When Is the Best Time to Plant Sunflowers?

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When is the best time to plant sunflowers? These cheerful flowers, native to North America, bloom during warm weather. Sunflowers grow well in U.S. Plant Hardiness Zones 1 to 11. Read on to learn when to plant sunflowers!

The sunflower is one of the most popular garden plants that grow during the warm summer months. This bright yellow flower blooms on tall, coarse stems with bristly leaves. Sunflowers are drought-resistant, making them a low-maintenance plant in hot, dry climates.

The sunflower plant is heliotropic. This means that the flower follows the movement of the sun. The flower’s giant head is full of seeds, which can be stored, used as bird feed, or re-planted for more flowers!

In this guide, we’ll discuss when is the best time to plant sunflowers.

If you’re new to gardening, make sure you check out our guide on how and when to plant a garden.

When Is the Best Time to Plant Sunflowers?

When to Plant Sunflowers

It takes sunflowers between 80 to 120 days to grow, so experts recommend planting seeds in early Spring. Here are some additional tips on when to plant sunflower seeds:

  • The best time to plant sunflower seeds is after the last frost of the year, when the soil is roughly 60 degrees Fahrenheit. (Make sure it’s no less than 50 degrees.) In most areas, this period is between late February and early May.
  • Sunflowers bloom during the warm months. And they grow best in rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5.
  • Stagger your sunflower seeds ever 2 to 3 weeks if you want continuous blooms throughout the summer.
  • You can start growing smaller varieties of this garden plant indoors during colder months. You can begin sowing seeds in a garden tray 6 weeks prior to planting in your garden.

Where to Plant Sunflowers

  • Since sunflowers can reach up to 14-feet in height, plant them next to a tall structure like a fence, or in a location where they’re protected from strong gusts of wind.
  • Make sure to plant your sunflower seeds at least 6-inches apart and no more than 1-inch deep. As your sunflowers grow, you’ll want to thin the seedlings so that the stronger plants remain about 12-inches apart.
  • Plant your flowers in an area where they will get plenty of direct sunlight! Keep in mind, sunflowers require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive.
When Is the Best Time to Plant Sunflowers?

Facts About Sunflowers

  • The botanical name of the sunflower is Helianthus annuus.
  • In many cultures and faiths, the sunflower is a symbol of loyalty and faithfulness, because of it’s longevity and dedication to following the sun.
  • The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas, also known as the “Sunflower State.”
  • In Greek mythology, the sunflower is celebrated in the tale of the water nymph who fell in love with Apollo, the god of the sun. The water nymph was turned into a sunflower, so she could always follow the sun.


The answer to “when to plant sunflowers?” is a relatively simple one. These plants grow quickly and don’t require extensive maintenance. As long as they’re grown after the last frost of the year when the soil is above 50 degrees, it’s hard to go wrong.

To learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to backyard garden plants.

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