Sunflowers in Containers?

luciecat(8b AL)July 5, 2005

Hello All! I need some sage advice from the container crowd. LOL. Can I grow sunflowers in containers, and if so, what's the smallest size pot you think I can use? I'm not familiar with the root system of the really tall sunflowers. Are they dirt-hogs? By the way, I don't think growing season is a probem, I'll on the Alabama gulf coast. I got a wild hair this weekend and decided to try a different germination technique on the sunflower seeds, not expecting it to work. Well, when I came home from work this evening, the darn sprouts are sticking their heads out of the soil. So, I guess I need to make plans for their future!

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I have two sunflowers growing in my whiskey barrel planter along with nasturtiums and a petunia. They are growing and blooming their heads off. they are about 6 feet tall with multiple blooms. I do feed them a little with some miracle grow for blooms. I don't know their exact name because they came in an envelope of mixes type sunflowers. I say get a really big pot and give them a try!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 7:36PM
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andy_e(SF Bay CA 9/14)

I would use a half barrel. I have tried growing them in smaller containers and they never got very large.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 12:53AM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

If you want fullsize giant sunflowers then you do need a large container as mentioned above. If you don't mind smaller flowers, you can plant them in as little as a 1 gallon container.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 6:18AM
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I have planted them in 12" pots.
They grew 5-6 ft tall.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 8:58AM
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Just as an aside, I just saw a pic of some dwarf ones planted along the back of a rectangular fancy cement planter with something that is low with burgundy leaves and red blooms filling in the entire front (possibly a begonia, but the flower looks like impatiens). Anyways...the sunflowers were adorable planted like that!

luciecat, pray tell...what "different germination technique" did you do that sprouted the sunflowers from the weekend to Tuesday?? My 2-yr old granddaughter got so impatient waiting for hers to sprout I think she dug most of them up looking to see where they had gone! :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 2:03PM
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luciecat(8b AL)

Hello DaisyLover! Here's my method. I removed each seed completely from their seedcoats using a small wire cutter, but I suspect nail clippers would also work.

I made holes about 1" deep in small pots filled with moistened germination mix. I placed each seed "standing up" in the holes, sprinkled them with more mix to cover them, tamped down the soil and spritzed the tops with water. I kept them under growlights and bottom-watered. This was Saturday afternoon. By Tuesday night they had erupted from the soil. I could hardly believe my eyes! Those were Mammoth Hybrids. The temperature in the room varies between 70-85 degrees. Last night, flush from my success (LOL), I decided to try it again, with another type, Chianti Hybrid. I repeated the process but the holes were not as deep because the seeds were much smaller. So now I wait. It might have been a fluke. I'll know in a few days, one way or the other. I'd like to hear from anyone else about other seeds that can be germinated after removing them from the seedcoat, but perhaps that question is better asked on the seed-starting forum. Anyway, DaisyLover, that's it. Let's hope it wasn't a fluke. If you try it let me know how it works for you.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2005 at 3:32PM
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luciecat, that is of those things that makes your brain go hmmmmmmm....

I will have to dig out my seeds and give this a try. If this works my little granddaughter will be "so 'cited!" Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2005 at 4:06PM
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mea2214(z5 Chicago)

I've grown successfully grown a mammoth sunflower that got 8 feet high in a 12"x12"x16"(deep) container made out of wood lined milk crates. The only problem I had was that the lone sunflower had no support system and they when they got top heavy they started to lean.

This year I got lots of volunteers from last years crop and four popped up in a nice clump in one corner of a container which used to be a Rubbermaid 30 gallon tote bought for $3 at a Home Depot clearance sale. This container is also about 16 inches deep but the clump of four are all situated in a one square foot corner of the container. The sunflowers support each other in the clump and they are already 6 feet high and growing higher.

Here's a pic:

The only problem I have with these are watering. They really use the water and frequently I need to do an emergency watering during the day when I see them wilt. I normally water in the evening but when this happens I make an exception.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 1:51PM
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luciecat(8b AL)

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I think it should work out OK.

mea2214, I'm glad you reminded me about the water issue. I think I'll add some extra vermiculite to the mix in the pot and an extra layer of mulch on top of the soil. That should help.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2005 at 7:41AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

Here is trivia for you. Some may not know this, or maybe I am just the last to find out. (wouldn't surprise me.LOL)

Sunflowers face East.

If you baby your sunflowers only to have them smilin' over the fence at your neighbors (grr!) then you put them on the wrong side of your yard. Put them on the west side and they will be smilin' at YOU!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 10:07PM
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