The Lifecycle of the Sunflower

shutterstock 1143037052 FloraQueen EN The Lifecycle of the Sunflower

The only flower with the word “flower” in its name, the sunflower, can bring light to any garden. The sunflower is known for several reasons, from snacks and oil to privacy. Isn’t it crazy to think this giant flower comes from one little seedling? There are five major stages the sunflower encounters to complete its life cycle. From seedling to death, discover the phases this flower endures.

All stages of life hold critical roles in every living thing. This is what you can expect to read in this article:

  • Seed Phase
  • Sprout Phase
  • Seedling Phase
  • Young Sunflower
  • Adult Sunflower

Several factors can determine the duration of life. Let’s continue reading to experience the life of a sunflower.

Seed Phase

When thinking of sunflower seeds, the first thing that comes to mind may be the delicious snack enjoyed by many. The sunflower seeds are full of nutrients we commonly don’t find in many fruits.  The outer wall of the shell is sometimes called the “fruit” of the grain. The actual seed lies on the inside of the shell.

To begin the planting process, you first must find a spot in your garden that receives the most amount of sun, hence the name sunflower. This plant needs as much sun as possible through its entire life span. A positive aspect of this seed is that it can tolerate many types of soil. The amount of nutrients in the seed allows this flower to adapt to any land it meets. It’s vital to keep the soil moist and ensure there is minimal shade. Once it begins to sprout, if the ground is too dry, it can quickly wilt away.

Sprout Phase

Now that the seed has been maintained, you may notice a small green sprout appear from the ground. The shoot is a determining factor that the plant has begun to germinate. This stage is only here for a short period. Some people prefer to eat the sprout. While it is not ideal, the shoot is no different from an alfalfa sprout. It is edible but ends the life cycle very quickly.

Seedling Phase

While this stage is essential, some might feel disappointed because the sunflower is not identifiable. Patience is a crucial role for the gardener; if flowers grew overnight, anyone could do it. This seedling began with a lot of sun, but now it is vital to keep a close eye to assure this plant does not dry out. To ensure the sunflower cannot dry out, keep the soil moist with daily watering unless there is rain. The stem is very fragile at this stage, so when watering, refrain from pouring directly onto the plant. Don’t worry; the stem gets much sturdier in the next phase.

The Young Sunflower

When the plant reaches a height of 8inches to 2 feet, it has entered the young adult phase. At the top of the stem, a bud has begun to form; this is the center of the flower. The early flower stage is also where the flower becomes more self-reliant and doesn’t need as much care. Unless the ground is arid, watering isn’t necessary. A cool feature about this phase is the bud begins to follow the sun. The flower leans from side to side to follow the sunrise and sunset; it needs as much sun as possible. Now don’t expect to see your flower swaying like a hula girl, but by the end of the day, you might notice the bulb facing the opposite direction.

Sunflowers are often considered to be smart, as they are the only flower that the bud turns back towards the east before the sun rises. The turning of the head is what scientists call plant instinct; however, not many plants are capable of this trait.

The Adult Sunflower

At the end of the young adult phase, the budding begins to bloom, which is the beginning of the adult phase. The adult phase is full of many essential aspects of nature. Pollination can sometimes start in the young adult phase; this depends on how much of the center of the flower is showing.

The yellow portion of the flower is often mistaken as the petals but is made up of tiny little flower heads. Having multiple flower heads is not a common trait in most plants. The center of the head is where all the seeds of the flower are grown through pollination.

Once the blooming phase is complete, the sunflower no longer follows the sun. The stem has become too stiff for too much movement; this allows the flower to stay upright no matter how tall it may grow. The seeds eventually reach full development, and they then must be harvested or protected from birds and other pests.


From the seed to the bloom, the sunflower is truly something to admire. These flowers often stand taller than most people. The seed is found on the inside of the black shell, which is used as a protective layer. Once planted, the seed needs some care to develop into the sprouting phase. Be sure not to forget to plant the seed in a very sunny area, to allow the seed all the sun it needs. After sprouting, it is imperative to watch over the shoot to assure the sprout doesn’t dry out. The sun can be damaging at this phase if the ground is not kept moist. Then the shoot becomes a seedling; this is a very fragile stage for the plant. Next, the seedling stem gets stronger and taller, while a bud begins to appear.

The flower then enters the young adult stage where it follows the sun very closely. The plant begins to grow and tower over the garden and soon is an adult. When entering the adult stage, the head blooms with many tiny flowers that make up the yellow portion of the head. The sunflower is now fully grown and stronger than ever. Remember to watch out for birds and other pests to assure a long life for your beautiful flower.

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