Sunflowers are the crown jewel of any landscape or garden, often towering high above trees and homes by summer’s end.
If you live in USDA hardiness Zone 7a, you can start your sunflowers in April, but in other regions, gardeners should wait until May to ensure an August harvest time.
Taking care of sunflowers is easy, but they require lots of water to thrive.
Want your own hardy and healthy sunflowers? Keep reading to find out how!
How often to Water Sunflowers?
Plan on watering sunflowers at twice per week, more in very warm or drought-like conditions. On average, sunflowers need at least 2 gallons of water each week. A sunflower soil should never be dry, but always damp or moist to the touch.
Water your sunflower at least twice a week, but more often in hot or dry conditions. It is not unusual to water your sunflower more frequently than any other plants or flowers in your garden or landscape.
Make sure to check the soil surrounding your sunflowers before you water. Make sure that it is relatively moist, but not soaked, in between watering.
While sunflowers are drought-tolerant with long roots, they do require at least 2 gallons of water per week to mature and flower. It is estimated that sunflowers need around 34 inches of water yearly for optimal growth.
Remember that some of this moisture comes from the elements, including the soil and rainfall, so water accordingly.
Since sunflowers do best in the sun, protect them a bit with a layer of bark mulch on top of the soil, up to but not touching the stalk of your plant, as this can lead to pest problems.
When your sunflower is germinating from seed in the soil, keep it quite moist — moister than when it is growing above ground. Since the plant does not yet have the intricate, leggy roots to find moisture underground, it requires more watering.
Plus, water activates something within the sunflower seed that helps the seeds to form and grow. When you first plant your sunflower seeds, water frequently but with a light hand until propagation.
Overwatering is an issue with sunflowers as the roots can become soaked and soggy, which leads to disease, root rot, pests, and mold. Ultimately, overwatering your sunflowers can kill them.
If you notice puddles or standing water around your sunflower, your soil may not be draining adequately.
If this persists for 24 hours following a rainstorm or watering, you will want to move your sunflowers to a different location with well-draining soil.
Watering Potted Sunflowers
The main difference in watering potted sunflowers from watering in-ground sunflowers is the frequency.
Typically, potted sunflowers will require more water, as their roots are not as long and able to find moisture underground.
When planting sunflowers in a container, it is imperative to watch out for wet roots that could be susceptible to rot. Never let your container sit in water.
Ensure the pot where you plant your sunflowers have ample drainage holes and that you use soil that is airy and not too dense.
Also, be wary of getting your foliage and stems wet when growing sunflowers in pots as this can lead to fungus and bacteria that may compromise your plant.
Once your sunflower has reached a couple of feet in height, use a spray mister bottle to gently spritz the head or flower of the plant, every couple of days.
Tips When Watering Sunflowers
- Sunflowers will need more water during flowering, which is approximately 45-85 days of their lifespan.
- Adjust the frequency of watering to keep your sunflowers’ soil moist if you’re living in an area with a dry climate. If you live in a humid climate, you may need to reduce the frequency of irrigation due to the natural moisture provided by nature.
- Try to avoid the flowers and leaves when watering your sunflowers. Water deep into the soil at the base of your sunflower’s stalk or stem, ideally.
- Remember that sunflowers have long and deep root systems, so allow ample room for their roots to spread underground when planning and planting your garden. If growing in pots, make sure to use a container deep enough to allow for the roots to grow.
- It is best to water your sunflowers early in the morning, as well as early in the evening as needed. It’s because if you water the sunflower during mid-day, the water quickly evaporates even before the roots can absorb it. Too late in the evening, and the water sits in the soil and can cause wet roots and disease.
Frequently Asked Questions about How Often to Water Sunflowers
Are sunflowers easy to grow?
Sunflowers are easy to grow if the conditions are right, which includes ample sunlight and adequate water. Common problems with cultivating sunflowers include immature or smaller resulting blooms.
Are sunflowers drought-tolerant?
Sunflowers are drought-tolerant plants that will survive if you forget to water them occasionally or if you leave town for a couple of days. Don’t mistake a leaning, limp sunflower for being dead- water deeply and watch them come back to life!
How can you best care for sunflowers?
Best practices for growing sunflowers include sunlight and water, but also keeping a clean and weeded bed for your plants. This helps reduce pests and helps the plant absorb what it needs from the environment efficiently.
Where should you plant your sunflowers?
Sunflowers thrive in areas that get plenty of sun the entire day. For this reason, try to plant your flowers on the north side of your greenspace, so they don’t shade other plants in the same area. The stalks are leggy and tall, so make sure you provide ample space for air circulation, too.
When should you prune and harvest sunflowers?
You should have sunflowers to harvest in early August, depending on where you live. Prune your sunflower stalks before they bud in the spring, but only if they are a perennial sunflower variety. Do not prune annual sunflowers at all.
Sunflowers are a magnificent addition to any garden, as well as the focal point of arrangements, bouquets, and centerpieces.
Use these tips to make sure you water your sunflowers adequately and care for them to cultivate healthy, hardy sunflowers of your own!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.