Growing sunflowers in pots: A step-by-step guide

One of the easiest plants to grow is sunflowers. You do n’t need a big garden to grow sunflowers, there are just a foot tall and giant varieties that reach for the sky. The classic summer bloomers can be planted in plastic pots, fabric planters, or even buckets. You can learn more about growing sunflowers in pots.

Growing sunflowers in pots and planters

Why grow flowers in pots ?

There are many reasons to grow sunflowers in pots, but perhaps the best is space. There are many compact and container-friendly varieties of sunflowers that can be planted in pots. The blooms of sunflowers attract bees and butterflies and can be clipped for summer bouquets. There are many reasons to plant sunflowers in pots.

Growing sunflowers in pots can be done in containers.

Selecting the best containers is the first step in growing sunflowers pots. I have a collection of plastic containers, pots, and planters in my garden shed that can be used to grow sunflowers in pots. Size and drainage are the most important considerations when selecting containers. To find out how large your chosen variety will grow, read the seed packet description. By matching the mature size of the variety to the size of the pot you can be sure you are providing enough space for healthy root growth. I usually plant sunflowers in 7 gallon to 10 gallon fabric pots or plastic containers that are at least 10 to 12 inches in diameter.

Maybe you want to grow sunflowers in a single window box. Again, look to the seed packet to learn the mature size of the sunflower variety so you can figure out how far apart to space each seed. To make it simpler, I have a seed spacing guide.

Drainage is one of the considerations when selecting a container. A pot that has plenty of holes for water drainage is important for sunflowers. Adding some to the bottom of the pot is necessary if the pot does n’t have any drainage holes. It is easy to add drainage holes to a plastic pot, window box, or bucket using a drill and 1/2 inch drill bit.

Sunfinity sunflower in a container

The best place to grow sunflowers is in pots.

Sunflowers grow best in a loose mix of organic matter. I fill my containers with a blend of 50 % good quality potting mix and 50 % compost when growing sunflowers. I add a slow-release organic flowerfertilizer to the growing medium to make sure my sunflowers have enough nutrition to grow big flowers.

The best place to grow sunflowers.

The name of the plant suggests that it needs full sun to grow well. A site that provides at least 6 to 8 hours of direct light each day is the best place to grow sunflowers. If grown in less light, the stalks may topple over as they reach for the sun.

sunflowers in pots

There are different types of sunflowers to plant.

The flower production and height of sunflowers can help you choose the best types to grow in containers. Pick up packets from your local nursery or buy seeds from seed catalogs.

There are flowers by flower production.

  • One high-quality bloom per stalk is produced by single stem sunflowers, which are often grown for cut flower production. These varieties are easy to grow in pots. For a display of color all summer long, succession plant single stem sunflowers every two weeks from late spring through early to mid- summer.
  • Branching sunflowers can be grown in pots, but they produce large plants with continuous blooms. Again, match the pot size to the mature size of the variety. You can expect up to several dozen smaller flowers. The individual stems of branching sunflowers can be cut for bouquets or left in the garden for the bees and butterflies. The class is called Apple-converted-space.

Sunflowers by height.

  • There are dwarf varieties of sunflowers that grow between 12 to 42 inches tall. They make excellent pot plants alone or in combination with other types of flowers. The class is called Apple-converted-space.
  • Tall sunflowers are varieties that grow taller than 42 inches.

Sunflower Solsation Flame in a container

When to plant flowers in pots.

Once the last frost has passed in the spring, sunflowers are heat loving plants. You can get a head start on the flowers by sowing seeds indoors. The seeds should be sown in 4 inch pots 2 to 3 weeks before the frost date. The mature plant and flower size can be impacted by the transplanting of pot-bound sunflowers.

How to plant flowers in pots.

When you are ready to plant your pots, fill them with the growing medium and grab your seed packets. Sunfinity is a container-friendly variety that can be found at local nurseries.

The mature size of the flower head and the mature height of the flower stalks are dependent on plant spacing. You will end up with shorter plants and smaller flowers if you crowd sunflowers in their containers. If you want full-sized plants and blooms, give them space to grow. To sow, plant seeds 1/2 inch deep. To learn how far apart the sunflowers are, check out my spacing guide.

  • Space plants 8 inches apart, or grow one plant in a 3 gallon pot, or three plants in a 10 gallon pot.
  • Space plants 6 inches apart, or grow one plant in a 1 gallon pot, or three plants in a 5 gallon pot. The class is called Apple-converted-space.
  • Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart or grow one plant in a 7 to 10 gallon pot.
  • Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart, or grow one plant in a 3 gallon pot or 3 plants in a 7 gallon pot.
  • Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart or grow one plant in a 10 to 15 gallon pot.

planting sunflower seeds

Growing in pots.

Sunflowers need regular water to form sturdy stalks and large flowers. You will have to water sunflowers more often than those grown in garden beds. Pots dry out quicker. It depends on the weather as well as the plant and pot size. I stick my index finger into the growing medium to check soil hydration. I will water if it is an inch down.

It is a good idea to watch for insects that can cluster on the growing tips of the plants or beneath the leaves. If you see any insects on the plant, knock them off with water from your hose. The snails enjoy the seeds. Pick up and dispose of slimy creatures. Squirrels and chipmunks feast on the seeds of my late summer sunflowers, but I do n’t mind. It is one of the reasons I grow them.

Growing giant pots.

Variety selection and pot size are the keys to success. Choose a variety with plants that can grow up to 16 feet tall and produce 10 to 12 inch diameter flowers. A big pot should hold 10 to 15 gallons of soil. Add a slow release organic flower fertilization with a blend of half compost and half potting mix. After the risk of frost has passed, seed or transplant a giant sunflowers. The plant needs water throughout the growing season.

planting sunflower seeds in a pot

The best sunflowers to grow in pots.

There are golden-orange petals and large chocolate centers. Many different varieties of sunflower seeds can be found in seed catalogs. There are different flower sizes and colors to have fun with. If you choose the right planter, any variety of sunflowers can be planted in containers.

There is a dwarf double sungold sunflower.

The Dwarf Double Sungold is a sunflower that grows just 2 to 3 feet tall. Each flower is packed with petals. Plants on the small side produce a dozen or more fluffy flowers which make long-lived bouquets.

The sun is shining on the sunflowers.

Sunfinity is called the next generation of sunflowers due to its long bloom period that lasts for much of the summer. The plants grow up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide and can produce 50 flowers per plant. The blooms are 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Expect to pay several dollars per seed for this hybrid variety, which is available from select seed companies as well as at local garden centres.


The sunflowers are SunBuzz.

SunBuzz is a great choice for pots and planters. It grows up to 20 inches tall with 4 inch diameter flowers that have bright yellow petals and deep brown centers. It blooms quickly and provides fresh flowers all summer long. To grow a SunBuzz sunflower in a pot, choose a container that is at least 8 to 10 inches in diameter. If you are planting multiple seeds in a container, make sure they are 6 to 7 inches apart.

The Solsation Flame is a flower.

The ultra compact sunflower was bred to grow in pots. It is 18 inches tall and produces two-toned flowers from mid-summer until first frost. There are bronze red petals tipped in gold and dark brown.

Sunflowers growing in a container

The sun is shining on a sunflower.

Suntastic is an All-America Selections winning dwarf sunflower with plants that grow a tidy one-foot tall. They are perfect for pots, planters, and window boxes. The flowers are 5 to 6 inches across and have yellow and brown petals. Kids can watch their potted plant grow from seed to flower in 65 days.

There is a firecracker and a sunflower.

Firecracker has two-tone flowers that grow 36 to 42 inches tall. There are 4 to 5 inch diameter red and gold flowers in each plant. The compact, dense growth makes this a great choice for containers, but it is also the perfect variety for a cutting garden. Each flower has a long stem. As the flower bud opens, harvest the stems.

If you want to read more about growing sunflowers and other annual flowers, be sure to check out these articles.

Are you going to grow sunflowers in pots ?

Growing sunflowers in pots

Category: Flower

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