When to Plant Sunflowers in Tennessee for a Beautiful Bloom

Written by

William Golder


Dorian Goodwin

when to plant sunflowers in tennessee

People grow sunflowers in Tennessee for many reasons. Aside from their impressive beauty, sunflowers are useful as livestock feed, biodiesel, and as seeds and oil for human consumption.

If you’re unsure when to plant sunflowers in Tennessee, April 15 to May 15 would make for the best dates, especially if you’re growing them in your food plot for doves. Read below for additional tips on cultivating these warm-season plants.

Best Time to Plant Sunflowers in Tennessee


The best time of year to plant sunflower fields in Tennessee is in the spring, as this season’s warm weather allows sunflowers to establish well before flowering. In practice, you should sow seeds when the soil temperature measures at least 50℉.

  • Ideally, Tennessee’s planting season must begin after the last frost for those who direct-sow seeds outdoors.
  • But if you want to garden earlier, grow sunflowers from sunflower seeds indoors four weeks before the final frost. Once the seedlings have two to three sets of leaves, start moving them outside.

Note that the weather should be frost-free as you do this, considering sunflowers do not handle extreme temperatures well.

  • Another tip to keep in mind is to plant sunflower seeds in biodegradable containers, which will minimize root disturbance during transplanting.
  • If you want sunflowers to bloom in the fall, start them early enough so that they mature before the first frost. These plants typically grow in 70 to 95 days, but I recommend checking your variety’s seed package to be sure.

We have also listed the last and first frosts for some locations in Tennessee below. Look up your frost estimates and do some calculations to determine what month to plant sunflowers.

Given that Tennessee has its final frost around March 28 to April 30, April and May will be the best months for spring planting outdoors.

As for fall blooms, they tend to last up until September, so you should finish planting sunflowers by June or July.

Location Average last frost Average first frost
Athens April 14 October 26
Clarksville April 10 October 27
Dickson April 20 October 20
Henderson April 17 October 20
Memphis March 24 November 9
Nashville April 7 October 25
Tullahoma April 13 October 25

Tips for Growing Sunflowers Successfully in Tennessee

1. Select the right planting location and care for the sunflowers properly


Sunflowers prefer well-drained soil with a pH of 6 to 7.5 and six to eight hours of direct light per day. If gardening indoors, grow sunflowers in pots with compost and put them next to a window where sunshine can filter through.

Halfway through the growing season, feed the plants with a granular 6-12-12 fertilizer. Avoid wetting the stems while doing this step to prevent fungal diseases, and give the soil an inch of water per week to encourage faster growth.

2. Pay attention to the spacing and planting depth.


Sow sunflower seeds 1 to 1.5 inches deep into the soil. Single-stem sunflowers like Procut and Double Quick Orange should be 6 to 12 inches apart, with the latter spacing being more desirable if you want huge blooms.

On the other hand, branching sunflowers like Soraya and Chocolate will need 18 inches of clearance to spread well. These varieties also produce multiple blooms from one seed, unlike their single-stem counterparts, which only have one flower head per seed.

3. Provide support for sunflowers over three feet tall.

This measure is vital if you’re growing multi-branch sunflowers in a place with strong winds. In this case, tie the plants down using soft cloths with bamboo stakes and install a fence to keep the stems from breaking or drooping down.

4. Protect sunflowers from animals

Birds, deer, and other animals may damage your sunflowers before you can collect them. To prevent this problem, cover the flowers with garden fleece and install a wire barrier to keep wildlife from accessing your crops.


All in all, spring is the answer when it comes to the question of when to plant sunflowers in Tennessee. Whether you’re cultivating sunflowers for food or decoration, we hope you find this article informative.

Thank you for reading, and have fun gardening!

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