How long does it take for a sunflower to grow?

We like to see summerhouses or log cabins surrounded with blooming flowers. The color and scent raise our spirits. For plants, however, flowers are serious business. The flower is the reproductive part of the plant. If the flower is not pollinated, the plant will not reproduce.

Although some plants are able to reproduce without flowers, all angiosperms reproduce by means of flowers and seeds. Most flowers contain male and female organs as well as parts designed to attract pollinators. Wind can spread pollen for fertilization, but most flowers are fertilized by insects that carry pollen from one flower to the next.

The pistil is the flower part made up of female reproductive organs. The ovary holds ovules, reproductive cells that will develop into seeds after fertilization. On top of the ovary is a tube called a style. The style leads to the stigma, which collects passing pollen. The pistil is also called the carpel.

The stamen is the male reproductive part of a flower. The top of the stamen is the anther, which holds pollen. The anther is positioned at the top of a filament. Pollen is a collection of male reproductive cells that will fertilize ovules to produce seeds.

When the flower blooms, male pollen cells are scattered by insects or by the wind. Pollen grains land on the flower’s stigma and fall into the style. There, pollen tubes develop and travel down into the ovary, where each male cell fertilizes an ovum. The fertilized cells become seeds. After fertilization, the flower has served its purpose and will wither as the seeds develop.

Complete flowers, sometimes called perfect flowers, contain both male and female organs. Complete flowers can self-fertilize, although most will do so only very late in their bloom period, if no other pollen has touched the stigma. Incomplete flowers, or imperfect flowers, have only one set of reproductive organs, all male or all female. Some kinds of plants produce only complete flowers. Other plants produce both male and female incomplete flowers on the same plant. A small number of plant species produce only male incomplete flowers on one plant and only female incomplete flowers on another plant.

While the pistil and stamens are the most important parts of the flower to the plant, the petals are important to humans because of their color, shape, and scent. They are also important to insects that are lured to the flower and carry pollen from one flower to the next. The insects are usually rewarded with nectar, which is nutritious for them.

Some plants can be fertilized by any bird or insect that comes along, or even by the wind. However, many plants are fertilized by only one or two types of insects, and their flowers are designed to attract those insects specifically. That is why there are so many different flower colors and shapes. Some plants closely mimic the color and markings of a specific insect.

The close link between each plant and its pollinator also explains why different plants flower at different times. In the wild, each plant species will flower when the insect most likely to pollinate it is active. If the insect species has a short period of active life, the plant will have a short bloom period.

  • Diagrams and explanation of flower parts
  • Game naming flower parts
  • Description of pollination
  • Many kinds of pollinators
  • Commercial use of bees for pollination
  • Migratory pollinators
  • Self pollination

Angiosperm

Angiosperm, any of about 300,000 species of flowering plants, the largest and most diverse group within the kingdom Plantae. Angiosperms represent approximately 80 percent of all the known green plants now living. The angiosperms are vascular seed plants in which the ovule (egg) is fertilized and develops into a seed in an enclosed hollow ovary. The ovary itself is usually enclosed in a flower, that part of the angiospermous plant that contains the male or female reproductive organs or both. Fruits are derived from the maturing floral organs of the angiospermous plant and are therefore characteristic of angiosperms. By contrast, in gymnosperms (e.g., conifers and cycads), the other large group of vascular seed plants, the seeds do not develop enclosed within an ovary but are usually borne exposed on the surfaces of reproductive structures, such as cones.

  • snake gourd flowerSnake gourd (Trichosanthes cucumerina) in bloom.© emer/Fotolia
  • magnolia flowerMagnolia (Magnolia fraseri).© s_derevianko/Fotolia

Top Questions

What are angiosperms?

Angiosperms are plants that produce flowers and bear their seeds in fruits. They are the largest and most diverse group within the kingdom Plantae, with about 300,000 species. Angiosperms represent approximately 80 percent of all known living green plants. Examples range from the common dandelion and grasses to the ancient magnolias and highly evolved orchids. Angiosperms also comprise the vast majority of all plant foods we eat, including grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, and most nuts.

How are angiosperms different than gymnosperms?

The key difference between angiosperms and gymnosperms is how their seeds are developed. The seeds of angiosperms develop in the ovaries of flowers and are surrounded by a protective fruit. Gymnosperm seeds are usually formed in unisexual cones, known as strobili, and the plants lack fruits and flowers. Additionally, all but the most ancient angiosperms contain conducting tissues known as vessels, while gymnosperms (with the exception of Gnetum) do not. Angiosperms have greater diversity in their growth habits and ecological roles than gymnosperms.

Read more below: Structure and function: Inflorescences

How are angiosperms and gymnosperms similar?

As vascular plants, both groups contain xylem and phloem. With the exception of a very few species of angiosperms (e.g., obligate parasites and mycoheterotrophs), both groups rely on photosynthesis for energy. Angiosperms and gymnosperms both utilize seeds as the primary means of reproduction, and both use pollen to facilitate fertilization. Gymnosperms and angiosperms have a life cycle that involves the alternation of generations, and both have a reduced gametophyte stage.

seed storage in vascular seed plantsVideo presentation describing the differences in seed storage between angiosperms and gymnosperms.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.See all videos for this article

Unlike such nonvascular plants as the bryophytes, in which all cells in the plant body participate in every function necessary to support, nourish, and extend the plant body (e.g., nutrition, photosynthesis, and cell division), angiosperms have evolved specialized cells and tissues that carry out these functions and have further evolved specialized vascular tissues (xylem and phloem) that translocate the water and nutrients to all areas of the plant body. The specialization of the plant body, which has evolved as an adaptation to a principally terrestrial habitat, includes extensive root systems that anchor the plant and absorb water and minerals from the soil; a stem that supports the growing plant body; and leaves, which are the principal sites of photosynthesis for most angiospermous plants. Another significant evolutionary advancement over the nonvascular and the more primitive vascular plants is the presence of localized regions for plant growth, called meristems and cambia, which extend the length and width of the plant body, respectively. Except under certain conditions, these regions are the only areas in which mitotic cell division takes place in the plant body, although cell differentiation continues to occur over the life of the plant.

The angiosperms dominate Earth’s surface and vegetation in more environments, particularly terrestrial habitats, than any other group of plants. As a result, angiosperms are the most important ultimate source of food for birds and mammals, including humans. In addition, the flowering plants are the most economically important group of green plants, serving as a source of pharmaceuticals, fibre products, timber, ornamentals, and other commercial products.

  • orchidsFlowering orchids.© sornram/stock.adobe.com
  • quinoa plantQuinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) growing in the Bolivian Altiplano region. Quinoa Corporation

Although the taxonomy of the angiosperms is still incompletely known, the latest classification system incorporates a large body of comparative data derived from studies of DNA sequences. It is known as the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group IV (APG IV) botanical classification system. The angiosperms came to be considered a group at the division level (comparable to the phylum level in animal classification systems) called Anthophyta, though the APG system recognizes only informal groups above the level of order.

honeysuckleA yellow-orange honeysuckle (Lonicera tellmanniana).© Juergen Bosse—Photodisc/Getty Images Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today

Throughout this article the orders or families are given, usually parenthetically, following the vernacular or scientific name of a plant. Following taxonomic conventions, genera and species are italicized. The higher taxa are readily identified by their suffixes: families end in -aceae and orders in -ales.

For a comparison of angiosperms with the other major groups of plants, see plant, bryophyte, fern, lower vascular plant, and gymnosperm.

If you feel that giant sunflowers aren’t quite what you want in your yard, or you only have pots, and still want to grow sunflowers, then the teddy bear could be the dwarf sunflower that’s ideal for you.

I love growing these fluffy, bright blooms. They always put a smile on my face and are easy to grow.

So, what is the teddy bear sunflower? The Teddy Bear sunflower is an annual dwarf variety that grows 2 to 3 feet (60 to 75 cm) tall. It has multi blooms that are bright, golden yellow and fluffy pom pom like flowers, they are 5 inches (12cm) in diameter. Teddy Bears are ideal for middle or border planting, growing in pots and cutting.

Whether you have one pot, borders, beds or would like to grow a companion plant in your vegetable patch, the Teddy Bear Sunflower will delight everyone that sees it. It’s bright, cheerful and easy to grow.

Table of Contents

Scientific Name and Classification of Teddy Bear Sunflower

Botanical Name

Helianthus Annuus ‘Teddy Bear’ Family Asteraceae

Common Name

Teddy Bear Sunflower

What The Teddy Bear Sunflower looks like

Teddy Bear Sunflowers are fast-growing. They have a single thick stem that grows 2 to 3 feet (60 to 75cm) tall. They have large, dark green, heart-shaped, or ovate leaves. These leaves are strong and smooth to the touch.

From the single stem grows many sunflower buds and blooms. The blooms are 5 inches (18cms) in diameter are golden yellow and look like big fluffy pom poms. Pollinators are drawn to these glorious flowers that keep producing throughout the summer months.

a teddy bear sunflower in all its glory

A Teddy Bear sunflower in all its growing glory

Here’s all the information about this wonderful little gem. Whats its uses are, how to sow, grow and care for them, and how to harvest and store the seeds.

Where to Place Teddy Bear Sunflowers and Their Uses

Teddy Bear Sunflowers start producing flowers about 8 weeks after the seeds have been planted. They attract bees and butterflies all throughout the summer and are ideal for companion planting with other flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

Place Teddy Bear Sunflowers in the middle or edge of your borders, or in pots for your balcony, decking, patio or conservatory. The flowers are showy and can be cut for display. Cut the flower just as it’s opening. This will encourage new buds and flowers to grow.

The Petals are edible too. Gather them up, wash them gently and leave them to dry. Sprinkle on salads or place them as added decoration on sweet cakes and icing.

Pick Your Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

If I’ve enticed you into liking the idea of growing Teddy Bear sunflowers, and you can’t find the seeds locally, I’ve found them for you on amazon.

Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Knowing we can get the seeds for sowing, let’s get growing.

Gardening Terms

Let’s start with a few basic gardening terms and what they mean for the Teddy Bear Sunflower.

  • Half-Hardy Annual. Half-Hardy means the Teddy Bear Sunflower cannot withstand cold weather, so must be sown indoors when it is still warm, or outside when the fear of frost has passed. Annual means it will grow and live for one year only.
  • Potting On. To divide seedlings or plants that have outgrown their pots, into their own pots, or bigger pots so they have further room to grow and mature.
  • Thinning out. If a number of seedlings are growing in the same growing site, and are too close together, remove the other plants and space them out accordingly, to give more room to grow.
  • Hardening Off. Two weeks before the danger of frost has gone, gradually accustom seedlings that have been grown indoors to the outside world. Do this by placing them out each day for a few hours, then bring them in at night. For the second week increase the hours spent outside, until they are out all night and ready to be planted out.
  • Planting Out. Planting seedlings or plants in their growing sites. Tender seedlings need to be hardened off before planting out.
  • Dead Heading. The Teddy Bear sunflower grows multiple heads throughout the season. Removing the deadheads encourages new buds and flowers to grow.
  • Companion Planting. Sunflowers can be planted alongside other flowers, herbs, and vegetables. This helps to attract pollinators and good bugs to help prevent infestations and diseases. I’ve written an article about companion plants, and what not to plant next to sunflowers. I hope you find it helpful.

How to Grow Teddy Bear Sunflowers

As with most sunflowers, Teddy Bear Sunflowers are easy to grow. So whether you have bought a packet of seeds or been gifted some seeds from a friend, here are the answers to your questions about how, when and where to plant them. And the aftercare they need too.

  • Teddy Bear seeds
  • Teddy Bear seedlings
  • Young Teddy Bear sunflower plant

What the Teddy Bear Sunflower seeds, seedling, and young plant look like

When to Plant Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

You can start seeds off in pots inside in the middle of spring. Or when all fear of frost has gone, plant seeds straight into a well prepared, sunny growing site. So, let’s start with growing them indoors. Here’s what to do…

How to Grow Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds in Pots Inside

In the middle of spring, about 4 weeks before the last frost has gone, fill small clean pots with clean compost, or soil and plant 2 seeds per pot, ½ inch (1.5cm) deep in each pot.

Water well and keep the soil damp, but not drenched, place in a sunny place like a window sill, or greenhouse if you have one.

When the seedlings have their second set of leaves, ease the plants out of their pot and gently separate each plant at its root. Replant into individual pots, with more soil, and put them back in their sunny place, keeping them moist with water.

After hardening off your seedlings, and When all fear of frost has passed, plant on your Teddy Bear Sunflowers in a growing site that has as much sun during the day as possible.

Plant them into a well prepared, well-drained, weed-free growing site, or into larger pots. If the soil you have is poor, dig in some slow-release plant food, or add a little liquid fertilizer when you water them.

The distance between each plant should be about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60cm). This will give them room to grow and spread. This space lets the air circulate around each plant, giving it a chance to fight off diseases and giving good bugs room to get in and protect it for you.

Keep your Teddy Sunflowers well-watered, try not to let them dry out or stand in a puddle. As the flowers appear and die off, deadhead them to encourage new buds and flowers to appear.

How to Grow Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds Outside.

Teddy Bear Sunflowers need a sunny place to grow. Prepare your growing site a few weeks, or a month before you want to start planting.

This would be a good time to add any organic, or leaf mulch you’ve gathered and made throughout the winter months.

Sunflowers can put up with growing in bad quality soil, but if you feel it is still too poor, then dig in some slow-release fertilizer or feed liquid plant food once a week, or add a little to your watering can daily.

When all fear of frost has passed, sow 2 to 3 Teddy Bear Sunflower seeds, ½ inch (1.5cm) in each place you want to grow them.

Cover them over and water them in. protect them with netting or wire mesh to stop critters digging them up and feasting on them.

When your Teddy Bear Sunflower seedlings start to appear and have grown their second true leaves, leave the strongest in place and thin the rest out to about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60cm) apart.

Water them in, and if you feel your local wildlife might want to munch on them, protect them.

If you have too many sunflower seedlings leftover from thinning out, pot them up and gift them to family, friends, and neighbors.

How to Care for Your Teddy Bear Sunflower

Teddy Bear Sunflowers, as with many sunflowers can withstand a bit of drying out, but as a rule, I’d advise keeping them well watered.

Try to avoid overwatering and don’t leave them in a puddle of water. water gently at the base of the plant, so not to dislodge the soil around the roots.

Keep your sunflowers weed-free. Weeds will grow fast and suck all the water and nutrients away from your plants. If weeds are a big problem, use a mulch or weed prohibiter to keep in moisture, whilst keeping weeds at bay.

Watch out for pest and problems. Gather any creatures up as soon as you see them, such as cutworms, snails, slugs, and caterpillars, and put them in another area.

Protect your sunflowers from squirrels and other critters if they become a problem. Cut any diseased looking leaves and discard so it won’t spread to other plants.

Harvesting Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Teddy Bear sunflowers have fairly large blooms that attractive many pollinators. This means seeds should plentiful too. The seeds come after the bloom has died back, and are 2/8 inch (.5cm) long, dark grey to blackish in color, and ovoid shaped.

Image of this coming soon

Teddy Bear sunflower seeds are easy to collect. You’ll know they’re ready when they start to fall from the dead bloom, or birds start to munch on them.

Equipment Needed to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

  • Gardening gloves, as some seed heads can be quite rough to touch.
  • Sharp shears, secateurs or tough scissors.
  • A vessel big enough to catch the seeds and place the seed head in. A bucket, tub, tray or bowl.

With your vessel ready, firmly hold the flower head in your hand, cut the stalk behind the head to release it from the plant. place it in your vessel.

With your fingers and thumbs gently brush away any flower debris, such as dried petals and disc florets.

With a little more vigor start loosening the seeds out of their holdings. You can gently pluck out the seeds with your fingers too.

I usually collect the amount I need to plant the following year. I also collect enough to give as gifts for my family and friends too. The rest I happily leave for the birds and wildlife to munch on at their leisure.

How to Store Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Once you’ve removed any debris from the seeds such as plant matter, dried leaves, and stalk. Clean the seeds and air dry thoroughly.

Teddy Bear sunflower seeds can be stored in sealed paper bags, envelopes, sealed plastic bags, containers, or sealed tin.

Top Tip: Remember to write the name and date of your seeds on what you’re storing them in.

Store them in a dry place, away from the clutches of wildlife. And enjoy the fruits of your labor when you plant and grow them next year.

Take Away Teddy Bear Sunflower Planting Guide and Chart

Teddy Bear Sunflower take away planting guide and chart can be downloaded here

This is a summarized chart of how to sow, grow, and care for Teddy Bear sunflowers. Please note, this watermarked version is free to download. it is for your own personal use to print, pin or post. it is not for ….commercial gain or usage.

Teddy bear sunflowers attract bees, butterflies, birds and a multitude of other wildlife. They are beautiful cut and displayed in vases too.

If you’d like the seeds for yourself, or as a gift for a sunflower lover, then I’ve added the Amazon link below for you, along with the link to my accompanying unwatermaked planting guide…

Why Not Add My Teddy Bear Sunflower Guide
Without The Watermark

My Other Helpful Sunflower Guides and Articles

I’ve written many articles that will help you choose, sow and grow the most gorgeous sunflowers. There are quick and easy to use take away diagrams, guides, and charts for you to download, pin, post or print out. Here are the articles, I hope you find them helpful.

31 Most Wonderful Sunflowers. With Height Guide. Tried and Tested

Best Sunflower Companion Plants, Vegetables and Flowers

My Conclusion

I love the surprise on friends faces when they point and ask ‘what Plant is that little beauty’. To which I proudly answer ‘its a Teddy Bear Sunflower’. Some are taken aback that sunflowers come in many varieties, heights, and colors, as opposed to the iconic tall, big bloomed sunflower we’re all used to.

This lovely fluffy sunflower can be easily grown by anyone who has one pot, a yard or a field. They attract bees butterflies and can be companion planted too. The multi blooms will keep you supplied with cut flowers all summer for table displays, and the petals as a garnish too.

I hope you enjoy this little beautiful sunflower as much as I do.

Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds – (Helianthus annuus)

Teddy Bear Sunflower – What A Beauty!

Many double yellow mum-type flowers on branching plants up to 6′ tall, small black seed. A beautiful show piece for the garden or as a cut flower on the dining room table.

History

The wild sunflower is native to North America but commercialization of the plant took place in Russia. It was only recently that the sunflower plant returned to North America to become a cultivated crop. Sunflower was a common crop among American Indian tribes throughout North America. Evidence suggests that the plant was cultivated by Indians in present-day Arizona and New Mexico about 3000 BC. Some archaeologists suggest that sunflower may have been domesticated before corn.

Uses

Can be grown as an ornamental or used for edible seed or bird food. Ideal for children’s gardens, hedges or privacy screens.

The large, composite flowers are magnets for bees of all kinds, especially bumblebees, as well as attracting a myriad of pollinators into the garden, from different bees to butterflies and even hummingbirds.

Once the seeds mature, they bring in tiny finches and myriad other birds who delight in pulling the seeds out of the head and feeding on them one by one.

Sunflowers have one of the most aggressive root systems known, drilling down through hardpan or clay. We’ve used them as the first stage in cover cropping a new area, opening up the soil making it easier for the next cover crop mixture. They also work great to pulverize a hard spot in the raised beds or flower bed, making it perfect for next season.

Their roots have one of the most aggressive allelopathic effects on seed germination we’ve seen. The allelopathic effect inhibits other seeds from germinating in the same soil, and is one of the reasons when weeds pop up first – everything else has a hard time growing. Sunflowers are used to put the hurt on weed seeds.

Sunflowers make an excellent windbreak in our southwestern climate, we plant them on the south and west sides of the garden to slow down and filter the near-constant winds to something our tomatoes, peppers, and corn can handle.

The taller varieties provide shade for vegetables that appreciate some afternoon shade like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. We transplant the vegetables after the sunflowers are about 1 – 2 feet tall to avoid the seed germination inhibition.

Companion Planting

Sunflowers make good companion plants for cucumbers and melons – planted after the melons and cukes have sprouted to avoid the allelopathic effect. They provide shade, wind protection, and shelter for the vegetables.

Trap Cropping

Sunflowers make an excellent trap crop, attracting sucking insects like the stink bug and leaf-footed bug away from tomatoes and peppers. Learn more about what trap crops are and how to use them in our trap cropping article.

Growing Tip

Direct sow sunflower seeds from April through mid-June for spectacular flowers from mid-summer to late fall.

From the soil to the seed to the food you eat – we’ll help you grow your best garden!

What technique gives optimum sunflower vase life?

Recipes for vase life of cut flowers are as numerous as stew recipes. There are literally dozens of suggestions and testimonials about how sunflowers should be handled after cutting to assure long vase life.

Almost all growers agree that flowers are best when cut from plants that are not stressed. During the heat of summer it seems reasonable to assume that a stem cut from a plant will remain healthy longer if the plant is well hydrated at time of cutting.

Not only does this mean that it is ideal that the plant being cut have adequate soil moisture available, but it also means that it is best to cut sunflowers in the early morning before the leaves on the plant begin transpiring – or losing water. Remember on bright sunny days, the sunflower plants are photosynthesizing and the demand for water in the plant is at its maximum.

At SunflowerSelections.com we like to cut sunflowers in the early morning usually before 10 am. We avoid very cold water and very hot water. The best water temperature is 100 F to 110 F (37 C to 43 C). Generally we cut about 30 inches (75 cm) of stem and immediately place the cut end of the stems in water leaving the bucket in the shade of the plants while we continue cutting.

Once we are out of the field, we strip all of the leaves leaving a few leaves at the top of the stem to provide fullness in the final bouquet. It is important to remove the leaves on the stem because if they are immersed under water they easily rot and shorten the life of your flowers. Likewise, if you leave too many leaves on the top of the plant above the water they serve to dehydrate and wick moisture out of the stems. The stems can be re-cut and the flowers placed for 20-30 minutes in a clean water solution (0.02% v/v) of hydrating agents like either Tween-20 or Triton X-100. This treatment aids in preventing premature wilting of the flowers.

To extend the vase life of sunflower a number of commercial preservatives are available such as Chrysal Floral Preservative and Floralife Crystal Clear. Solutions made of these flower preservatives contain sugars for nutrition, bacteria fighting compounds, and slight acid in some form to acidify the water.

There are numerous homemade recipes that combine the same kinds of nutrients and might be useful. Three that you might want to test to make your own decision are given below:

Cut Flower Preservative Recipe #1

  • 2 cups lemon-lime carbonated beverage (e.g., Sprite™ or 7-Up™)
  • 1/2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach
  • 2 cups warm water

Cut Flower Preservative Recipe #2

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach
  • 1 quart warm water

Cut Flower Preservative Recipe #3

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon household chlorine bleach
  • 1 quart warm water

Finally, remember that your flowers appreciate a fresh, clean start every three days or so. Change the solution in your vase and re-cut the ends of the stems to promote longer vase life.

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