Sunflower or (Helianthus Annuus) is a tall (2-4m) annual plant that produces (usually one) large daisy-shaped flower. The centre of which turns into a broad circle packed with edible sunflower seeds. Sunflowers are easy to grow and are the subject of many school growing competitions as they grow very quickly once they get going. Sunflowers also make a great companion plant as their height and the spacing of leaves can provide support for many climbing plants (beans, cucumber etc).

How To Grow

Sunflowers can be sown direct in the ground or in pots. They will grow in most soils but do best humus-rich, moist but well-drained soil with a neutral to alkaline pH. They also prefer a sunny spot. If sown in a windy position plants may need support as they grow.

How/When To Harvesting

Harvest sunflower seeds once the flower head starts to dry out. You can also cut off the head and hang it in a dry airy spot out of the rain. Watch out for birds as they love sunflower seeds. Or if you want hang them out for the birds in the autumn. Once dry sunflower seeds can be stored for 2-3 months in a dry container. Or up to a year if frozen.

Planting Schedules for Location: Leesburg, Virginia

Sow Indoors / Plant Out

Sow Indoors
Plant Out
  • Sow Depth: 1.5 cm
  • Spacing Between Rows: 50 cm
  • Spacing Along Row: 50 cm
  • Number plants per Square Foot: 0.5