How to Keep Sunflowers Alive [6 Green Thumb Tips]

Plant your sunflowers in fertilized soil and provide plenty of sun and water to encourage them to thrive throughout the season. Keep the soil where your sunflowers are planted well-drained, and be careful not to over-fertilize it. As a general rule, use store-bought, high-quality soil. Mix 3 parts soil with 1 part compost for the best results. Give your sunflowers at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily, and water them several times weekly. After they begin flowering, give your sunflowers a little extra water for the next 15 days. Sunflowers prefer moist soil, so don’t let the soil dry out. Stake your flowers to make sure they don’t droop or bend, since this is bad for the health and integrity of the flower.

How to keep sunflowers alive

6 Tips to Keep Sunflowers Alive

Sunflowers are tall, sturdy annuals that will add beauty and color to any property. Follow the 4 helpful tips below to ensure your sunflowers grow strong and thrive to their fullest throughout the growing season:

Provide Plenty of Sunlight

Give your sunflowers plenty of direct sunlight. This is the most important step. Aim for at least 6 hours of full sun daily, but several hours more than that is not too much.

  • Allow your sunflowers at least 6 hours of full sun exposure per day.
  • Place indoor sunflowers near windows that receive maximum sunlight.

If planted indoors, make sure your sunflowers are placed close to windows, preferably the ones that receive the most light.

Mix Compost into the Soil

Whether you are planting sunflowers indoors or outdoors, the flowers will benefit if you add compost to your soil. Compost improves moisture retention and adds nutrients to the soil. If you are growing sunflowers outside, spread 1–2 inches (2.5–5 cm) of compost on the soil surface. Then, use a rototiller or rake to mix the compost into the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil. It’s best to do this before you plant your sunflower seeds in spring.

  • Mix compost into the soil before planting your sunflowers.
  • In outdoor gardens, spread 1–2 inches (5 cm) of compost on the soil surface, then till to mix it into the soil.
  • For container-grown sunflowers, mix 3 parts potting soil with 1 part compost.

If you are growing sunflowers in containers, make a mix of 3 parts potting soil to 1 part compost. Mix the compost and soil together thoroughly. Compost left on top of the soil won’t help your plants. UV light from the sun will evaporate some of the high nutrient content in compost. By mixing it into the soil, you’re providing nutrients that drive sunflower growth.

Grow Your Sunflowers in Well-Fertilized Soil

Keep your sunflowers alive by using high-quality soil with fertilizer. As your flowers bloom, the need to feed them increases. Keep in mind, however, sunflowers do not respond well to water-soluble or liquid fertilizers. The best choice is a 15-5-15 combination fertilizer with magnesium and calcium.

  • Try this 15-5-15 combination fertilizer to provide an extra boost to your sunflowers.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing your sunflowers.
  • Fertilize once every 4–6 weeks.

Refrain from over-fertilizing your sunflowers, though. If you create soil that is too rich, it will stimulate foliage growth, rather than flower growth. So, it’s best to fertilize sunflowers no more than once every 4 weeks.

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Provide Adequate Water

Although sunflowers love the sun, they also love moisture. Water your sunflowers 2–3 times per week. Do not allow the top layer of soil to dry out. Sunflower roots burrow deep into the soil. It’s important to keep them hydrated by moistening the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil each time you water.

  • Water your sunflowers 2–3 times weekly.
  • Do not allow the top layer of soil to become dry.
  • Aim the stream of water at the base of the stem.
  • If you’re growing sunflowers in containers, use pots that have good drainage holes.

To keep your sunflowers in the best shape possible, refrain from watering over the flower head. Instead, aim the water at the plant’s base. When growing sunflowers indoors, make sure your pots drain well. After watering, you should see water draining from the holes in the bottom of the pot.

Support Your Sunflowers With Stakes

Because sunflowers grow quite tall and are top-heavy, they need to be staked so they stay upright. Staking is done to support the plant’s tender stems. Use metal or bamboo rods, since these materials offer the best support. Gently bind the stems to the stakes with soft twine so your sunflowers don’t fall over.

  • Sunflowers need to be staked for support when they reach 3 feet (90 cm) in height.
  • Use bamboo or metal rods for your stakes.
  • Use these top-rated ties to gently tie the sunflower stem to the stake.

Opt for fabric-covered ties or another gentle tie when supporting your sunflowers. Pliable, soft materials will be the most gentle on your flower’s stems. Stake your sunflowers when they reach 3 feet (90 cm) tall.

Provide Extra Water While Your Sunflowers are Blooming

In order to encourage your sunflower blossoms to last as long as possible, increase your watering frequency once the flowers begin to bloom. For 15 days after the flower opens, give your sunflower extra water. In most cases, it’s best to increase watering frequency to 5–7 days per week.

  • Increase watering frequency for the first 15 days after your sunflower begins blooming.
  • Water as frequently as once per-day to provide blossoming sunflowers with enough water.
  • Dry soil causes sunflower blooms to dry and wilt.

Providing your sunflower with extra water while it’s blooming encourages the plant to flower for a longer time period. If the soil where your sunflower is growing dries out, the flower itself will begin to wilt and dry out.

How Do You Keep Sunflowers Alive Indoors?

If you’re growing sunflowers indoors, choose a small or dwarf sunflower variety. Then, plant them in large, individual pots. Make sure you use high-quality soil and opt for a well-draining potting mix. Allow your sunflowers to be exposed to at least 6 hours of full sunlight each day. Choose a south or east-facing window for best results.

  • Try a small variety of sunflower for indoor growth.
  • Plant sunflowers in generous sized containers full of well-draining soil.
  • Give your sunflowers 6 hours a day of full sun.
  • Water your sunflowers 3 times a week.
  • Stake your sunflowers for support.

Water your sunflowers three times weekly. If your sunflowers grow as tall as 3 feet (90 cm), use fabric-covered plant ties to gently stake them to metal or bamboo supports.

How Long Do Sunflowers Last After Cutting Them?

In most cases, cut sunflowers can last anywhere from 5–12 days. However, times vary slightly depending on the type of sunflower. Taking proper care of your sunflowers will stop them from prematurely wilting. Cut them in the morning, as this will also make them less likely to wilt.

  • Cut sunflowers can last for 5–12 days.
  • Cut them in the morning for best results.
  • Place your sunflowers in a vase of water immediately.
  • Remove all leaves except for the ones located directly under the flower.
  • Use sharp pruning shears or a knife to cut your sunflowers.
  • Cut sunflower stems at a 45° angle.

Put your sunflowers in water immediately after cutting them. This will prevent them from losing moisture after cutting. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut each stem at a 45-degree angle. Remove all the leaves except for those just under the flower. Rotting leaves in the water can shorten the sunflower’s life. Finally, place your vase of cut sunflowers near a window where they will get plenty of sun. These steps ensure the blooms will last for as long as possible.

Tips for Keeping Sunflowers Alive

In order to help your sunflowers thrive as they grow, follow these steps:

  • Provide your sunflowers with at least 6 hours a day of full sun.
  • Mix organic compost into the soil prior to planting.
  • Add 15-5-15 fertilizer to the soil once every 4–6 weeks as they grow.
  • Water your sunflowers three times per-week.
  • Prevent the soil from drying out between waterings.
  • After your sunflowers bloom, give them extra water for the next 15 days.
  • Stake and support your sunflowers once they grow to a height of 3 feet (90 cm).

By following these tips, your sunflowers will stay alive, bloom for a long period, and can be harvested as fresh flowers or for their delicious seeds.

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