Sunflowers grow best in Texas when the seeds are planted between mid-March and early April. Sunflower seeds can still be planted as late as May or June and will grow to maturity by fall.
Plant the seeds in rows, with seeds spaced 9–12 inches apart. Because sunflowers grow in a variety of soil conditions and can tolerate some drought, the most important concern is to make sure you plant them where they receive full daytime sun.
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What is the Best Time to Plant Sunflowers in Texas?
Sunflower seeds germinate best once soil temperatures rise to 50℉ in spring. Although this varies from county to county in Texas, you can expect to begin planting sunflower seeds in mid-March in southern regions of the state, with optimal planting temperatures arriving by April in northern regions.
- Plant when soil temperatures reach 50℉. Refer to this free soil temperature map to determine when the soil in your area is ready for planting.
- Planting season in most regions of Texas begins in mid-March through early April.
- Sunflowers can survive temperatures down to 26℉.
If you plant early in spring and experience a cold snap in your region, there’s no need to worry. Sunflower plants can survive temperatures down to 26℉, and seeds may sprout at temperatures as low as 42℉. There’s very little risk of planting too early.
How Late Can You Plant Sunflower Seeds in Texas?
If you missed the initial spring planting window, you still have time! Because Texas has long summers, sunflowers can be planted through June and will reach maturity before the growing season ends. However, if July 4th has already passed, it’s no longer the optimal time to plant sunflowers.
- In Texas, sunflowers can be planted as late as early July and still mature in time for a fall harvest.
- You are unlikely to get a full harvest if sunflowers are planted after July 4th.
This means you have a long window for sunflower planting in Texas. You can seed sunflowers anywhere between mid-March and the beginning of July.
How to Plant Sunflower Seeds and Tips for Growing Sunflowers in Texas
Plant sunflower seeds in a garden that receive afternoon sun, preferably in an area that is sheltered from the wind. As they mature and produce large flowers, sunflowers can become top-heavy. Heavy wind can topple them. When planting sunflower seeds, follow these guidelines:
- Choose an area that receives direct afternoon sunlight.
- Plant along a building or fence row, for wind protection.
- Plant seeds 9–12 inches apart.
- If you’re planting multiple rows, space them 30 inches apart.
- Plant seeds 1–2 inches deep.
- Water the area after planting, to moisten the soil down to the depth of the seeds.
- Water daily for 10–14 days to encourage sunflowers to sprout.
Sunflower seeds can sprout from relatively deep placement, so don’t be afraid to cover your seeds with dirt to protect them from scavenging birds. However, do not plant sunflower seeds deeper than 3 inches, as this may inhibit them from growing.
Caring for Texas Sunflowers
If you find yourself asking questions like, “How often should sunflowers be watered?” and “How do I protect sunflowers from birds?” then you’ve come to the right place. To make sure your Texas sunflowers reach maturity, do the following:
- Once sunflowers have sprouted, water once per week to moisten the soil down to a depth of 3–5 inches.
- If you are watering your garden with a lawn sprinkler, 1 hour per week is sufficient.
- Fence in your garden to prevent deer and other animals from entering and eating sunflowers.
- Use bird netting to keep birds away from your sunflowers.
Because sunflowers are oily and nutritious, many animals are drawn to the plants. If sunflowers are left unfenced, deer will often eat them before they mature. Squirrels and birds are also notorious for eating the seeds from near-ripe sunflower heads. Fencing and netting are key for protecting your flowers. You can also try Milorganite to repel deer and other animals.
When Do Sunflowers Bloom in Texas?
Depending on what time you plant your sunflowers, they will begin to bloom between mid-summer (July) and early fall (September). These blooms will persist for weeks, as the sunflowers turn throughout the day to catch the heat and light of the sun.
- Sunflowers bloom July—September.
- Sunflowers planted later in the season tend to mature faster than early plantings. They may “catch up” and bloom quickly.
- Sunflower blooms last for 8–12 weeks.
Just because a sunflower has bloomed doesn’t mean it’s ready for harvest. Sunflowers often bloom for 2–3 months. Wait until the yellow petals of the bloom begin to wither before harvesting.
What Month Should You Plant Sunflower Seeds in Texas?
You will get good results planting sunflower seeds in Texas between mid-March and early July. There is very little danger in planting too early in spring because sunflower seeds germinate at soil temperatures as low as 42℉. An early planting ensures you get 8–12 weeks of beautiful sunflower blooms in your garden before the fall harvest.
When planting sunflower seeds, water daily for the first 2 weeks to encourage seeds to sprout. Once they have established themselves, gradually reduce watering sunflowers until you are watering only once per week. Sunflowers are native to the American plains, so they can grow surprisingly well with very little water. The common sunflower is a gorgeous addition to any Texas garden.