How To Grow Sunflowers From Seed

Sunny sunflower Helianthus annuus, nothing brightens your day like seeing a big bright sunflower over the neighbours fence or driving by a row in someones front yard.  
Sunflowers come in all colours and sizes, from the dwarf fuzzy teddy bear to the very tall rich velvety ruby passion. Some varieties will be branching that produce multiple flowers and others single stemmed, one flower per stem.
Some varieties will either have pollen or be pollenless. When choosing which variety to grow its good to be aware that even though the pollenless flowers will not produce pollen they will still provide nectar, a source of food for bees and birds, although pollen producing sunflowers will provide a complete source of food.
Sunflowers are a wonderful addition to the garden as they will flower over a very long period time.
Sunflowers are a great beginner gardener flower to grow and also an easy one for kids.
Fun fact, sunflowers follow the sun! This is called heliotropism, where the the heads of young sunflowers will turn and follow the sun from east to west. Then during in the night they will return to face the east, ready to get the maximum sun light for growth. 
Germination Tips
  • Seeds can be sown spring to early summer, make sure all risks of frosts have passed and if direct sowing the soil must be warm enough. 
  • Germination takes around 7-14 days at 21-24 degrees.
  • If raising seedlings take care not to leave them too long in the seedling pots, as they have a tendency to become root bound which will then make transferring them into the garden difficult.
  • As with any flower variety, if a seedling is under stress it will effect the quality of the bloom. 
Planting Tips
  • Choose a full sun position, if planting out a tall variety you will want to put them in a spot where they will not shade other flowers.
  • Some varieties will reach up to 2m+ so for these taller varieties support will be needed in the form of staking to prevent stems snapping in high winds.
  • Space single varieties 10-20cm apart and branching varieties 30cm-60cm apart as the branching varieties will take up more room. 
  • Pinching branching varieties at around 30cm of high will encourage more branches = more blooms. Do NOT pinch single stemmed flowers, as this will cause the flower not to bloom. Pinching will delay flowering by about a week.
  • Tip, to help control the size of the flower you can space the seedlings further apart for large blooms or closer together for smaller blooms.
Harvesting Tips
  • Sunflowers take around 80 days to bloom from seed.
  • Sunflowers should be harvested once their first petals begin to rise from the central disk. If the sunflower is fully bloomed, its time in a vase will be significantly reduced.