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How to grow sunflowers in a raised bed garden

Love sunflowers but don’t have space for a whole field of them? Here’s how to grow sunflowers in a raised bed garden!

Sunflowers are simply gorgeous big yellow flowers that grow very easily in the right condition.

I love the look of a huge field of sunflowers, but if you don’t have fields to spare, you can still have sunflowers in your yard.

This summer I had my 3 year old help me pick out flower seeds to start indoors and bring out for the growing season.

Of course he picked a few kinds of sunflowers and they were some of our most successful flowers in our garden.

Let’s talk about how you plant a sunflower bed in your garden!

how to grow sunflowers in a raised bed garden

How to grow sunflowers in a raised bed garden

Sunflowers grow easily in a raised bed garden. When you have a bed of sunflowers it is a beautiful and dramatic sight!

Here’s our complete guide on how to build a raised garden bed.

It’s important to keep in mind that sunflowers have very deep roots so they can NOT be grown in small pots or similar containers. They need at least a foot below for roots to grow down into.

This could be a more shallow raised bed planted over existing soil – that’s what we did for our sunflower flower bed and the roots grew straight down through our potting soil and into the earth below!

sunflowers growing in a raised bed

Sunflower needs

The main thing that sunflowers need is – you guessed it – sun! Pick a spot where they will get at least 6 hours of bright sun a day.

They also need well draining soil, but otherwise aren’t too picky. If you can, add a bit of compost to get them feeling happy and strong.

How to plant sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds sprout really easily. You can start them indoors such as in small cups of soil. Or, you can start them directly in your raised garden.

Bury the seeds about 1 inch deep in the soil and keep moist until they sprout!

Most sunflowers bloom and mature within 90 days of planting.

sunflower head

How do you plan a sunflower garden?

Sure, you can just toss sunflower seeds into a flower bed. In fact – our first sunflower “garden” popped up from birdseed that fell out of our feeder into a bed!

However, a little planning can help to create a more strategic garden space.

How deep should a garden bed be for sunflowers?

Sunflower seeds only need to be planted 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil. When planning the width and length of your garden, pay attention to the spacing guide on your seed packets.

While sunflowers will grow closer together, you will get smaller flower heads if the plants are too close together. So, just balance your desire for large flowers vs. more flowers.

sunflowers growing in a raised bed

How much space do sunflowers need?

Smaller sunflowers can be planted 3 inches apart, while giant sunflowers need to be 2 to 3 feet apart to grow to full size. Once you plant the seeds, you usually want to thin so they are 6-12 inches apart from each other.

It’s usually best to place sunflowers in the back and center of a raised bed. This allows you to add shorter plants around them, so you can still reach and see those plants.

Do sunflowers need a lot of root space?

Very tall sunflowers need very deep roots to hold themselves stable. They each have one single “tap root” that can be 1-3 feet long, even on a regular size sunflower. Smaller roots will grow out of the main taproot.

For this reason, large sunflowers don’t flourish in containers. However, they can grow in raised bed gardens – assuming that the raised bed is located over soil that the roots can grow down into.

Do sunflowers grow back after cutting?

Sunflowers are annual plants, which means that they die in the winter and do not come back the next year.

However, dead heading your plant or cutting off flowers from sunflower plants will encourage the plant to put out more flowers and extend its growing season!

sunflower head

What is a good companion plant for sunflower?

There are a lot of great sunflower companion plants! Sunflowers attract pollinators, which makes many other plants happy. Their height can also provide a bit of shade for smaller plants that prefer it.

Edibles that like the sunflower’s shade:

  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Basil
  • Chives

Sprawling flowers to plant under sunflowers:

  • Impatiens
  • Marigolds
  • Daisies
  • Snapdragons
  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos

Any questions about sunflowers that I can answer?

Thanks for reading!

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