Growing Sunflowers in Containers

Container grown sunflowers are a great way to bring color from the garden and landscape onto your patio, porch, or even into your home.  Whether you grow them from seed yourself or buy them at a garden center, there are a few things you should consider when growing them.  Follow these tips to get the most out of your sunflower.

Although most potted sunflowers are dwarf varieties, growing to less than 4 feet, mammoth varieties can also be grown in containers; however, they will require a larger pot.  Generally, dwarf varieties should be grown or transplanted in a 1 to 2 gallon pot.  Mammoth varieties should be grown in at least a 5 gallon pot.  The containers should be clean and sterile if you're re-purposing them and don't forget to add saucers for catching the water.

Put the soil into the container, pot or window/porch box. First add a layer of drainage material, such as pebbles, gravel, terracotta pieces, or small pieces of polystyrene foam. Then pour in quality container soil such as a mix of compost and commercial soil mix. It should come to a level about 1 inch from the top of the container. Water it well.

Water. Water. Water.  Sunflowers need more water than the average potted plant.  Even “dwarf” varieties are quite a bit larger than other, typical potted plants.  All that plant mass is great at sucking up water via transpiration.  Although sunflowers are relatively light feeders, supplementing with a general purpose fertilizer will help develop beautiful blooms.

Put the sunflower container in a nice sunny part of your house, garden or on a porch if you prefer. A sunflower should be positioned so that it gets full sun all or most of the day; no sunflower can handle shade for most of the day. If you have the sunflower growing indoors, choose a sunny room but avoid placing it too close to a window because air near windows is often hotter or colder than the room temperature and this can be harmful to the plant. Try to keep the container away from extreme rain.

Following these steps you should be able grow beautiful sunflowers pretty much anywhere. Combine this with a sunny, south-facing room, and maybe a grow light could allow you to grow sunflowers in the dead of winter. Warm, sunny flowers could definitely brighten up a cold winter day!


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