Learning how to grow Dwarf Sunflowers and Teddy Bear Sunflowers from seed is such a simple process. Learning how to maximise and double your blooms for use in cut flower bouquets is even easier. Have a read through my easy Sunflower guide to find out more…..
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Why I Love Sunflowers!
Whether you grow Dwarf Sunflowers, Teddy Bear Sunflowers or Giant Sunflowers! All Sunflowers are born Equal, some may be bigger than others, but all are as spectacular as each other…I like to call them, Homegrown Sunshine 🌻
Sunflowers are not originally native to England, their origins began in Southern America. Thanks to their successful cultivation in the 1500’s they soon travelled all around the world and eventually became accessible to cultures near and far. American Indian tribes first cultivated the Sunflower’s seeds for the purpose of flour. The seeds were ground down and used for bread making.
The typical Sunflower, the tall ones we are all so familiar with (Helianthus Annuus ) belong to the Asteraceae family. The name originates from the Greek words ‘Helios’ and ‘Anthos’ which means ‘Sun’ and ‘Blossom’. Dwarf sunflowers are a crossbreed of the familiar variety, a practice of specific breeding that has made them comparably smaller than their Giant size Sunflower Sisters.
Dwarf Sunflower Characteristics
Dwarf Sunflowers usually grow up to around 60 cm in Height, but on occasion can reach up to 1 metre at their tallest. Dwarf Sunflowers are simply miniature versions of their giant counterparts, they have the same sunshiny appearance and large proud heads, but are mounted on shorter sturdy stalks.
Teddy Bear Sunflower Characteristics
Teddy Bear Sunflowers are adorable! Fluffy, fully-double flowers, around 12 cm across. Resembling cheery yellow pompoms. The flower heads attract bees and butterflies bringing much needed pollinators to the garden. Reaching heights of 2-4 ft, they flower over a period of around 5 weeks in mid summer.
Dwarf and Teddy Bear Sunflowers are best grown in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Each is also a good candidate for container growing due to their shorter root systems, just be sure to provide some drainage in the bottom of each pot( broken pots or gravel)
Light and Water Requirements
For optimal growth, Sunflowers need between 6 and 8 hours of sunshine a day. ‘Sunflower’ by name Sunflower by nature, their name is not an accident or wholly a reflective description of their shape, but rather, instructional. Give them what they need, lots and lots of Sun!
Sunflowers are not particularly thirsty and require a moderate amount of water. But if you intend to grow them in pots, you will need to water them more frequently.
Want to use them as Cut Flowers for Bouquets and Arrangements?
Maximise on blooms! Using this simple trick…
Pinch back Dwarf Sunflowers to just above the second leaf set after they have grown 4 to 6 inches tall. Simply use your fingers or scissors, see my How to grow Peppers post for a visual. This will force the plant to divert its energy into producing more branches, more branches=more flowers! A simple way to double your blooms.
How To Grow Dwarf Sunflowers and Teddy Bear Sunflowers
Ready to grow some Sunshine?
How to Sow Sunflower Seeds
Sow in early spring to early summer (March-June) outdoors where they are to grow. Prepare the ground and rake to a fine tilth then sow seeds 1/2 inch deep in rows, 45 cm apart.
Sow in Modules or pots 1/2 inch deep, March-May. Place on a sunny windowsill to germinate. Be sure to harden off the plants before planting out after the last frosts.
What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently . This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.
How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks.
Where to Plant Dwarf Sunflowers and Teddy Bear Sunflowers
A sunny open sight with at least 6-8 hours of Sunshine per day.