Through their varieties of bright yellow shades, sunflowers can add vibrancy and light up any garden. These flowers are one of the best choices out there to grow in fall apart from other annual flowers. Even though most varieties bloom fiercely in summers, you can have significant blooms in fall with proper care.
The sunflower is mainly a summer flower because it loves sunlight and cannot survive for long periods without sufficient direct sunlight. But you can also consider them a fall flower as most varieties bloom until the middle of fall.
Are you wondering whether sunflowers are fall flowers? In this article, we will help you learn all about this gorgeous sun-loving flower, its growth cycle and when, and how it typically blooms.
Are Sunflowers a Fall or Summer Flower?
Sunflowers bloom from summer to early fall with the peak season being in the middle of summer. Although it is mainly a summer flower, you can consider it a fall flower as it blooms until the middle of fall. The beautiful flowers turn towards the sun throughout the day and keep blooming when the sunlight is strong.
There are numerous sunflower varieties available with varied characteristics. One thing common to all is their love for bright, direct sunlight. You can sow the seeds in early summer and within a few weeks, you will have pretty sunflower blooms in your garden.
Due to their extensive root system, sunflowers can tolerate drought-like conditions. This quality makes them perfect to grow in hot-weather regions. It is due to their sun-loving nature that these flowers are grown widely in most tropical countries.
When Do Sunflowers Bloom?
Sunflowers mainly bloom from early summer to the middle of the fall. Sunflower is an easy-to-grow plant and can be grown by beginners and experts alike. We will take a look at some common sunflower varieties that bloom at different times of the year and what their characteristics are.
Before getting into other details, let us take a look at the two types of sunflowers and the differences between them. Sunflowers can be either annual or perennial.
Annual Sunflowers (Helianthus Annuus)
Annual plants need to be replanted each year and their seed heads could be either large or small. The annual sunflowers bloom the very first year of planting the seeds. Popular annual varieties are Autumn beauty, Evening sun, Music box, and Velvet queen.
Perennial Sunflowers (Helianthus Multiflorus)
Perennial plants do not need replanting every year. Instead, they come back each year from the same mother plant. Their seed heads are small and after planting the seeds, they do not bloom for at least the first two years. Some common perennial varieties are the Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes, Capenoch star, and Loddon gold.
While growing the perennial sunflowers, you need to take extra care. They can get super tall and bushy and due to the aggressive growth pattern, they can become invasive. Choose the area where you want to grow the perennial varieties carefully.
Can You Get Sunflowers in December?
Sunflowers bloom last only till the middle of fall and it is highly unlikely to get your hands on these pretty flowers in December. If the sunflowers are late bloomers, you might still get some till October. But after October, it becomes difficult for these summer and sun-loving plants to produce flowers.
Some varieties such as the Autumn beauty bloom in fall but extending their life cycle till December is not possible as the summer and fall-blooming plants die when the temperatures fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wait until early spring before you can plant the sunflower seeds again. You can start them indoors after the last frost date or late winter. Once the weather gets slightly warm, plant the seedlings outdoors in a bright location.
Are Sunflowers a Fall Decoration?
Sunflowers are at their peak in the fall season which makes them a great choice for fall decoration. Collect the flowers and put them atop the tables at dinner and evening parties. Sunflowers are also quite common in wedding decorations as they give a tropical and warm vibe to such happy occasions.
Sunflower fall decoration is easy to implement as the plant is at the peak of the flowering stage. The beauty of this plant is in full bloom in fall and the dash of bright yellow and orange colors helps in adding a relaxed and happy vibe to a place.
Place the cut flowers in pastel-colored vases or jars for a rustic look. For a more casual look, display them with fall leaves on the terrace and windowsills. Sunflowers are great for gift-giving too as they symbolize life and bright colors.
Do Sunflowers Survive Winters?
While the annual sunflowers would most likely not survive when the temperatures fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Most annual varieties die by the end of fall or early winters.
They cannot survive in extremely cold climates. If you want to grow these gorgeous plants, wait till early spring when you can sow their seeds and have the pretty flowers in summer.
In the case of annual sunflowers, once the flowering ends, they die irrespective of the growing conditions. Perennial sunflowers produce flowers and seeds and die but they usually come back every year in summer.
If you are growing annual varieties, make sure that you collect their seeds so that you can grow new plants in spring. If the plant is in bloom, it will die soon. This should be an indication for you to collect the seeds, dry them and store them until the end of winter.
Do Sunflowers Grow All Year Round?
Annual sunflower varieties such as Teddy Bear, Russian Giant, and Music Box are not cold and frost-hardy plants. Their seeds need to be replanted every year after the soil has warmed and the soil temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can start the sunflower seeds indoors about six to seven weeks before the last frost date. Since these plants grow best in warm and full sunlight conditions, it is essential to keep the seeds and seedlings protected from the cold weather.
Sunflowers can grow in any type of soil with a pH level between 6 and 7.5. Plant the annual variety seeds from April to late May in 1-inch deep holes and make sure that the space between the seeds is 4 to 6 inches.
In the case of perennial varieties, plant the seeds 3 to 5 inches deep and 15 to 25 inches apart. Make sure that the soil is rich and well-draining. Adding compost or aged manure helps provide necessary nutrition to these plants.
How Long Do Sunflowers Take To Grow?
Depending on the variety, sunflowers can take anything between 80 and 120 days to mature and develop seeds. Both annual and perennial varieties die in winter. Perennials come back each year whereas annuals need to be replanted.
Let us take a look at some common varieties and the time that takes them to mature.
Velvet queen sunflowers are annual and can take 70 to 100 days to bloom. The deep red and orange-colored blooms look magnificent on a 5 to 7 feet tall plant.
The American giant is a fast-growing, tall annual sunflower variety that takes 65 to 80 days to bloom. It is a huge plant with a height of up to 16 feet.
The Autumn beauty has yellow, mahogany, and bronze-colored blooms. The plant matures in 75 to 90 days with the height averaging between 5 and 7 feet.
The Teddy bear is a dwarf variety making it ideal for container gardening. It matures in 75 to 80 days with the height ranging from 4 to 5 feet.
What Other Flowers Represent Fall?
Spring and summer are known for bright flowers but fall has its charm and is the perfect season for many annual flowers apart from sunflowers. Other annual flowers that are an accurate representation of fall include the multi-colored asters, the long-blooming and fragrant dianthus, dainty pink and white sweet alyssums, the hardy marigolds, and the pretty pansies.
These flowers bloom throughout fall and are representative of the fact that fall is not just about old leaves. Unless there is a hard freeze or frost, most of these flowers continue to bloom even in winters.
Grow these gorgeous common varieties such as Mammoth, Autumn beauty, Moulin rouge, and Teddy bear. You can grow the dwarf ones in pots if there is a lack of space in your home garden. Just remember to have fun while growing this summer-loving plant and it will reward you with stunning blooms.
The sunny petals can help anyone cheer up and bring sunshine to life. Now that you know all about these pretty flowers, it is time you get one of these for yourself and try growing them from seeds. Choose the variety that suits your home and weather and get going!