Growing Sunflowers in Containers

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
March 30, 2010
A sunflower plant growing in a light green container.


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, 2005

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.

picture of growing sunflowers in a planter



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

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
Best Answer

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!

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