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How to plant a champion sunflower

Get set and grow a prize-winning sunflower this Summer with our top planting tips from Rosebourne Garden centre

It’s a simple contest – but be warned – it can get very competitive. In 2020, young Prince George was famously very grumpy after losing out to his little brother Louis in the Cambridge family sunflower planting competition. All good nature-y fun of course. And a good way to get the youngsters (and oldies!) out in the garden, too. Especially if there’s a sneaky ice cream/Pimms in it for the workers afterwards…

Child watering can boy gardening

With plenty of good weather in the forecast, we spoke to the experts at Rosebourne Garden Centre who assured us it’s not too late to plant your sunflowers in the ground or in pots. Handily, they’ve also given us a step-by-step guide on how to grow a sunflower – that could turn out to be a whopper. Hopefully, poor old George will have more luck this year… Ready everyone? Get set, grow!

What you’ll need

  • Pack of sunflower seeds
  • Small plant pots
  • Bamboo cane
  • Garden string
  • Multi-purpose compost

How to plant a sunflower – step by step

1/Fill your small pots with compost.

2/Plant a seed in each pot and give it a watering. Put your pot onto a window sill and water it once the seed sprouts so the compost stays damp.

3/As your sunflower grows, tie the stem of the sunflower loosely to the bamboo cane with your garden string to support your plants.

4/Dig a hole in your garden for your sunflower. Ideally dig it next to a wall or fence that gets lots of sun.

5/Squeeze your sunflower and the compost it’s growing in out of your pot, and plant it in the hole you’ve dug. Put a bamboo cane next to your sunflower, and give your sunflower a good watering.

6/As your sunflower grows, make sure you tie the stem to the bamboo cane loosely with garden string. Try tying it using a ‘figure-of-eight’ knot as this will reduce any rubbing on the stem.

7/Grown a beauty? Make it even more fun. When your sunflower appears, gently tease out the seed heads to make a fantastic sunny smiling face.

For more ideas on fun activities with children during National Children’s Gardening Week, visit

Find more ideas here


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