7 Tips for Growing Sunflowers in Pots - Backyard Boss
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7 Tips for Growing Sunflowers in Pots

Growing beautiful sunflowers in pots is a great way to bring a little bit of sunshine and color into your outdoor space. When done right they can make quite the statement! Not only will you be able to enjoy watching as the bright yellow blooms sprout from seemingly nowhere, but you’ll also attract plenty of pollinators and onlookers who admire your efforts.

Whatever the reason for wanting to grow sunflowers in pots, here are seven simple tips that can help you get started with success.

Growth Regulators

mini sunflower growing in pot
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Sunflowers are a popular choice when it comes to adding vibrant color and life to your home. But with potted sunflowers, you might struggle to control the height of the plants. Fortunately, there are ways to regulate their growth and keep them looking neat in your garden or living space.

Growth regulators like Sumagic are a great way to reduce the height of sunflowers grown in pots. This can be especially beneficial if you have limited space, want to create a compact display or are growing sunflowers in containers. Foliar applications of Sumagic can give you more control over the size and shape of your sunflower plants, allowing them to fit into a variety of spaces.

You can use Sumagic foliar spray on spring sunflower crops grown in 6-inch pots. Always follow package directions.

Choose the Right Cultivar

sunflower seedlings on window sill
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Sunflower cultivars range from short dwarf types reaching only a few inches tall to giants topping out at 12 feet! Using growth regulators and selecting an appropriate-sized cultivar that will fit comfortably in your pot is the key to success. Here are some sunflower varieties perfect for containers.

If you love the frilly look, ‘Teddy Bear’ is the perfect choice. It has soft yellow petals and a compact form that makes it ideal for pots. It grows to a maximum height of 16 inches.

The ‘Big Smile’ has bright yellow petals with a dark center and is perfect if you’re looking for something cheery and low maintenance. ‘Big Smile’ grows up to 8 inches.

If you’re looking for something special, ‘Sundance Kid’ and ‘Sunspot’ are both sure to please. ‘Sundance Kid’ is a variety with bright yellow and maroon petals that can reach heights up to 20 inches. While ‘Sunspot’ has unusual yellow-orange blooms with a large center and can reach up to 14 inches.


bees on a sunflower
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To ensure your sunflowers get plenty of sunlight, place your pots in an area that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. While too much shade will reduce blooms, slightly less light won’t hurt them as long as it’s consistent.

Although it’s true you can house sunflowers indoors, it’s suggested only during the early stages of growth. You will want to start your sunflowers indoors until true leaves have formed, or until the weather warms up. This will help your sunflowers stay sheltered from strong winds to help prevent damage to their stems and foliage while they establish. When indoors, make sure you place your plant in an area that receives direct sunlight all day.

When to Plant

Sunflower during Daytime
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For best results, wait until after the last frost of spring has passed and soil temperatures reach at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit before sowing sunflower seeds. This usually happens in late spring or early summer, depending on where you live. To get an idea of when to plant in your area, check with your local gardening center for the dates of the average last frost in spring.


Yellow sunflowers outdoors
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Sunflowers love the sun, and with that in mind, keep them comfortable by growing them with days of 72 degrees Fahrenheit and nights of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help your sunflowers stay healthy, vibrant, and strong. With warmer temperatures, they may elongate, so stick to the recommended temps for optimal growth.


planting a seed
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To get started, you’ll need well-moistened potting soil, good quality seeds, and pots at least 12 inches deep. Start by planting four or five sunflower seeds 1/2 inch deep into each pot. Keep the pots in a warm place and water them regularly. It usually takes about eight to 10 days for the sunflowers to germinate.

Once they’ve grown several inches tall, transplant them into larger pots, approximately 12 to 18 inches deep, making sure there’s enough space between them.

Depending on the cultivar, your sunflower should be at full bloom between 80 and 95 days.

Watering and Fertilizing

warering sunflower
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Watering sunflowers is essential to having a beautiful, healthy plant. While they’re young, water around the roots. Avoid overhead watering.

Once your sunflower has established itself in its environment, water deeply but infrequently. Make sure your pot has good drainage. This is essential for preventing root rot and other problems.

Watering once a week should be sufficient unless there is an exceptionally wet or dry spell. To help protect your sunflower from pests, you can put snail or slug bait around its stem.

For those looking for an easier way to irrigate their sunflowers, consider using an automated drip watering system.

Since sunflowers are heavy feeders, they need to be fertilized throughout the growing season. To do this, mix diluted fertilizer into the water and gently pour it around the plant’s base. Avoid getting it too close. You can also build a moat in a circle around the plant as a safety measure.

Because overfertilization can cause stems to break, you should only fertilize your sunflowers sparingly. Additionally, a shortage in fertilizer will cause yellowing leaves, which can negatively affect their growth and health so monitor its use closely!

Sunflower Power! 

Now that you know the seven best tips for growing sunflowers in pots, it’s time to get out there and give it a try! These cheerful flowers are easy to grow and make a great addition to your garden. So why not give it a go? Happy planting!

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