Sunflowers are a well-loved flower, and teddy bears are beloved too, so it’s natural that the teddy bear sunflower should be renowned too!
There are quite a few different types of sunflowers with their own unique appearance, and the teddy bear sunflower is absolutely one you should know about.
Keep reading to learn all about this fun and popular sunflower!
Characteristics of the Teddy Bear Sunflower
The teddy bear sunflower has a very distinctive look that you just can’t miss. If it looks familiar, you may recognize it from Van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” paintings.
Where most sunflowers are known for the large, round center with individual yellow petals, this variety has small, abundant petals that make it appear thick and fluffy. This is where the teddy bear sunflower gets its name.
The teddy bear sunflower’s little petals are a bright, deep yellow color in a double bloom that can reach about 6 inches across. They made a perfect addition to cut flower bouquets with their gorgeous hue and unique texture, and the blooms typically last 4 to 6 weeks.
The petals are even edible, so they’re fun to use as a garnish or mixed into a colorful salad.
The plant itself is smaller and bushier than its relatives, usually reaching 2 to 3 feet tall whereas more traditional sunflower varieties can often grow as tall as 10 feet. It’s considered a branching dwarf variety because of its size and shape.
Grow Your Own Teddy Bear Sunflowers
Teddy bear sunflowers are a great addition to the garden with their beautiful bright yellow blooms.
They attract tons of pollinators, so they’re ideal for growing near other crops and veggies. Since they’re smaller than other sunflowers, they’re also perfect for gardeners who might not have the space for enormous sunflowers.
Best of all, they’re an easy and fast-growing flower. Beginners will love watching them sprout and open up, and gardening experts will never get tired of these low-maintenance but rewarding flowers.
Teddy bear sunflowers grow from mid-summer until the first frost. The biggest requirements are full sun and well-draining soil.
They can also be grown in pots, containers, and window boxes. The size of the container they grow in will determine how tall they get.
Make sure you collect seeds at the end of the season for next year, as they are annuals that will need replanting the following spring. Drying the spent flower heads to get to the seeds will give you an infinite supply to grow them again and again.
Sprouting Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds
Wait to get started until the final frost has passed in your area, or sprout your seeds inside and transplant them after the last frost when the ground is warm enough.
Prep the soil with a good amount of compost, about 6 to 8 inches on top of the soil. You probably won’t need fertilizer unless your soil is particularly devoid of nutrients.
Gently press a few seeds in each spot about half an inch into the soil. Thin out the weaker plants as they start to grow until individual plants are between a foot and a foot and a half apart.
Don’t overwater until the soil is soggy, but you should maintain moisture as the seeds sprout.
Nurturing Teddy Bear Sunflower Seedlings
Most sunflowers tolerate drought well, but it’s best to keep them from drying out as best you can.
Water your seedlings thoroughly and wait until the soil has a chance to dry before watering again. Water as close to the base of the plant as possible so the leaves and stalk stay dry.
Be diligent about weeding so your teddy bear sunflower seedlings don’t have to compete for nutrition.
Add mulch, but don’t let it pile up too much right around each plant or it will maintain too much moisture.
Your sunflowers are ready to harvest once the stalks reach at least a foot tall. Cut them just before the blooms open up to enjoy them for long as they finish blooming in the vase.
Problems to Monitor
While they are low-maintenance flowers, there are a few things you want to keep an eye out for.
Cutworms love sunflowers. Be diligent and check regularly to catch them early and remove any you find, making sure you dispose of them entirely.
If you have a true infestation, apply an insecticide. Pyrethrin will work best.
Weevils are also best treated with pyrethrin and can sometimes go after sunflowers.
If you see birds trying to snack on your teddy bear sunflower blooms, add bird netting to keep them protected.
Root rot is caused by overwatering, over-mulching, or soil that drains poorly. Avoid this problem and make sure the soil has a chance to dry out before you water it again so it isn’t constantly wet.
If you notice root rot, treat it with a fungicide and scale back your watering regimen going forward.
Where to Find Teddy Bear Sunflowers
Teddy bear sunflowers are a popular variety, so they aren’t usually hard to track down.
If you want to grow your own, Hoss Tools is a great place to get teddy bear sunflower seeds
Fresh-cut teddy bear sunflowers are less common than classic sunflowers, but you can probably still find them with a little searching.
Check your local grocery and hardware stores and specialty markets. They just might pop up in the flower section in the season.
Local farms are always a good place to check. Apple orchards and pumpkin patches will often also grow sunflowers.
Florists in your area are likely to have teddy bear sunflowers, and they can order them for you if they don’t have them in stock already.
Teddy Bear Sunflowers are a Unique and Fun Variety
It’s easy to love a flower named after a teddy bear that lives up to its name. Their golden fluffy blooms are just irresistible.
Growing teddy bear sunflowers or keeping bouquets with them in your home will bring a smile to your face every time you spot them.
You might think you know everything about sunflowers already, but there’s a lot more to learn on our Sunflower Page!