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growing sunflower

Key Growth Stages of Sunflower

Optimise Your Crop Yields

The 5 key growth stages of sunflowers for optimimal crop yields.

Sunflowers are valued as one of the world’s leading oilseed crops and known for its healthy oil profile. In addition to strong marketing potential, sunflowers are a resilient crop that when properly managed can provide strong returns on your farm. 


The 5 key stages of sunflower

key stages sunflower


1. Germination and Emergence 

  • Sunflowers require a soil temperature of 8°C for germination    

  • Seeds need sufficiently fine and moist soil around the seed  

  • Sowing depth of 2 to 3cm 

emergence stage sunflower


2. Vegetative Phase  

  • Development of the aerial part of the taproot    

  • At the 8-leaf stage there is the initiation of the floral primordia    

  • Plants have a need for large amount of nutrients 

vegetative phase sunflower

3. Flower Bud    

  • The number of ovules is final at the 1 cm bud stage    

  • The leaf area and the root system are almost at the maximum size 

  • This is a phase of high growth – plant will be sensitive to lack of water or nitrogen    

  • Caution, excess nitrogen will increase the leaf area. This will increase the water consumption and potentially the risk disease development. 

flower bud sunflower

4. Flowering    

  • Each plant will flower for 8 to 10 days    

  • During flowering plants are sensitive to contamination by Sclerotinia capitulum    

  • At this stage plants are sensitive to water stress – can impact cause yield losses of 30 to 35% 

flowering sunflower

5. Maturing    

  • Seed filling phase 

  • Active synthesis of the fatty acids    

  • Physiological maturity is reached when the seeds reach 28% moisture 

sunflower maturity



To get more details about the key growth stages of sunflower, click here!


Sunflower Grain

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