How To Deadhead Sunflowers (And Should You)

If you’ve been growing sunflowers for the last few weeks, then you may be wondering how to deadhead them! Well, in some cases, it might not even be necessary to do so! In this article, not only will you find out how to deadhead sunflowers, but you’ll also learn the benefits, when to do it, and when you shouldn’t do it as well!

So keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Should You Deadhead Sunflowers?

Before you deadhead your sunflower, you should consider if it’s even worth it or not! To decide whether you should deadhead sunflowers or not, consider the following:

Do you want to keep the flowering season as long as possible, or do you want to collect the seeds? If you want to continue the flowering season, then you should deadhead your sunflower; however, if you just want to collect the seeds, then you can leave it!

How To Deadhead Sunflowers?

So if you’ve decided you want to deadhead sunflowers, then you should do the following:

Sanitize Your Tools

Before anything, you should start by sanitizing your tools. Obviously, you want to extend your sunflower’s life for as long as possible, so the last thing you want to do is accidentally introduce bacteria.

You should use isopropyl alcohol or a household cleaner like pine sol. Once you’ve applied them to your tools, let them air dry.

Find The First Set Of Leaves

Now that you’re ready to deadhead your sunflower, you should work your way down the stem until you find the first set of leaves. When you find these leaves, this is the area you’re going to need to cut.

If your sunflower has multiple heads, you should follow each individual stem that you want to cut.

big sunflower in the field and sky

Cut The Flower

Now it’s time to cut the flower at the stem. To do this, make an angled cut below the flower about half an inch up from the first set of leaves. You should try to angle the stem so that it ends up pointing directly towards the sky, giving the sunflower the best chance of growth.

What Are The Benefits Of Deadheading Sunflowers?

There are actually a few reasons that deadheading sunflowers is beneficial, and you should consider doing it!

Here are the main reasons:

More Sunflowers Will Grow

First of all, you’re increasing the chance that more sunflowers will grow. When a sunflower head dies, if it’s not cut off, that’s the end of the plant’s life. However, if you cut the head off, then you increase the chance of new growth. This is because the sunflower can use the energy for new heads.

It Will Deter Animals

Secondly, a lot of animals are attracted to the seeds in sunflowers once they’ve become mature. By removing the heads, you’re going to make your sunflowers a lot more unappealing.

You’ll Extend The Life Of The Sunflower

By removing the head and allowing new heads to flower, you’re going to be extending the life of the sunflower as well! And if you’re lucky, you’ll even see brand new heads appearing.

When Should You Deadhead Sunflowers?

If you’re not sure when the ideal time to deadhead sunflowers is, then you should consider the following:

  • The sunflower is losing petals.
  • When the head is starting to sag heavily.
  • The head has become dull and lost vibrancy.
  • It no longer looks attractive in your garden.

Is Pinching The Same As Deadheading?

Pinching and deadheading are not the same things. Pinching occurs before the flower has bloomed and gives the opportunity for multiple flowers to bloom. In contrast, deadheading occurs after when you want to remove a flower head that is spent.


Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about deadheading their sunflowers.

Should You Deadhead Small Sunflowers?

If the sunflower has started to wilt and lose its attractive qualities, then it’s time to deadhead it, regardless of the size. Unless, of course, you want to harvest the seed, then you should continue to let it wilt.

Should You Deadhead Potted Sunflowers

Again, even if a sunflower is potted, the moment you think the head has been spent is the time that you should deadhead it unless you plan on harvesting the seeds.


As you can see, if you want to harvest your sunflower, then you should only deadhead them once they’ve completely wilted. However, if you want to extend the lifespan of your sunflower, you should deadhead them just as they’re beginning to wilt.

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website! Otherwise, have a great day!

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