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How Often To Water Sunflowers? [Watering Schedule]

Helianthus or Sunflowers are sun-loving plants requiring frequent watering. But do not provide water plants unnecessarily only to let them die through overwatering. 

Water your Sunflowers when the top inch of soil feels dry; usually 3-5 days in spring and summer and 2-3 days when the weather gets too hot or dry, and cut back to once in two weeks or to half amount in fall and winter.

Otherwise, your Sunflower will exhibit sickly signs that may indicate water problems.

Grab a complete guide to how often to water Sunflowers and every possible sign to treat a water-stressed plant.

Signs Your Sunflower Has Watering Issues

These bloomers require moist soil to maintain nutrient intake and growth; lack or excess of it can lead to water stress.

Excess moisture will choke the roots, cutting the supply of oxygen and water to the flower and leaves.

On the other side,  the drought stress will decrease the Sunflower’s water potential and cell expansion.

In any case, you will witness many physical signs, which become more prominent with increased damage.

1. Wilting Plant

Is your Sunflower leaves and stems limping and droopy, or the entire plant is wilting?

The chances are it is either not receiving enough water or severely waterlogged.

Drought stress and overwatering can impact Sunflowers’ health, leading to wilting appearance.

The Sunflower is growing in a garden along with other plants but are weak and bent towards the ground.
The leaves of Sunflowers start wilting due to excess or lack of moisture around the roots.

Waterlogged roots will fail to intake oxygen and nutrients essential to make plant food, while drought will lead to excess transpiration and death of plant tissues.

Remember, the wilting Sunflower will also appear soft and flaccid as the plant cells lose water and lose turgor.

2. Yellowing Leaves

The yellowing of Sunflower leaves indicates aging and stress, whereas the latter is more common.

A water-stressed plant experiences a reduction in water availability, which causes Sunflowers to undergo several physiological and metabolic changes that lead to the yellowing of leaves.

Sometimes, severely water-stressed Sunflowers undergo a process called leaf senescence, which is the programmed death of leaves.

As the leaves die, they turn yellow and eventually fall off the plant.

Similarly, drought-stress plants will experience chlorophyll degradation and reduced photosynthesis, leading to leaf chlorosis. It is because the plant is breaking down chlorophyll to conserve water.

3. Stunted Growth

When a Sunflower plant is waterlogged or deprived of it, its growth and development are severely affected, leading to physiological and metabolic changes.

 Sunflowers cannot carry out these processes efficiently, reducing growth and development, and may not develop as many leaves, flowers, or seeds as they usually would.

Therefore, expect to see them grow more slowly or become stunted, along with other symptoms such as leaf wilting, leaf curling, and yellowing of leaves.

4. Leaf Curling

Sunflower leaves may begin to curl or roll up as a protective mechanism to help reduce water loss by reducing the leaf’s surface area.

The wrong watering can trigger hormonal changes in Sunflowers, leading to the closure of stomata (tiny pores on leaves) and sometimes the accumulation of abscisic acid (ABA), a hormone that helps regulate water balance.

Expect to witness upward or downward curling of leaves, twisted appearance, and sometimes cupping (leaves curl up to create a cup-like shape).

5. Blossom Drop and Fading Blooms

Yes, it is common for Sunflowers to experience blossom drop, a premature falling off of flower buds or blossoms from inappropriate watering.

Overwatering can create a moist environment that promotes the growth of fungal diseases, such as Botrytis cinerea or gray mold.

It can often lead to root damage or rot, which affects the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients, leading to blossom drop.

On the other hand, a dehydrated Sunflower may drop its flower buds to conserve water and prioritize survival over blossoms.

Similarly, an overwatered or underwatered Sunflower will likely lose vigor, and the flower heads may appear faded or discolored.

6. Brown and Crispy Leaves

Seeing browned and crispy leaves on Sunflowers is expected when they are severely deprived of water.

The excess transpiration of leaves will invite browning tips and dry or brittle leaf appearance as they fail to photosynthesize.

Overwatering can sometimes invite browned, crispy leaves, damaging the root through waterlogged soil.

The moist environment promotes fungal growth, damaging the root and affecting water, oxygen, and nutrient intake.

As a result, the Sunflower leaves will begin to lose water and appear brittle with browning tips and spots.

7. Delayed Maturity

Sunflowers experiencing water stress may take longer to mature and reach full size.

Overwatering can lead to “wet feet,” where the plant roots are constantly saturated in water, leading to root rot.

As a result, the plant’s growth can be slowed, and it may take longer to reach maturity.

A potted sunflower
The wrong moisture levels can stunt the growth of Sunflowers permanently.

On the other hand, under-watering the plant will trigger its survival mode, which focuses on surviving rather than growth.

Sunflowers have tell-tale signs of delayed maturity, including tiny or failed blossoms, small leaves, and short stems.

How Much Water Do Sunflowers Need? (Per Week)

Sunflowers are not a single routine-fits-all plant, especially when it comes to watering.

The amount of water Sunflowers may depend on several factors, including the type of Sunflower, the stage of growth, the soil type, and the weather conditions.

Here are some basic guidelines for watering your Sunflower.

TypeWatering Schedule
Potted SunflowerProvide 1 inch (25 mm) of water per week in spring and summer.

Cut back to fortnight in fall and winter.
Dwarf Indoor TypesProvide 1 inch of water per week or every 8-10 days in spring and summer.

Cut back to once in two weeks in fall and winter.
Garden SunflowersOn average, they need at least 2 gallons of water each week.

Water deeply twice every week in spring and summer.

Water deeply once every 10-14 days in winter.
SeedlingMisting the soil surface with a spray bottle or lightly watering daily until the seeds have germinated.

Transplant the seedlings once they reach 30 cm (12 in) and water once or twice each week.

As mentioned, be mindful of the weather conditions, temperature, and rainfall before watering your bloomers.

  • In spring and summer, garden-grown Sunflowers should be watered deeply once or twice a week.
  • Check the soil moisture and water every 2-3 days in summer when the temperature exceeds 90°F.
  • During monsoon, when the rain is frequent, resume irrigation only if the top 6 inches of soil dries out.
  • Generally, you should water Sunflowers once every 1-2 weeks in fall and winter as they experience dormancy.
  • For potted and indoor Sunflowers, schedule to water once a week in spring and summer and every two weeks in fall and winter.

Pro Tip: Watering early in the day allows Sunflowers to absorb moisture before the day’s heat evaporates and ensures the soil is moist to a depth of 6-8 inches.

How to Water Sunflower?

Saving a water-stressed Sunflower often requires correcting the watering frequency and technique.

Some popular methods to water Sunflowers include:

1. Using a Watering Can

  • This method is ideal for potted and indoor dwarf Sunflowers or small garden plots.
  • Fill a watering can with water and slowly pour it around the base of the Sunflowers.
  • Ensure to saturate the soil until the excess runs out of the drainage holes.

2. Self-watering Containers

  • The self-watering containers have a water reservoir that slowly releases water into the soil.
  • They are great for potted Sunflowers and require less frequent watering.

3. Drip irrigation Method

  • This efficient method reduces water waste, especially for garden Sunflowers.
  • Use a hose or tubing with tiny holes to drip water directly onto the soil around the Sunflowers.
  • Set up automatic drip irrigation in your garden to maintain the watering schedule.

4. Soaker Hose Method

  • A soaker hose has tiny pores that allow water to seep out gradually, which is especially useful for commercial plots.
  • Lay the hose along the base of the Sunflowers and let it slowly release water into the soil.
  • Keep the soaker hose at least 1-2 inches from the base of established Sunflowers.

5. Using a Sprinkler

  • Sprinklers help water large garden plots, usually commercial Sunflower farming.
  • It distributes water evenly over a wide area quickly, which is helpful in summer or hot temperatures.
  • You can program the sprinkler to maintain watering based on the weather or time of the day.

From Editorial Team


Sometimes, your Sunflowers will wilt, turn yellow, or experience slowed growth because of other problems.

Other factors, nutrient deficiencies, pest infestations, and disease, can also cause these symptoms.

It is also important not to mistake overwatering for underwatering, where overwatering primarily exhibits yellowing leaves, wilting, and root rot over other symptoms.