Skip to main content
A picture of a Sunflower


Helianthus annuus

Also known as

Common Sunflower, Comb Flower, Golden Flower Of Peru, St Bartholomew's Star, Annual Sunflower, Garden Sunflower, Marigold of Peru

Photo by Joel70 (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Sunflower

A close up of a Helianthus annuus flower
A photo of Sunflower
A close up of a Helianthus annuus
Helianthus annus
A photo of Sunflower

Sunflower Overview

Sunflowers are some of the easiest plants to start from seed. The name sunflower refers to the shape of the flowerhead, which resembles the sun, or from the false impression that the flower appears to turn towards the sun as it moves across the sky. These fast-growing annuals also provide good cut flowers, as well as being attractive to a range of pollinating insects, particularly bees!

Common problems with Sunflower

Caterpillars and beetles often chew on the foliage.

Sunflower Companion Plants

Sweetcorn, cucumbers. Good companion plants for Helianthus in the late summer garden are: tall ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus or Calamagrostis, Salvias, Solidagao, Asters and Agastache.

How to harvest Sunflower

Cut heads off once they begin to yellow at the back. Hang them upside down in a dry pest free environment. once dry seeds can be rubbed off. Flower heads should be laid out to dry, and then the seeds are rubbed out of the head. The seeds are then allowed to continue to dry fully to avoid mildew. Harvest seeds when fully dry. Add the spent stalks to the compost heap.

How to propagate Sunflower


Propagate by division in spring or autumn.


Sowing time best during spring/summer with a spacing of 50 - 70 cm. Sowing depth is 2 - 8 cm with a fast germination time of 10 - 14 days. Sow seeds indoors March to April. Plant out in May.

Special features of Sunflower

Attracts useful insects

Attracts butterflies and bees.

Crop rotation

Heavy Feeder

Attractive flowers

The flowers are large and striking, their heads follow the sun through the day turning to face the sun.

Attracts bees

Attracts butterflies

Other uses of Sunflower

Border, culinary, cutting bed


Fruits or seeds are eaten and enjoyed whole, or pressed to make heart healthy oil or butters. The edible petals make a bright addition to a salad.

Cut flowers

Some smaller varieties are grown as cut flowers.


Some varieties are grown as garden plants.


Plants to Encourage Birds in Your Garden

Include any of these plants into your garden to provide shelter and food for birds.

Explore all

Flowers - Annuals to direct sow in June

There is still time to direct sow these fast growing summer flowers where you want them to flower.

Explore all


About usCareersPrivacy policy

Candide is your guide to visiting UK public gardens. Find the best gardens, buy tickets and enter with just your phone. Download the app for offline tickets, community access and more.

Terms & ConditionsCode of Conduct

© 2022 Candide

Made in Bristol