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Growing Sunflower

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                  P P P

(Best months for growing Sunflower in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Sow seed

  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-11 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Cucumbers, Melons, Sweetcorn, Squash
  • Avoid growing close to: Potatoes
  • Young plants
    Young plants

Large showy flowers, available in a variety of colours Giant or Russian varieties are best for seed production

Sunflowers do not like to be transplanted.

Grow to 1 - 2 metres (4 - 6 ft) so need staking or protection from the wind. Protect the seed heads from birds when ripening.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sunflower

Use seeds fresh or toasted

Your comments and tips

05 Jun 17, Rejoice (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Hi,my I stay in Limpopo province and would like to know what is the best months to cultivate sunflower. I'm passionate about planting sunflower please help
09 Jun 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Plant sunflower seeds after all frosts are over, if you get them. Sunflowers are fairly tough but will respond to well worked soil with manure or compost added. They will also do better if they get water. Mulch will help save water.
20 Apr 17, Debbie (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Want to grow sunflowers. I am in Malmesbury in the western cape. When is the best time to grow them. I have awefull clay soil so that i need to sort 1st.
21 Apr 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Looking at the climate for Malmesbury in Western Cape you seem to have fairly mild winters. wait until after any frosts are over then plant your seed. If you have heavy clay soil try and break it up a bit by adding gypsum. I would try and work in about 2kg per square metre. You could also plant field peas or lupins to help break up the soil. These can be forked in when they are flowering. If your soil is really degraded this should help. Alternatively plant some of the shorter varieties that only grow from knee to waist high. Sunflowers are quite tough and respond well to good watering. Trust this helps.
02 Mar 17, Bella (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi Yesterday I scraped out a handful of sunflower seeds from a plant in a friends garden. I have them in a brown paper bag. Can I plant them today or do I need dry them out before I plant them. Thanks
03 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
You would probably be better to buy a packet of seed or get a small handful from a produce store (they would likely give it to you). The seed you have may not be sufficiently dry and is likelt to rot. It is getting late to plant sunflowers unless you are in the warmer north of the country. Save your seed for next season or swap it for something else. Trust this helps.
18 Jan 17, Wil (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Hi I am an amateur photographer who would like to take some photos of sunflower fields. Are there at that is currently on bloom near Johannesburg? If not, would you be able to guide me on when/where best to go? Thanking you in advance for your time. Regards Wil
26 Jan 17, Wilma (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Sjoe, with the drought the crobs have not been good. The last nice fields I saw was a few years back travelling on the N1 towards Grasmere toll plaza. Maybe ask on the facebook group Taan's Tuine, Kruie en groente They have over 30 000 members who can help.
06 Dec 16, Narelle (Australia - temperate climate)
I've been trying to get some seeds to germinate, without success. Do you have any advice, please? Perhaps I just need to be more patient, though - had them in a heated propagator for a couple of weeks and now have them out in the sun in a warm box. The temperature I'm keeping them at would definitely be between 10 and 30 degrees C.
07 Dec 16, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Sunflower seed sown directly into the ground should germinate very easily at this time of the year without any heat. Is your seed old? Try again, sowing directly into the ground in a sunny spot. Keep the soil moist but not wet and the seedlings should emerge within 7-10 days. Trust this helps.
Showing 1 - 10 of 72 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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