Sunflowers are some of the most impressive plants that you can grow. Many people love growing them in their garden areas because of how large and colorful they are.
If you don’t want to grow sunflowers outdoors this year, then you might still be interested in growing them indoors. However, you might not even be sure if it’s possible to do so.
Can sunflowers be grown indoors or are they plants that simply need to be grown outdoors? Keep reading to find out.
It’s Possible to Grow Sunflowers Indoors
Yes, it is indeed possible to grow sunflowers indoors if you approach things properly. Under normal circumstances, you’d be growing them outdoors and they’d need a lot of sun to thrive.
Standard sunflowers that you’re probably familiar with seeing outside can be grown in USDA hardiness zones two through eleven. Things are a bit different when you’re growing them indoors, though.
The first thing to know is that there are different types to look into. You might be drawn to one or another depending on the size that you’d like as well as other requirements.
Keep reading to learn a bit about the types of sunflowers that you can grow indoors. This should help you to make your decision about which one you’d like to try to grow yourself.
There are quite a few different types of dwarf sunflower varieties to consider. Often, when people are growing sunflowers indoors, they are growing dwarf sunflowers.
One of the best things about dwarf sunflowers is that they’re a bit smaller than the gigantic sunflowers that you see growing outdoors. It’s easier to fit these plants inside and you can keep them in standard pots.
You can grow dwarf sunflowers in either pots or containers depending on what you want to do. Before you decide if dwarf sunflowers are right for you, it’ll be good to learn a bit more about the popular varieties that you can choose from.
Teddy Bear Sunflowers
Teddy bear sunflowers are likely the most ubiquitous sunflowers that are grown indoors. They can grow up to three feet tall and will often have more than one bloom on a stalk.
The bloom of a teddy bear sunflower is different from that of a standard sunflower. They’re bright, yellow, and puffy.
Normal sunflowers have seed-filled centers that are dark and flat. This means that teddy bear sunflowers look substantially different than what most people think of when picturing sunflowers.
Sunflowers such as this offer their own unique charm, though. If you choose to grow teddy bear sunflowers indoors, then you’ll be able to have a good experience and it’ll add a lot of color to whatever room you place them in.
Big Smile Sunflowers
Another option to look into is the big smile sunflower. Despite the name, big smile sunflowers aren’t really all that big when you get down to it.
These dwarf sunflowers will only grow to be eight inches tall. In many ways, this makes them more convenient because you’ll be able to easily find a spot for them in your home.
Some people choose to grow three big smile sunflowers in one pot. This works nicely when you put three of them in a pot that has a six-inch diameter.
You should also know that big smile sunflowers only produce a single flower. They do pretty much look like a miniature version of a standard sunflower, though.
Pacino sunflowers get quite a bit bigger than the big smile sunflowers. They can grow up to two feet tall and each one can produce multiple yellow flowers.
They don’t get quite as big as the teddy bear sunflowers, and that might make them a good middle option between teddy bear sunflowers and big smile sunflowers.
Other Dwarf Sunflower Varieties
There are other dwarf sunflower varieties that you can consider purchasing as well. The three mentioned above are the most common and popular options that people turn to.
You could also choose to look into little Becca, Jade, Valentine, and Topolino sunflowers. All of these are smaller than the gigantic sunflowers that you’re used to seeing outside and will be easier to keep in an indoor environment.
Giant Sunflowers Can Also Be Grown Indoors
It’s also possible to grow standard giant sunflowers indoors assuming that you have the room to make it happen. Giant flowers are going to get quite big and they might take up too much space to make them a practical choice for your home.
For instance, if you choose to keep a mammoth sunflower indoors, then you’re going to need a pot or planter that can hold at least five gallons of soil. If you have a large space where the plant can receive enough sunlight, then it might be possible to get good results, but not everyone has enough room.
Many of the most popular giant sunflowers will be best grown outdoors. You’re going to have the best luck if you find a hybrid or dwarf variety.
If you do choose to grow a giant sunflower indoors, then you should know that the container size is going to stunt the growth. The giant sunflower won’t likely reach its maximum growth potential due to being kept in a container or planter.
Tips for Potting Sunflowers
When it comes to potting sunflowers, it’s going to be essential to ensure that the pot has good drainage holes. If the pot that you’re using doesn’t have adequate drainage holes, then you’re likely going to have a hard time getting good results caring for it.
Even if you use soil that drains really well, it isn’t going to be possible to keep it alive without drainage holes. Pick a pot that has good drainage holes and then use soil with proper drainage to plant your sunflower.
It’s also going to be best to get the spacing right when planting a sunflower in a pot. You might need to refer to specific information about the type that you have chosen to get things perfect.
Proper spacing and drainage can prevent mildew from becoming a problem. You’ll be able to protect the sunflower by doing things right from the start of the planting process.
If you picked a sunflower variety that will grow two feet tall or higher, then you’ll want each seedling that you plant to be around six inches apart. Types that will grow taller than five feet need to be even farther apart.
When you’re trying to grow a giant sunflower in a pot, it’s going to be best to keep the seedlings one foot apart. If you bunch things up too close, then the flowers are going to be smaller than usual.
Once you have everything in the pot, it’s going to be wise to place some mulch on the top of the soil. Do so while avoiding touching the stem.
The mulch is there to help with moisture retention. So long as you follow this advice, you’ll be giving your potted sunflowers the best chance of doing well indoors.
You probably know that sunflowers generally need a lot of sunlight so that those big and bold flowers can grow. This is going to be true when you’re growing them indoors as well.
To get the best results, it’s going to be necessary to give the sunflowers six hours of full sun every day. Giving them more direct sunlight will be a good thing.
When sunflowers don’t receive enough direct sunlight, they’re going to have problems growing strong. For example, the stem of the sunflower might not get thick enough to support the weight of the flower.
Depending on where you live, it might not be easy to get enough sunlight for your indoor sunflowers. Some people live in colder climates and others live in places where the skies are overcast.
This is why using a grow light might be a good idea when you’re caring for sunflowers indoors. You can use a grow light to ensure that they are being exposed to the proper amount of light each day.
There are many different types of grow lights and you should buy one that makes the most sense for the plants that you’re growing indoors. Bigger plants might require more powerful grow lights in some instances.
Of course, sunflowers are also going to need water so that they can thrive indoors. If you don’t keep your plant watered properly, then it isn’t going to stay alive for very long.
When the sunflower is in the germination stage, it’s going to be necessary to keep it watered very well. Mature sunflowers will generally need to be watered once per week.
You should water mature sunflowers deeply so that the top six inches of the soil are moist. Forgetting to do this would be bad for the plant.
Remember that watering a plant too much can also be bad for it. It might be good to check the soil to see how moist it is before watering instead of just watering on a weekly schedule.
Pollinating the Sunflowers Yourself
Outdoor sunflowers will be pollinated by bees, but that’s not going to help your indoor sunflowers. This means that you have to pollinate the flowers yourself.
Thankfully, this isn’t going to be difficult to do in any way. The sunflower can self pollinate between flowers, but you’re going to have to help it.
You’ll be moving pollen from one flower to the other using a simple pollination tool. Don’t be intimidated by having to do this because it really is quite simple.
Have you thought about growing sunflowers indoors using hydroponics? This is actually possible if you have the right equipment.
This can be very convenient for people who are trying to garden in cramped urban spaces. You can use a standard hydroponics setup to grow sunflowers so long as you have enough space to hang a grow light high enough.
Since sunflowers can get pretty tall, you’re going to have to keep the grow light fairly high above the hydroponics setup. This might be the toughest part about growing them using hydroponics indoors.
If you’re growing some of the smaller dwarf sunflowers, then this is going to be very simple. Giant sunflowers will be a different story since those can get very large.
This doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to get good results using hydroponics, though. It’s up to you to decide whether this is the most practical way to grow them indoors in your situation.
After learning more about sunflowers, you’ll now know that they can indeed be grown indoors. It isn’t always easy to find the space for giant sunflowers, but there are dwarf varieties that are easier to take care of indoors.
You can grow giant sunflowers inside as well, assuming that you have enough space for them. It might be necessary to use some type of grow light to ensure that they are getting enough sunlight no matter what type you decide to go with.
It’s also essential to plant sunflowers in pots that have good drainage holes. You want to use well-draining soil and you also need to space them far enough apart so that they won’t be crowded.
If you’re able to use the above advice properly, then you should be able to have a good experience caring for sunflowers indoors. It’s really about paying attention, giving them enough sunlight, and watering them on the right schedule.
Some people also have good results growing sunflowers indoors with hydroponics. You can look into getting a hydroponics setup if that happens to appeal to you more than potting them and caring for them that way.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.