fence. I have a cat. I was considering planting them either along the wall of my house at the end of the driveway, facing south, or along my porch deck (which the hand railing is about 7 foot tall.) the porch/ grill is east of the planting site. Both are located under overhangs, with the porch site getting a lot more afternoon sun and the driveway getting more morning sun. The overhang is only 2-3 foot and high up. Will the sunflowers end up facing east, west, or a mix? If east, and I plant them on the porch that faces west, would they “look in ” on me on my porch (which is east)? Will they provide some shade to the porch?

  100. I have grown some sunflowers from seed and they are now about a foot high – they are indoors as still frosty but something is eating the leaves – either very small black things or some pale green longer bugs – please help

  101. I am being forced by the city to destroy my sunflowers(25 to 30 blooming plants) the bees are pollinating and the butterflies have start to come around after years of not seeing both. I am being threatened with stiff fines if I don’t submit. Is there anyway I can save them by moving them? I only have to move them a couple of feet into the same conditions(sun and soil) .and since its been an ongoing problem with that 1 neighbor and the city can I relocate them next year when they show up? I have been cultivating them for years so I know they will so when would be the best time? Thank you!

  102. To keep squirrels and rabbits from eating my sunflower seedlings (planted outside in mulched beds) I took ziplock bags – the bigger the better – and punched holes in them, then took large nails and nailed them into the ground. Nothing has been able to get to them and they actually seem to like the greenhouse-like conditions being inside the vented bags produced. As they grow taller, I’ve been pulling the nails and bags up little by little to ensure that they have plenty of room. I originally did it because I can’t afford anything else, like netting, etc., but it turned out to be a very good idea. Be careful when pushing the nails into the ground, make sure that they face away from the area around the stem, because you don’t want to damage the fast-growing roots underground.

  103. Bought a dwarf potted sunflower from a greenhouse and two days after bringing it home the green leafs just seem droopy. Only one flower has bloomed so far but it seems fine. Also the new blooms appearing seem fine too it is just all the leaves that were just yesterday seemed perfectly fine but now today they have lost all shape. Not sure what’s going on just curious on your opinion.

  104. I have a row of sunflowers along driveway fence. Last year one plant had leaves with center area pale and yellowing, starting at stem, spreading out from center vein toward edges and tip. Areas near edges and tips of leafs looked better. That plant matured, but dwarfed size. I thought maybe poor drainage due to hidden rocks on soil, contamination from autos parked other side of fence, or some kind of nutrient deficiency (even though I used liquid fertilizer). This year three plants in that row are starting to show same symptoms. Stopped watering to see if that helps. Any suggestions?

  105. No these are not dwarf variety. Last year planted Ferry-Morse American Giant Hybrid … most grew at least 10-12 feet and looked great, but had very few edible seeds … mostly empty shells with strange red stain inside. This year wanted seeds for birds so planted Lake Valley Mammoth Gray Stripe. Now about 6 or 7 inches tall. Some have normal leaves, about half the plants have the paling (slightly yellow) starting at stem end, spreading toward leaf tips and all the way to edges (toward stem end) on worst leaves. Last year more than one plant showed these symptoms to some degree at first … all but one plant grew out of it. I’m may try letting them dry out till ground cracks, then water them well.

  106. My sunflower seedlings (Leaves) have been chewed off by an animal. Will they continue to grow (re-grow) or will I need to re-plant seeds?

    • If all the leaves have gone I think you’ll struggle as it won’t have any way to generate any energy. In particular if the top of the plants have gone it probably won’t be able to recover at all. I’d plant some more seeds just to be sure you get some blooms.

  107. Hi,
    I managed to get my sunflowers growing from seedlings and put them out but found slugs having a good old chomp, have dealt with the slugs but is there a way to nurture them to good health they look worse for wear

    • Unfortunately not, nothing that wouldn’t do normally for them. You’ll just have to let hopefully recover on their own.

  108. I have a dwarf sunflower plant. When I got it it had a large bloom and more than a dozen flower buds. I have since cut off the large bloom as it was losing its petals and seven or eight of the other flowers have opened. They are only about 3 inches across and this morning when I went to check on them they had all closed up. You can see the petals but not the center of the bloom. I’m not sure if they’re open back up or what would cause them to close.

    • No, that sounds a bit unusual. It’s a shame you cut the large flower off as you’ll probably not have any seeds to harvest for next year, but it was the right thing to do to try and focus the energy on getting the maximum out of those secondary flowers.

  109. Hello,
    My roommate planted mammoth sunflower seeds in the wrong place in the garden, not taking into consideration that the height of a mature would block sun from getting to the rest of the vegetables. They are only a couple months old, but some are now 3 feet tall. I’d love to move them, but I’ve read they get a very long taproot rather quickly. Is it possible to transplant at this height without damaging the root system? Thank you so much for your help.

    • You can move them and they would still grow if you’re careful with the roots, but they would almost certainly grow bigger if you left them.

  110. Have a sunflower about 5 feet tall. It had a bud on it that looked like it was getting ready to bloom. Came home and it looks like the bud had been cut off. Checked for bugs, worms, anything but found nothing on it or the other sunflowers I have. Any suggestions as to what may have gotten it? It is planted close to my feeders and I have lots of birds including crows.

  111. My sunflower is in a pot, and the leaves are turning brown and brittle with holes in it. The flower itself looks good but the leaves look nasty. I’d send a pic if I knew how.

  112. I have one large sunflower in my garden, which delights me. It is six feet tall and has a good thick stem. A storm knocked it over last night, and the leaves are droopy. If I stake it up, might it recover?

  113. Hi i have a question i bought 6 sunflower pots at home depod to plant them in my backyard. I put them on the ground and water them. First day was beautiful, second day starting to look sad a d now all the yellow petals are deadly. What happen? What did i do wrong? Will they revive and come back?

    • Did they have full flowers when you bought them? The lifespan of the blooms is quite limited and transplanting them with flowers is not the ideal time.

  114. I was told that if I mix equal parts vinegar and water together, and spray on my sunflowers, it would kill the zillion ants crawling all over them. Well I did it, and now my sunflowers have large brown patches on the leaves, and I’m afraid I may have killed them!!

    • If you take the head off it might make the other buds grow better as all the energy will go to them but if you want to save it for seeds then leave it on for them to mature inside.

  115. I bought a sunflower and when I bought it,it was blooming but,later the petals started looking like it was dead。Should I water it more or does it have too much sun?

  116. Bumble bees are sucking the seeds out of my young sun flowers ?!?!at least that is what it looks like !!! What should I do ??? I’ve been so excited , it’s my first time to grow them , they fell out of my bird feeder , and they are in full bloom ?!?!? I’m freaking out !!! Will the bees ruin everything ???!!!

    • It is a bit improbable that the bees are taking the seeds. If the flowers are blooming then you need the bees to pollinate the florets in the centre of the flower. The florets are required to be pollinated in order for the plant to successfully make seeds. Don’t worry. 🙂

  117. Hi, This year my sunflowers are not blooming. The stems are between 3-4 ft high and none have blooms. They have daily sun and I have watered them every other day when it was very hot out and they have also had rain. When I mean “hot out”, I waited until the late afternoon when it was cooler to water them. What did I do wrong?
    Thank you.

    • Sunflowers can wait until late August or September until they decide to bloom. You probably just need to be patient.

  118. Hi! I planted sunflower seeds recently, and they are about 6-8 inches tall now. I know they have been planted very late, but is there any chance that they will survive the winter?

  119. I live in California in the san joaquin valley and its very hot. Ive planted many sunflowers around my home and on that has been in bloom for about 2 weeks all of sudden had its petals wilted. My husband waters it every evening and its been doing great. It didn’t get watered 2 nights ago but i watered it yesterday and today and the petals are wilted. Off the same stalk i have two more that just bloomed and it looks fine. This is our first time growing sunflowers

  120. Hello,
    My sunflowers came in a pot and are about 3 feet tall and one of the largest one the leaves are turning a light yellow almost white and are drying out really bad.. Only some of the flower leaves on this one not all.. I water it everyday, and the other leaves on the yellow leaves on the other ones don’t seem to be drying out and turning white and hard.. What do you think could be the problem?

  121. Hey, I’m doing a science project on sunflowers and the consequences of excess and too little of its requirements. I was wondering whether you could help me in telling me what happens when:
    1. Too much and too little sunlight
    2. Water
    3. Phosphorus (P)
    4. Nitrogen (N)
    5. Potassium (K)
    6. Sulfur (S)

    I would really appreciate your help.

  122. I planted a variety of sunflower seeds this year and the ones that came up have the many branches and grew (6′ or more), have buds that start out green, then turn black, and no blooms appear. The plants are healthy looking with green leaves and no obvious insect damage. Soil was amended with manure in spring and has been compost amended every year. Watering is done when no rain fall for a week. No fungal or powdery mildew is apparent either. Any suggestions? Would love to have blooms…

  123. This is the first time I’ve planted sunflower seeds. They came up beautifully and flowered and promptly the petals died. ?? there are seeds in the heads but they are white and don’t seem mature. What did I do wrong? I would like to plant them again next year, they are so pretty!

    • It doesn’t sound like you’ve done anything wrong. The petals don’t always last that long. It depends on the weather. The seeds will probably still develop inside. Just leave them until the back of the head turns and orangey brown colour and then harvest them.

  124. My Mexican Sunflowers — started from seeds in May in Pittsburgh — are now 8 – 10 feet tall and gorgeous. What do I do now, though, as we are approaching the end of the growing season here? I will harvest the seeds to plant next Spring but what about the roots of these incredible plants? Should I chop them to the ground? Should I pull out all the roots now? Any advice?

    Also, do they self-seed in the same area where they are growing now? Maybe I don’t even need to replant the seeds next year?

    • I’d just leave them, they should die back on their own. Depending on where you live they can be perennial. I’d still save your seeds though to plant more next year.

  125. Hello !
    I need some help
    some deer ate my flowers, but not the stems
    Will the flowers grow back ?
    Also, same for my Morning Glory, if i could get some help on that.
    Thank You !

  126. Hi..

    Can someone please help. The lower leaves of my two individual sunflowers have wholes in them. Does anyone know what causes this and what I can do to prevent this from happening?

    Many thanks in advance


  127. well I was given a young sunflower that is roughly a foot tall, it’s winter and its experiencing some dark dots on its leaves that are a small fungus, I sprayed it with fungicide and its small bud is drooping, what should I do?

  128. I just brought two sunflowers .they have a few fowers on the stalk and are about a foot high. My question is why are the tios turing white? Am i over feeding them? Is it the miraclegro I’m feeding them? Please help

    • It’s hard to say without seeing them. You shouldn’t really need to feed Sunflowers, they don’t require a lot of nutrients to thrive so you could lay off the feed for a bit and see how it goes.

  129. My mammoth russian sunflowers are only 1 foot tall and are starting to flower. Are my sunflowers going to keep growing or are they just going to stay like that and that’s it?

  130. If something bit off the heads , willl it come back? And if not should I just remove the entire stalk and plant another seed? Also, when the leaves turn brown, I usually cut them off. Will the leave grow back?

    • If the heads gone, it’s gone, it’ll not come back. I’d plant another.

      Pulling the brown leaves won’t do any harm. They’ll not grow back though.

  131. Hi, i live in the philippines. And i bought some nice sunflowers with 3 flowers already. Yesterday, after leaving them under the intense heat of the sun, i noticed that the plant shriveled up (i thought it would help putting it there because i saw some websites that say that you need to put it in a place where there is 6hrs sunlight). Lucky for me, after watering, it looked healthy. Do they die if placed in the sun?? Oh yeah. I watered it a lot before placing it under the sun. I did that because i thought it will make it more healthy. Thanks.

    • They do like being in the sun but need to be kept hydrated. If they are in pot you might want to move them to a larger pot which will hold more water and give them more room to grow.

  132. My daughter wanted to grow a sunflower so we put a seed in to a pot with fresh compost its in our garden the pot is large with the sunflower grow fully in the pot or will I have to re plant it at some point

    • If it is a large pot then you’ll probably be fine. Although it may still grow even larger if you moved it into the ground at some point.

  133. I cut of the head of the sunflower that’s dried up already so I can plant the seeds. My sunflower is dwarf type. I’m in the Philippines. My problem is the other buds turned brown and I just took them off because I think it’s dead. Will it grown some buds after I took off the dead ones? And there’s one bud that’s starting to bloom but when I checked it today it’s drying up and looks like it stopped blooming? What should I do?

  134. I repotted some sunflowers ( in some new soil with some added plant food) and left them over night inside and in the morning they look saggy. I have put them outside and watered them , should I be worried????

    • Sunflowers don’t like too much water, they can get a bit droopy when they’ve had too much. Just leave them out in the sun to dry out a bit and I’m sure they will be fine.

  135. Anyone have an idea as to why my mammoth sunflowers bloomed a month too soon? Ive had these grow up to 13feet tall and this year about half of them are blooming at only 2 feet tall..

  136. We bought a large pot of sunflowers which we split up into two smaller pots only to find that all of the sunflowers have closed up. They look like they are puckering. It has been several days and we were wondering if there is something wrong with them.

  137. I have 3 Sunflowers, all doing well indoors in large planters in my kitchen window. they are about 2ft tall at present with flowers (One multi headed) – I am wondering if I can move them into my conservatory where there is sun all day. I want to keep them indoors as I don’t have anywhere in my garden suitable for them and my little boy loves to look at them. My conservatory gets EXTREMELY hot in the summer months, will my sunflowers be ok in there?

    • It’s a bit unusual to grow them indoors but Sunflowers can cope with a lot of heat as long as they are kept well watered. It might be worth a try.

  138. Our neighbors cut the tips of our growing sunflowers with a weedwacker, and the tips of our growing butterfly bush
    And a little bit on our growing cherry tomato plants
    We use mircle grow plant food
    I know it’ll take then longer then normal to grow
    We’re very ferious All the plants are on our side
    Praying for a mircle

    • If the tops of the sunflowers have gone then there probably isn’t much hope. The others may have some recovery. Let us know how it goes anyway.

  139. Hi, Could you help me please? I have 3 sunflower plants. One is about 3ft tall and it had a 22 cms diameter flower. But a squirrel chewed down the flower within a week. The other two plants are over 6ft tall and have buds on them. My guess is they will bloom within 1 week. The buds are much bigger than the one squirrel ate. So i m guessing these could be the mammoth flowers. I would love to see the flowers on the plants a little longer than a week.. at least until the seeds mature.. Is there any way i can keep the squirrels off the flower?

  140. I have a 2ft sunflower and it has the flower head so how long will it take for the sunflower to bloom?
    Also my sunflowers have yellow welting leaves does that mean I’m overwatering?

    • Yellow leaves don’t tend to come from overwatering, that often just happens as it grows. Then length of time for the head to bloom can depend on the variety but most likely around 2 weeks or so.

  141. I transplanted my sunflowers outside for the first time, they are about 8 inches tall, woke up to find that a critter bit part of a leaf off one of them, will he be okay????

  142. The internet will not tell me anything about how many times each week I have to water my sunflower does the person reading this have any tips on how much I have to water my sunflower I am only in third grade and I don’t know a lot about sunflowers

  143. My seed just started to grow and it has one “petal” to the side while everything else if lumped together I’m pretty sure nd as I transferred it to soil, the days went by as where one petal starts browning up and wrinkles on the top and I’m not sure how to fix that. Please help!!

  144. Hello, I have a mammoth sunflower that was taking off really well (in ground not potted) and now the new growing leaves are very wrinkled as they develop. The color of the leaves is good though. Any thoughts?

  145. My sunflowers haven’t bloomed yet cuz they’re still young but the leaves are being picked at and eaten or something by little birds like finches or something why do they do this do they use the leaves of the plant food it happened last year as well doesn’t seem to hurt the plant but it just looks weird with holes all over the leaves

  146. I am preparing for hurricane Florence and have 2 – 1 flower stalks in a large outdoor planter . The blooms have been spent for approx 2-3 weeks. Can I dehead them without damaging the seed for next year ?? Please help, I love the sunflower so much because it’s my handicap neighbors favorite flowers, so I planted them in my yard so she could see them and was really happy with the output from this 1rst time seed and want to save for next year and have more for her to see :-). Thanks

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