10 Amazing Tips on How to keep sunflowers alive

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Are you looking our how to keep sunflowers alive? Check out these amazing sunflower caring tips. The amazing tips on how to keep sunflowers alive outside or how to keep sunflowers outdoors or how to keep sunflowers in garden or how to keep planted sunflowers alive. You will get all the answers related to growing sunflowers.

The Helianthus annuus or Sunflower as we know it has become a staple in some form or the other in most households these days.

Right from its utilization to prepare cooking oil to the seeds used as a snack – these seeds are considered a power food, or the flower simply has grown to quite literally brighten your day, all in all, this plant is an integral part of most of our lives.

So, how do we keep sunflowers alive?

How to grow sunflowers indoors
how to keep sunflowers alive outside

These beautiful flowers are generally grown outdoors in gardens, backyards, parks, and other public spaces that receive abundant sunlight.

In this blog, we aim at going into details about how to grow sunflower plants indoors and how to care for them. Focusing on how to keep sunflowers alive both plants as well as cut flowers.

Can you grow sunflowers at home? 

Can you grow sunflowers at home? We have all come across growing sunflowers outdoors, in fields, landscapes, and gardens depending on the scale of usage.

If these plants are accustomed to the outdoors, the question most home gardeners come up with is how to keep sunflowers alive indoors? Will these plants be able to survive potting and the limited space?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones, sunflowers do well in zones 2 to 11. These plants flower annually and grow upright, they come in a number of variants and sunflowers can grow from 1 ft to 10 to 15 ft depending on the type planted.

This gives gardeners more choice in terms of the type of sunflower they would like to grow depending on the availability of space. If you have a space constraint going in for shorter variants is a good idea.

So, to answer the question can you grow sunflowers at home, Yes !!! you can.

Sunflowers not only add beauty to your outdoor garden but can dazzle indoors as well. Here is how you can incorporate sunflowers into your living space.

How to grow sunflowers indoors?

How to grow sunflowers indoors? The two main components required to grow sunflower plants are good quality soil and sunlight. As their name suggests, sunflowers love the sun, these bright yellow blooms need about 8 to 10 hours of sun a day to grow well.

Hence it is recommended that you plant sunflowers close to, south or east-facing windows.

Here is a step to step guide on how to grow and care for sunflowers indoors.

1# Choosing the Sunflowers variant

When planting sunflowers indoors it is important to choose indoor variants. These variants do not grow as tall as the ones that grow outdoors and the blooms are considerably smaller but the essence of the plant remains the same.

These dwarf versions of the sunflower plant can be grown from the seed or purchased as a sapling. Retailers in your neighborhood are sure to sell these, you can also opt for e-commerce websites and get saplings delivered home.

Note: Sunflower Seeds easily available at the grocery store are more often than not the ones that can be consumed as a snack. These are processed and not for planting.

There are different ways in which gardeners prepare the seed for planting it some seeds like to be soaked while others don’t. this being said the most common question about seeding sunflowers is

Should I soak sunflower seeds before planting?

How To Keep Sunflowers Alive
how to keep planted sunflowers alive

Should I soak sunflower seeds before planting? Sunflower seeds are high in natural oil content hence they require a lot of water to germinate. It is therefore recommended that the seeds are soaked for a while before planting.

Veteran gardeners would recommend soaking them for about 12 to 24 hours but never more than 48 hours.

After the soaking period is over, the seeds can be planted in a good quality well-draining potting mix. after the seeds are submerged cover the pot with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

2# Potting the Sunflower plant

The potting process for sunflower plants is the same as other indoor plants. These plants love solitude and grow well in individual pots. If you are repotting sunflowers plant from store-bought pots consider opting for significantly large pots.

Not only do these plants like seclusion but also sunflowers grow faster in a bigger space. If you have a small variant a 6-inch diameter pot will do well if the variant is medium to large you will need a larger pot.

If you are sprouting seeds instead of opting for saplings use a sprouting tray, this will make the repotting process easier.

Clay pots allow plants to breathe better as compared to plastic pots. These are lighter than concrete variants and can be bought either online or at local stores like Walmart etc.

The temperature in the house needs to be considered as well when choosing a pot. if your house is dry consider using glazed ceramic pots, this will help retain soil moisture.

Tip: scrub pots well before use.

Once the pot is chosen it is important to punch drainage holes at the bottom. This allows the excess water to drain easily. Sunflower plants like soil that is moist and will wilt in soil that is soggy, the holes at the bottom of the pot will ensure that the excess water drains out. 

sunflower plant variants
how to keep sunflowers in garden

3# Choosing the soil for sunflowers plant

Sunflowers like good quality soil rich in minerals and nutrients. A store-bought potting mix mixed with compost will do just fine in a 3:1 ratio. You could also use a home-made potting mix that drains well.

4# Fertilizing sunflowers

To keep sunflowers alive, fertilizing sunflowers plant is very essentials

As sunflowers bloom it becomes increasingly necessary to feed them well. These plants do well with liquid fertilizers and those soluble in water.

Feed them during the growth period for the best results. The best combination for the sunflower plant is a 15-5-15 fertilizer with calcium and magnesium. You could also opt for an all-inclusive or broad-spectrum one. 

Caution: be careful not to over-fertilize the plant. Overfertilization will stimulate foliage growth instead of flower growth. 

5# Staking

Stalking is done to support the tender stem of the sunflower plant. As the sunflower is a top-heavy plant it may need external support when it grows to over 3 ft tall.

Stake the plant using a bamboo or metal rod, it needs to be firm so that the plant can depend on it for support. You can then bind the stem gently to the rod.

Staking the plant will give it additional support and it will be able to grow well without toppling over. 

Tip: Use fabric-covered ties as they are gentle on the plant stem.

6# Water

The sunflower plant loves moisture. They need to be often more often as compared to other indoor plants. These plants will need watering several times a week. Don’t let the top layer of soil dry out. But be careful not to overwater the plant.

The sunflower has tap roots that burrow deep into the soil or pot. Hence, it becomes extremely important to keep them hydrated. When the plant is smaller water around the roots and not directly over the plant. This will help the plant establish itself without being displaced.

As the plant grows you can water closer to the root. When the plant is flowering pay attention not to water over the flowerhead stick to the base of the plant. This will keep the plant in the best shape.

Tip: water the plant more generously 15 to 20 days before and after flowering. This is when the plant needs the most water. Can you grow sunflowers under artificial lighting?

Sunflowers love the sun but sometimes it is just not possible to provide the stipulated amount of sunlight to plants at home. There has been a lot of research done on the effects of fluorescent and another artificial lighting on sunflower plants.

In most of them, it was concluded that sunflowers can grow under artificial lighting.

In most cases, it is not necessary to get a special glow light available at stores that claim to be the best replica of natural sunlight. you could use any bright florescent light available locally. opt for lights that are designed for plants or at least convenient to move around.

Let the plant receive light for around 12 hours you can turn the light off at night so that the plant can rest.

Tip: Rotate the plant every few days so that it grows straight.

7# Sunlight

Sunlight is the most important factor when it comes to growing sunflowers. When planted at home, they need to be placed near windows that receive maximum sunlight.

These plants require at least six hours of complete sunlight. If needed place the pots outdoors for a bit so that the sun receives maximum sunlight.

In order to help the plant, grow upright, it is important to keep rotating the plant once in a while.

It may so happen that the apartment you live in does not receive enough sunlight or the intensity of natural light received is low.

In such cases, it might be difficult to expose the plant to enough sunlight. in such cases, most home gardeners prefer to use artificial lighting.

Can you grow sunflowers under artificial lighting?

care for sunflower plants indoors
how to keep sunflowers alive indoors

Can you grow sunflowers under artificial lighting? Sunflowers love the sun but sometimes it is just not possible to provide the stipulated amount of sunlight to plants at home. If this is the case how do you keep sunflowers alive without natural sunlight? There has been a lot of research done on the effects of fluorescent and other artificial lighting on sunflower plants. In most of them, it was concluded that sunflowers can grow under artificial lighting.

In most cases, it is not necessary to get a special glow light available at stores that claim to be the best replica of natural sunlight. you could use any bright florescent light available locally. opt for lights that are designed for plants or at least convenient to move around.

Let the plant receive light for around 12 hours you can turn the light off at night so that the plant can rest.

Tip: Rotate the plant every few days so that it grows straight.

What are the most common sunflower plant variants?

Sunflowers come in a variety of types; these range from mammoth versions that reach about 14 – 20 feet and dwarfs that stay under a foot tall. Of the many available variants, we have picked a few that are more common in the US and at the same time easier to care for.

The choice of variant is also determined by the amount of space you have to spare at home and the amount of sunlight your apartment receives. If you do not have natural light these plants do well under artificial lighting as well but the quality of the blooms will be a little inferior.

Russian Mammoth

These as their name suggests are larger as compared to other variants. These are perfect for larger spaces and balcony gardens or close to French windows that receive ample sunlight.

This variant grows to about 12 feet tall and its blooms are the diameter of dinner plates. The seeds of the Russian Mammoth can be consumed as snacks.

Lemon Queen

The pale-yellow blooms of the Lemon Queen plant with chocolate brown centers are about 4 to 5 inches in diameter and grow up to 6 feet in height.

Autumn Beauty 

These are named after the colors they are available in, yellow, orange, bronze, and red will add spark to the dullest of rooms. These plants grow about 6 feet tall with blooms that are about 4 to 6 inches and can be accommodated easily in medium-sized apartments.

Teddy Bear

These cuddly-looking plants grow to about 2 feet and are too cute to handle. The 6-inch blooms that they produce are soft and fluffy in the most beautiful gold color. These are ideal for smaller places.

How to care for sunflower plants indoors?

How to care for sunflower plants indoors? Sunflowers are one of the easiest plants to care for as the major ingredient to their happiness is the Sun. So, if you are troubled with the question, how to keep sunflowers alive we can say that in most cases these plants will grow well with little to no effort.

The only requirement is that the soil used is the type that drains well and it receives enough light. If all conditions are met these are one of the fastest-growing plants there are.

This being said you may sometimes come across situations that are completely normal but disturbing to plant parents. In this section, we aim at answering these questions to put you are ease.

Why are my sunflowers drooping?

How do you revive a dying sunflower
how to keep sunflowers alive outside

Why are my sunflowers drooping? Drooping could mean two things one the plant is wilting or two they are bowing down because they are top-heavy.

Inspect the plant and you will know the exact reason. If the plant is droopy because it is top-heavy you will need to stake the plant for extra support.

If the plant is still droopy and on the verge of wilting you need to look closer to see if the plant has been infected with a pest or disease, the sunflower is a more rugged plant but it can sometimes get infected with Fungi such as Fusarium, Pythium and Phytophthora.

If this is the case the plant will start to droop at the beginning but the foliage will soon turn yellow the plant will have stunted growth and it may reach an untimely demise. In such cases, a store-bought solution sprayed on the plant will do the job just fine.

If the plant does not have fungi o look for spider mites or caterpillars growing on the plant. These can be treated by spraying a natural insecticide.

If the plant seems insect free and is still beginning to droop, it may be due to soggy soil or the lack of sunlight. change the position of the plant and check if the water is draining out of the pot easily.

If not, you can increase the number of drainage holes at the bottom of the pot or add sand or coir to the potting mix.

Tip: the plant might go into shock if it is moved or repotted if this is the case give it time, it will come back to normal in a few days.

Should I cut the leaves off my sunflower?

Should I cut the leaves off my sunflower? Pruning is the most common way in which plants may be indoor or outdoor, are maintained.

The most common question asked when it comes to the sunflower is whether this plant needs to or can be pruned like other plants. As sunflowers are perennials like any other perennials, they need to be cut back twice a year.

Cut them to about half their size late spring or early summer then again in June or July and let them grow naturally.

A few experts believe that cutting the leaves from the bottom of the plant is not a good idea as these supply nutrients to the plant. But if you see a few dry leaves you can get rid of them.

The blooms, on the other hand, will not grow back and hence they can be cut off to the bottom once they turn brown.

Tip: avoid pruning when the first bloom appears.

Do sunflowers need to be hardened off?

Do sunflowers need to be hardened off? Hardening off is nothing but helping the plant get accustomed to the outside. This acclimatizing process begins when the plant is a sapling and continues for sometime before leaving the plant to grow outdoors.

This process is not needed if you are planning to have the plant indoors through its life.

Hence the whether or not your sunflower plant requires hardening depends on where the plant is placed and also where the plant will spend most of its life.

What will happen if you don’t harden the plant? 

To put it straight, if the plant is not hardened, before place outdoors they will die. Hardening is the process that prepares the plant for harsh weather conditions outdoors. If saplings are left out in the sun they will burn or if they are left in the cold they will shock, if this is the case, how do you keep sunflowers alive?

When plants are sprouted and raised indoors, they get accustomed to a comfortable setting and better living conditions. As soon as they are removed from these conditions and exposed to harsh extremities outdoors, they cannot bear it and wither.

Hence if you are planning to move your plant from indoors to outdoors it is important to harden them.

For how long does the sunflower plant need to be hardened?

For how long does the sunflower plant need to be hardened? For the best results, it is advisable to harden the plant for about 2 to 4 weeks. However, if you are short on time we recommend at least a week of hardening.

You love your potted plant to bits and then one fine day you notice that the plant you have grown attached to is starting to die. In these unfortunate circumstances, there are a few things that might help. Here is a list

How do you revive a dying sunflower?

To revive a dying sunflower plant, you first need to understand the reason for its deteriorating condition.

1# light

Either you rely on natural light or artificial lighting, check if the amount of light it receives is enough. Sunflowers require at least 6 hours of light or direct sunlight. the plant will start to show signs of drying and wilting if this criterion is not met.

In such cases move the plant to a different location or increase the number of exposure hours.

Sometimes it may so happen that young saplings are moved to a sunny spot or older plants are moved to a sunny spot after moderate lighting. This will cause overexpose and the plant will start to die.

To avoid such situations keep lighting constant and pay attention to the number of hours the plant receives light.

2# Water

But too much or too little water can cause the sunflower plant to wilt. With sunflowers, you not only need to pay attention to the amount of water you give the plant but also the amount of water that remains trapped in the pot.

To avoid soggy soil opt for a mix that is well-draining and at the same time puncture drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

If you think underwater is the cause, create a watering schedule and stick to it. if you still find it difficult to keep up with watering the plant regularly, invest in a self-watering pot or a mechanism that waters the plant at regular intervals.

3# Fertilizers

Over-fertilizing crops can kill them, same is the case with the sunflower plant. These plants do not need to be fed very often. You can feed them just before the blooming period and then after to restore strength.

Use fertilizers that are soluble in water and those that are chemical-free. This will help keep the plant in optimum shape.

4# Small pot

The sunflower plant requires a lot of room to grow. It is therefore advisable to invest in significantly larger pots. This allows the roots enough space to grow. If the pot is too small the plant will feel suffocated, this will stunt its growth and eventually kill it.

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To sum it up 

Sunflowers are marvelous flowers and will add glimmer to any room. These plants are low on maintenance and can be cared for easily. When planted at home you can either rely on natural light or artificial lighting, both work equally well and aid in their overall development.

So, if the question of how to keep sunflowers alive haunts you as a novice gardener or you are trying your hand at planting sunflowers for the first time. The answer is plenty of light and water with good quality soil and an occasional drizzle of fertilizer. You can never go wrong with this recipe.

I hope you get the below answers to sunflowers plants:

  • How to keep sunflowers alive indoors
  • How to keep sunflowers alive outside
  • How to keep sunflowers outdoors
  • How to keep sunflowers in garden
  • How to keep planted sunflowers alive
  • How to grow sunflowers plants

Happy Gardening!