The life cycle of a sunflower plant

Written by mary beth magee
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The life cycle of a sunflower plant
Sunflowers offer beauty and snacks in one package. (sunflower image by Deborah Durbin from

Sunflowers come in many sizes, from towering giants with a fringe of petals around a plate-sized seed head to delicate shrublike plants with an abundance of daisy sized flowers. Modern horticultural techniques have produced a variety of colours, as well.

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Purchase sunflower seeds in seed packets intended to plant. Seeds sold as snacks may not be viable.


Sow these annuals outdoors, after the danger of frost is past. Start them indoors and transplant the seedlings to the garden once frost danger is past.


Larger, single-flower varieties will make visible gains in height daily. Multiple-flowering varieties are less conspicuous, but still grow steadily with suitable conditions.


As the flowers develop they turn throughout the day, following the track of the sun across the sky. The giant varieties display this trait most noticeably.

The life cycle of a sunflower plant
Sunflowers are sun followers. (sunflower v image by inacio pires from


Harvest sunflower seeds for eating when they appear plump and begin to loosen in the seed head. Many growers wrap the seed head in a light cloth, such as cheesecloth, once the seeds begin to form in order to protect them. Once they have gone to seed, the plants will begin to die.

The life cycle of a sunflower plant
Sunflower seeds are as popular with birds as with people. (sunflower seeds image by Edsweb from

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