Sunflowers come in a wide range of sizes and colors, as well as branching habits. Sunflowers are categorized into single stem or branching types and both have their own characteristics to consider. Growing sunflowers makes a statement in the back of garden beds, and provides a good food source for birds as well.
Single stem sunflowers
Single stem sunflowers are known for having a large single bloom on top of a very sturdy stem, making them perfect for flower arrangements. Single stem varieties can be planted in succession and in very close proximity.
Branching sunflowers are known for having many blooms on a single plant. The blooms are usually smaller than the single stem types, but you only have to plant once for blooms all season long.
Direct seed sunflowers in the garden by planting seeds 1/2" deep after all danger of frost has passed. Space plants about 6" to 10" apart depending on your preference.
To get an early start on the season, start sunflowers in deep cell packs about 3 weeks before the average last frost date for your area. Sow seeds 1/2" deep and keep moist. Germination should occur within a week at 70 degrees. Plant into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Be careful to not disturb the roots when transplanting, sunflowers dislike root disturbance.
Loose well-drained soil with average fertility
Sunflowers can be harvested for flower arrangements when the flowers are still tight at the first appearance of color. For edible seeds, harvest after the flower has dried down.
Click on the photos to learn more about each variety