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How to Grow the Common Sunflower

    How to Grow the Common Sunflower

    Sunflowers are some of the most beautiful flowers you can grow in your garden. With their vibrant yellow petals and tall stature, common sunflowers will bring a cheerful burst of color to any flower bed or container garden. Keep reading for an overview of the common sunflower that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!


    The Common Sunflower

    The common sunflower is part of the Helianthus annuus species, which belongs to the Asteraceae family. They usually reach heights of 3–4 feet and feature large seed heads with yellow ray florets surrounding a dark center disc of densely-packed yellow or reddish florets.

    The common sunflower is native to Europe, but today it’s widely grown throughout the world for its seeds, cooking oil, and ornamental beauty.

    Types of Common Sunflowers

    Common sunflowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common is the tall, single-stemmed variety that you typically find in fields. There are also several smaller varieties such as dwarf sunflowers, which only reach heights of 1–2 feet and feature smaller flowers.

    Other common varieties include the branching sunflower which has multiple heads growing on each stem, or the bushier ‘Sunrich’ series with larger ray florets.

    Here are some common types of sunflowers:

    • Mammoth sunflower: A common variety that can grow up to 12 feet tall with large yellow petals.
    • Giant sunflower: Can reach heights of 12-14 feet and have very large flowers.
    • Branching sunflower: Multiple heads growing on each stem, often featuring two or more colors, like Goldy Honey Bear
    • Dwarf sunflower: Compact plants that reach 1-2 feet in height and feature smaller flowers.

    There are many different types of common sunflowers. You can grow the typical, tall mammoth sunflower that blooms bright, yellow flowers. There are also other varieties that bloom in other colors as well!


    How to Grow Common Sunflowers

    Common sunflowers are easy to grow, as long as they get plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. Plant your common sunflower seeds directly into the ground, about four inches apart and one inch deep.

    Water regularly and make sure to keep weeds away from the base of the plants. If you’re growing common sunflowers in containers or window boxes, use a lightweight potting mix with good drainage characteristics.

    They will need to be watered more often than if planted in containers due to faster evaporation rates. Make sure the container is large enough for them to spread their roots without becoming cramped or rootbound.

    Sow common sunflower seeds about one inch deep in the soil. Sunflowers require full sunlight to grow best, so make sure to select a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

    If planting them in container gardens or flowerbeds, use an all-purpose potting mix and make sure to water the seeds or seedlings regularly. Sunflowers are also quite hardy and can tolerate most soil types, but you’ll want to avoid overly wet or soggy soils which can cause them to rot.

    When planting common sunflowers, give each seedling at least 12 inches of space between plants. They may need even more if they’re the tall single-stemmed variety since these can reach heights of 10 feet or more!

    Once established, common sunflowers don’t require much maintenance aside from occasional deadheading and pruning for bushier varieties. Sunflowers are easy to grow from seed and will flower profusely when provided with well-drained soil in a sunny area.

    To get started, select varieties that will suit your needs (for example, many gardeners choose dwarf varieties like ‘Sundance Kid’ if they plan on growing their sunflowers in containers) then sow your chosen variety directly into the ground after all danger of frost has passed.

    Sunflowers need little maintenance once established; just make sure to water them regularly and remove any deadheads so new flowers can form.


    Harvesting Sunflowers

    When you’re ready to cut your sunflowers, look for flowers with yellow petals that are beginning to dry out on the edges and leaves that have begun to turn brown; these indicate that they’re ripe for picking.

    When cutting them, be sure to leave some of the stem attached so they can still drink water.

    Place your cuttings in a vase with fresh water and a few drops of lemon-scented dish soap; This will help keep bacteria from forming in the water. Enjoy your sunflowers indoors for up to two weeks.

    Cutting & Bouquets

    Common sunflowers are perfect for brightening up your home with colorful bouquets. The best time to cut common sunflower is when the ray florets are just starting to open and turn yellow, or when they’re fully opened.

    Cut the stems at least 1 inch below the seed head and place them in a vase filled with lukewarm water. Sunflowers typically last up to two weeks in a bouquet, so make sure to change out the water every few days for maximum freshness!

    Below are a few seed varieties from Botanical Interests that contain several colors and different types of sunflowers in each packet. These would make great bouquets since you get a few different types of sunflower seeds in each packet, creating a colorful sunflower bouquet!

    Common Sunflower Questions


    How long do common sunflowers take to grow?

    Most common sunflowers will reach maturity in about 70-90 days. Gardeners of all ages can enjoy watching their sunflowers grow from seeds since they are easy to grow for children and adults to enjoy.

    Do common sunflowers come back every year?

    No, common sunflowers are annual plants so they do not come back every year. However, if you leave some of the seed heads on the plant when harvesting and let them dry out in place, some may reseed themselves the following season.

    Where do sunflowers grow best?

    Sunflowers require full sunlight and well-drained soil to grow best. If you’re planting them in containers or flowerbeds, use an all-purpose potting mix for optimal results.

    What month do you plant sunflowers?

    The best time to plant common sunflower seeds is after all danger of frost has passed, typically in late spring or early summer. This way, the plants will receive enough warm days to flower before the cooler fall weather arrives.


    In conclusion, the common sunflower is one of the most iconic flowers you can add to your garden. With their showy yellow blooms and relatively easy care requirements, common sunflowers will fill any outdoor space with cheerful colors during the summer months.

    With a little bit of care and attention, common sunflowers can bring joy and beauty into any garden space or home. I hope this article has provided you with the information and tips you need to successfully grow common sunflowers in containers and flowerbeds, as well as how to cut them for bouquets.

    Happy growing!

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