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Growing Sunflowers in Containers

Category Container
Sunflowers are a wonderful addition to any garden space for their beautiful colors and visiting birds. This guide is about growing sunflowers in containers.


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By 0 found this helpful
March 30, 2010


I live in an apartment, and would like to have sunflowers on my balcony. Do they do well in planters and if so, what's the best care for them?

Thank you,
Hardiness Zone: 7a

Joanne from Whitestone, NY


Sunflowers do great in containers. In fact, container gardening has gotten so popular in the past few years that there are now literally dozens of varieties of sunflowers available that have been developed specifically for growing in containers (e.g. 'Big Smile', 'Italian White', 'Music Box', 'Elite Sun', etc.).
  • Almost any variety can be grown successfully in containers, as long as you meet its growing conditions and provide it with a big enough pot.
  • The really tall or mammoth varieties will likely need staking to remain upright in pots.
  • Plant seeds in full sun, using a light potting soil or soil-less mix. Plant the seeds to a depth of 1 inch (6 inches apart) and expect to see them germinate quickly.

  • Days to maturity will vary according to each variety.
  • Seedlings of regular varieties will need to be thinned to 12 to 18 inches and given plenty of room to grow and spread out. Dwarf varieties can be packed in a little more closely together, but still need to be spaced at least 4 to 5 inches apart.
  • Sunflower roots are quite large and like to spread out. Mammoth varieties grow best in half barrels or containers that are at least 6 to 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Smaller containers will keep plants from reaching their full growth potential.
  • Sunflowers grown in containers need to be watered daily and even more frequently during really hot weather. Feed them a 1/2 strength water-soluble fertilizer every other week or so to support big blooms, and mulch around the tops of the containers to help conserve moisture.
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August 23, 20050 found this helpful

If you don't have much time or don't have a green thumb try growing sunflowers. They area very easy to grow and fast growing. This one is in an old cast iron pot on my porch. They come in a large variety of colors. I purchased my seeds from eBay. I also put in some broken pieces of vintage pottery for drainage and color.


By April

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By 1 found this helpful
August 10, 2010

This is my first year to plant sunflowers in containers. When cold weather sets in what should I do?

Hardiness Zone: 5b

By elaine from Berwick, ME


August 10, 20100 found this helpful

Is your variety an annual or perennial? If it's an annual, just pull it up in the fall, and start fresh in the spring (or, you can leave the seed heads for the birds to eat over the winter). I've never had perennial sunflowers, but for our other perennial plants, I cut them back in the fall/early winter. If you're in a very cold area, you might want to pull the container inside, or put it in some other sheltered spot.


Some people cover them with something like straw for additional protection from the cold. I've had perennials in the ground make it from year to year, but the same kind of plant in a container wouldn't make it through the winter outside. Don't be too disappointed if it doesn't survive.

If you're not sure what kind you have, take a look at this article, it has some helpful information. Best of luck!
http://www.gard  al-sunflower.htm

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August 10, 20100 found this helpful

If it's a perennial sunflower, plant it in the ground, it will survive better. Plants in pots do not always survive, they freeze easier and get colder in cold and wind. Good luck. :)

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May 31, 20140 found this helpful

I planted my seeds and they immediately started growing. It says "trim" at 4". I don't know what "trim" means.
Next, where do the sunflowers bloom. All I have right now is really tall green plants, but no blooms. I'm so lost.


By Samantha W. from Springdale, AR


December 7, 20170 found this helpful

Trim? I have a package of seeds and on the back of mine it says "thin" when they are 5 inches.... They will not bloom until they are full grown. depending on the type, they could be 12 inches to 12 feet tall. They must have full sun to grown, and can not be in a crowed pot.

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December 8, 20170 found this helpful

These are too close together. You need to cut back the ones that arent as big to let the big ones flower

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By 0 found this helpful
August 16, 2012

Does anyone have an idea how a sunflower can grow stronger and faster? Please help. We have very strong heavy rains here.

By Eunel from Apayao



July 17, 20130 found this helpful

I bought sunflowers at a nursery and they were beautiful. However, they have already died. What did I do wrong?

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By 0 found this helpful
August 14, 2012

I planted sunflower seeds in a pot on August 12 and watered it. Now it is August 15 and I tried to dig them up to see if it is already sprouted and it is! But now there's a very, very strong heavy rain. I know that a sunflower needs to be under the sun to grow. What should I do? Does it die? Or what? Please help.

By Eunel


August 20, 20120 found this helpful

Sunflowers need rain to grow too. If you think they will be flooded and the seeds washed away, just move the pot to a protected area until the rains have passed.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 10, 20100 found this helpful

I am going to grow sunflowers in an old wash tub. Do I need to put some holes in the bottom of tub for drainage? Does it need to have rocks in the bottom as well?

Hardiness Zone: 8b

By Shawna from Bossier City, LA


Growing Sunflowers in Containers

Yes, drill some holes in the bottom of tub for drainage. And as for the rocks, they aren't necessary. (03/31/2010)

By Marjorie

Growing Sunflowers in Containers

I've never tried them in containers, but I don't see why they wouldn't do ok! They don't root very deep, so any container 10 or more inches deep should be fine! The lady in the above article was using an old washtub, with drain holes in the bottom. I think it'd be an even better idea to have something underneath the container to catch/hold the water, so it can wick up through the soil if the soil becomes dry.

If you're using a big container and don't want it to be so heavy you can't move it, use empty pop or water bottles (with lids on!) in the bottom. The dirt will filter down through/around them, so it'll still wick up moisture from your drain-pan, but the pot won't weigh a ton, like it would with rocks in the bottom! I've done this in a huge pot, and it works well so far--2 or 3 years. Good luck! (Oh! Make sure your sunflowers have stakes if they're going to be exposed to a lot of wind!) (04/01/2010)

By CJaneC

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