Last Updated on October 8, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Although dwarf sunflowers (Helianthusannuus) are smaller than their giant relatives, which can have flowers up to a foot in width, they still look great and can be grown easily in containers. There are some varieties that have additional features such as Helianthusannuus “Elf” with 4-inch flowers, which attract butterflies, and Helianthusannuus “Little Becka”, with 6-inch bicolor yellow and red flowers.
Light and Water for the Dwarf Sunflowers
Dwarf sunflowers, like their larger cousins, thrive in full sunlight. They require at least six hours of direct sun each day. Although sunflowers are drought-tolerant, container plants need to be watered more frequently than those in the ground. If your plants appear dry, you might be overwatering. Sunflowers require good drainage. If the problem persists after you reduce your watering, it’s time to repot the plant with a faster draining soil mixture.
If the soil is rich in nutrients, dwarf sunflowers won’t require a lot of fertilizer. You will need to fertilize them once a month with an all-purpose, balanced fertilizer. You can help your plants reach their full potential by feeding them monthly. Make sure to follow the instructions on the package so that you don’t overfeed your plants.
Pruning the Dwarf Sunflowers
Pruning is not necessary for dwarf sunflowers. However, your containers will look better if you trim any dead or browning leaves and remove any plants that are dying.
Pests and Disease
Dwarf sunflowers can be damaged by a variety of diseases and insects. Treat the plants for spots of powdery mildew or fungus on the leaves with a commercial, natural product that is designed to minimize environmental damage. Follow the instructions on the packaging. You can control any caterpillars and beetles that may be feeding on your sunflower leaves by either hand picking them or spraying commercial products as directed.
Because of their bright colors, dwarf sunflowers are great for cutting flowers indoors. Their compact flowers won’t droop like larger sunflowers. When the plants are freshest in the morning, cut the flowers and place them immediately in a container with water. After the flowers are inside, you can re-cut them as necessary, preferably under running water. Once they are inside, place them in a vase. To prolong the flower’s life, change the water every couple of days and re-cut stems.
Sunflower stems and leaves can cause skin irritation due to their prickly surfaces. To ensure your safety, wear gloves and long sleeves