Sunflowers are a pretty, favorite plant for many gardeners, and their popularity often sparks the question, “What different types of soil will make the sunflower grow the fastest?” As it turns out, while these beneficial plants can grow in almost any soil, they have a preference for rich, organic earth. Let's find out more about how to provide sunflowers with the soil they love.

Best Soil for Sunflowers

While sunflowers can thrive in a range of soil types from sandy to clay, the downside of sandy soils is the risk of the plant being uprooted easily because of the loose soil. Rich soil is the best type of soil for the highest yield and fastest growth of sunflowers.

In addition, the soil needs to be well-drained (poor drainage inhibits growth) and can be improved even further with yearly applications of manure or compost dug into to about two to three feet.

Yearly applications of mulch offer better moisture retention and are another way to improve the soil quality to achieve the rich earth that sunflowers crave. Semi-loose, friable soil encourages sunflower growth while compacted soil inhibits it, so cultivate the soil well when adding compost or manure.

A key growth component for sunflowers is adequate supply of nitrogen. Typically, a feeding with a good fertilizer like Miracle-Gro® every two weeks takes care of the plant’s nitrogen needs. However, be sure to apply the fertilizer around the bottom of the plant; do not splash or spread it on the plant itself.

About Sunflowers

Sunflowers are annual plants (one season lifespan) in the Asteraceae family. Contrary to a popular belief, the sunflower head is not a single flower but rather a conglomerate of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined by a single stem.

They are popular plants because of their short growing season—just 70 to 90 days—beautiful blooms, and edible seeds. In addition to being a delicious snack, they are used for snack foods, bird and livestock feed, edible oils and flours, and silage (forage) crops.

A signature characteristic of sunflowers is heliotropism; the head follows the sun.Sunflowers are one of four Native American plants, and because they are so easy to grow, they are a favorite plant for all ages.

Optimal Growth Environments

Start sunflowers by sowing them directly in the soil and not starting them indoors to prevent stunting the growth of the stem or taproot. Seeds will germinate in soils temperatures as low as 39 degrees Fahrenheit but the best germination temperatures are in the 46 to 40 degree range.

Depending on the geographic location, they can be a one or two season crop. They have a low tolerance for salt and a medium tolerance for drought. Six hours of direct sunlight and temperatures of 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit are best for good yields.

Tips For Growing Sunflowers

Gardening Tips

Sunflowers grow fastest and best in rich, well-drained soil full of organic matter. They require lots of sunlight and an adequate supply of nitrogen to thrive.

While sunflowers are hardy plants, they are susceptible to the following: Powdery mildew, leaf spot, verticilium wilt, rust, sclerotinia head and stem rot, and phoma black stem.

Growing sunflowers is an excellent way to introduce children to gardening. The seeds germinate and mature quickly, which is a plus when working with children. As a bonus, they can eat their harvest, and sunflowers are rich in nutrition. Now that you know the answer to the question, "What different types of soil will make the sunflower grow the fastest?' why not plan on adding some to your garden or landscaping plans this year?