How To: Grow Sunflowers in Pots

Sunflowers, also known by their Latin name of Helianthus are an easy plant to grow from seed and are especially fun for families with young children. The sunflower is one of the UK’s most popular flowers and while most varieties boast beautiful yellow petals, they also come in orange, green and even white. 

This guide will give you a step-by-step on how to grow sunflowers in pots – which is great if you have limited space in your garden.

How To: Grow Sunflowers in Pots

Sunflowers are known for being relatively easy to grow from seed and can be sown between March and May. It is worth planting a sunflower seed every couple of weeks throughout the sowing season so you have a constant supply of beautiful flowers throughout summer. 

Remember to choose the correct sunflowers when growing them in pots, as some varieties will grow to around 50cm, whereas others can grow over 3m tall! 

As the name implies, sunflowers thrive in the sun, meaning they will need a relatively sunny spot for them to grow. As well as being a low-maintenance option for your garden they are also fantastic for the local wildlife as they are good for pollinators such as bees, and birds will enjoy eating the seeds, too!

Tools you will need for this job include small plant pots with drainage holes, general-purpose compost, a trowel, some plant labels and a marker pen. In terms of pots for your sunflowers, 15-20cm diameter pots are suitable for the larger varieties, but 10-15cm ones are more than sufficient for the smaller varieties. It’s always possible to re-pot them into a larger container if they look like they are outgrowing their current containers. If you are looking to avoid plastic pots, there is a wide range of biodegradable and natural material pots now available.

How To: Grow Sunflowers in Pots

To sow your sunflower seeds start off by filling the pots around two-thirds full of compost, and using your finger to poke a hole into the middle of the compost in each pot. From here, drop one seed into each of the small holes you have created and top up the container with some more compost. Next, label up the pots with the labels so you know what has been planted, and give each pot a good watering. After 1-2 weeks the sunflower seeds should start germinating and starting to grow.

A few things will change how long it takes for your sunflowers to grow and flower, these include the time of year, the climate of your location and the micro-climate within your garden. Warmer temperatures and longer days will help them to grow faster. It is also possible to keep the seedlings indoors or in a greenhouse for the first few weeks if it is earlier in the year. Annual sunflowers require plenty of water and they can be fed with tomato feed just before flowering for an extra boost of nutrients.

As your sunflowers grow they may need transferring to a larger pot and supported with a small cane if they become a little too top-heavy. Most varieties will bloom for around 8-12 weeks which makes them a fantastic choice for adding some colour to your garden. Once they have finished blooming is it commonplace to leave them in the garden for a few more weeks so birds can enjoy the seeds. You can cut down one of the dead flowers to retain a few seeds for the following year as well. 

If you’d like to grow sunflowers in your garden. Holt Garden Centre have a variety of seeds and pots available to spruce up your garden space. Speak to one of our friendly team about growing sunflowers alongside other perennial plants in pots.

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