Sunflower seeds

Quick Reference:

Harvest Type:  Single harvest

Transplant/Direct Sow:  Direct sow or transplant

When to Plant:  When soil temperatures are 60-70°F .

Start seeds indoors 4-5 weeks before the average last frost date.

Days to Germinate:  7-10 days

Days to Maturity:  70-100 days

Planting Depth:  ½” deep

Germination Temp:  60-70°F

Seed Spacing:  6-8” apart

Light:  Full sun

Soil pH:  6.0-7.5 pH

Water:  1” of water per week.  Water gently until plants are 2-3' tall.

Soil Temperature:  60-70°F

Fertilizer:  Not required

Rotation:  Not required


Planting and Care:


Harvest Type

In general, sunflowers are a single harvest crop. Most sunflower plants produce a single bloom, but a few varieties have many flowers.

TIP: Be sure to stake taller varieties of sunflowers to protect them from wind damage.

Transplant / Direct Sow

You can direct sow or transplant sunflowers. They are easy to grow.

TIP: Sunflowers love heat, so transplant after the danger of hard freezes has passed.

When to Plant:

Sow seeds directly outdoors when the soil temperature is 60-70°F. Do so 1-2 weeks after the average last frost date for your area.

Days to germinate

It takes sunflower seeds 7-10 days to germinate.

Days to maturity

It takes about 70-100 days for sunflowers to bloom. Larger varieties require more time.  Bush varieties bloom earliest.

Planting Depth

Plant seeds at 1/2" deep.

Germination Temperature Range

Sunflower seeds germinate the best when the soil is 60-70°F.

Spacing Between Plants

Space sunflower seeds 6-8" apart and keep row space from 12-18" apart. For larger varieties, space plants 12" apart.

Growing conditions

Sunflowers are easy to grow and require only a little care. They need about 1" of water per week and not a lot of fertilizer. They are heat-loving plants.  Sow sunflower seeds when the soil temperature is above 60°F.


Rotating sunflower crops is not necessary. They grow well in poor soil but will benefit from amending the ground before planting. Use aged compost or aged manure to prep the beds.

Anticipated yields

Plan your garden yield at 1-3 sunflower plants per person. Plan on 1-3 pounds of sunflower seeds per plant. Larger varieties produce more seeds per head, but small bush varieties may produce more seeds per plant.


Family Sown collections that include sunflower seeds: