Teddy Bear Sunflower, How to Sow, Grow and Care for – Images and Guide

Sunflower Varieties /

If you feel that giant sunflowers aren’t quite what you want in your yard, or you only have pots, and still want to grow sunflowers, then the teddy bear could be the dwarf sunflower that’s ideal for you.

I love growing these fluffy, bright blooms. They always put a smile on my face and are easy to grow.  

So, what is the teddy bear sunflower? The Teddy Bear sunflower is an annual dwarf variety that grows 2 to 3 feet (60 to 75 cm) tall. It has multi blooms that are bright, golden yellow and fluffy pom pom like flowers, they are 5 inches (12cm) in diameter. Teddy Bears are ideal for middle or border planting, growing in pots and cutting. 

Whether you have one pot, borders, beds or would like to grow a companion plant in your vegetable patch, the Teddy Bear Sunflower will delight everyone that sees it. It’s bright, cheerful and easy to grow.

Scientific Name and Classification of Teddy Bear Sunflower

Kingdom: Plantae > Phylum: Magnoliophyta > Class: Magnoliopsida > Subclass; Asteridae > Order: Asterales > Family: Asteraceae > Genus: Helianthus > Subject: Helianthus annuus. Teddy Bear L.

Botanical Name

Helianthus Annuus ‘Teddy Bear’ Family Asteraceae

Common Name

Teddy Bear Sunflower

What The Teddy Bear Sunflower looks like 

Teddy Bear Sunflowers are fast-growing. They have a single thick stem that grows 2 to 3 feet (60 to 75cm) tall. They have large, dark green, heart-shaped, or ovate leaves. These leaves are strong and smooth to the touch.

From the single stem grows many sunflower buds and blooms. The blooms are 5 inches (18cms) in diameter are golden yellow and look like big fluffy pom poms. Pollinators are drawn to these glorious flowers that keep producing throughout the summer months. 

teddy bear sunflower plant
a teddy bear sunflower in all its glory

A Teddy Bear sunflower in all its growing glory

Here’s all the information about this wonderful little gem. Whats its uses are, how to sow, grow and care for them, and how to harvest and store the seeds.

Where to Place Teddy Bear Sunflowers and Their Uses

Teddy Bear Sunflowers start producing flowers about 8 weeks after the seeds have been planted. They attract bees and butterflies all throughout the summer and are ideal for companion planting with other flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

Teddy bear sunflowers in a vase

Place Teddy Bear Sunflowers in the middle or edge of your borders, or in pots for your balcony, decking, patio or conservatory. The flowers are showy and can be cut for display. Cut the flower just as it’s opening. This will encourage new buds and flowers to grow.

The Petals are edible too. Gather them up, wash them gently and leave them to dry. Sprinkle on salads or place them as added decoration on sweet cakes and icing. 

Pick Your Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

If I’ve enticed you into liking the idea of growing Teddy Bear sunflowers, and you can’t find the seeds locally, I’ve found them for you on amazon.

Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Knowing we can get the seeds for sowing, let’s get growing.

Gardening Terms

Let’s start with a few basic gardening terms and what they mean for the Teddy Bear Sunflower.

  • Half-Hardy Annual. Half-Hardy means the Teddy Bear Sunflower cannot withstand cold weather, so must be sown indoors when it is still warm, or outside when the fear of frost has passed. Annual means it will grow and live for one year only.  
  • Potting On. To divide seedlings or plants that have outgrown their pots, into their own pots, or bigger pots so they have further room to grow and mature.
  • Thinning out. If a number of seedlings are growing in the same growing site, and are too close together, remove the other plants and space them out accordingly, to give more room to grow.
  • Hardening Off. Two weeks before the danger of frost has gone, gradually accustom seedlings that have been grown indoors to the outside world. Do this by placing them out each day for a few hours, then bring them in at night. For the second week increase the hours spent outside, until they are out all night and ready to be planted out.
  • Planting Out. Planting seedlings or plants in their growing sites. Tender seedlings need to be hardened off before planting out.
  • Dead Heading. The Teddy Bear sunflower grows multiple heads throughout the season. Removing the deadheads encourages new buds and flowers to grow.
  • Companion Planting. Sunflowers can be planted alongside other flowers, herbs, and vegetables. This helps to attract pollinators and good bugs to help prevent infestations and diseases. I’ve written an article about companion plants, and what not to plant next to sunflowers. I hope you find it helpful.  

How to Grow Teddy Bear Sunflowers

As with most sunflowers, Teddy Bear Sunflowers are easy to grow. So whether you have bought a packet of seeds or been gifted some seeds from a friend, here are the answers to your questions about how, when and where to plant them. And the aftercare they need too.

What the Teddy Bear Sunflower seeds, seedling, and young plant look like

When to Plant Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

You can start seeds off in pots inside in the middle of spring. Or when all fear of frost has gone, plant seeds straight into a well prepared, sunny growing site. So, let’s start with growing them indoors. Here’s what to do… 

How to Grow Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds in Pots Inside

In the middle of spring, about 4 weeks before the last frost has gone, fill small clean pots with clean compost, or soil and plant 2 seeds per pot, ½ inch (1.5cm) deep in each pot.

Water well and keep the soil damp, but not drenched, place in a sunny place like a window sill, or greenhouse if you have one.

When the seedlings have their second set of leaves, ease the plants out of their pot and gently separate each plant at its root. Replant into individual pots, with more soil, and put them back in their sunny place, keeping them moist with water.

After hardening off your seedlings, and When all fear of frost has passed, plant on your Teddy Bear Sunflowers in a growing site that has as much sun during the day as possible. 

Plant them into a well prepared, well-drained, weed-free growing site, or into larger pots. If the soil you have is poor, dig in some slow-release plant food, or add a little liquid fertilizer when you water them. 

The distance between each plant should be about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60cm). This will give them room to grow and spread. This space lets the air circulate around each plant, giving it a chance to fight off diseases and giving good bugs room to get in and protect it for you.

Keep your Teddy Sunflowers well-watered, try not to let them dry out or stand in a puddle. As the flowers appear and die off, deadhead them to encourage new buds and flowers to appear.

How to Grow Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds Outside.

Teddy Bear Sunflowers need a sunny place to grow.  Prepare your growing site a few weeks, or a month before you want to start planting.

This would be a good time to add any organic, or leaf mulch you’ve gathered and made throughout the winter months. 

Sunflowers can put up with growing in bad quality soil, but if you feel it is still too poor, then dig in some slow-release fertilizer or feed liquid plant food once a week, or add a little to your watering can daily.

When all fear of frost has passed, sow 2 to 3 Teddy Bear Sunflower seeds, ½ inch (1.5cm) in each place you want to grow them.

Cover them over and water them in. protect them with netting or wire mesh to stop critters digging them up and feasting on them.

When your Teddy Bear Sunflower seedlings start to appear and have grown their second true leaves, leave the strongest in place and thin the rest out to about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60cm) apart.

Water them in, and if you feel your local wildlife might want to munch on them, protect them.

If you have too many sunflower seedlings leftover from thinning out, pot them up and gift them to family, friends, and neighbors. 

How to Care for Your Teddy Bear Sunflower

Teddy Bear Sunflowers, as with many sunflowers can withstand a bit of drying out, but as a rule, I’d advise keeping them well watered.

Try to avoid overwatering and don’t leave them in a puddle of water. water gently at the base of the plant, so not to dislodge the soil around the roots.

Keep your sunflowers weed-free. Weeds will grow fast and suck all the water and nutrients away from your plants. If weeds are a big problem, use a mulch or weed prohibiter to keep in moisture, whilst keeping weeds at bay.

Watch out for pest and problems. Gather any creatures up as soon as you see them, such as cutworms, snails, slugs, and caterpillars, and put them in another area.

Protect your sunflowers from squirrels and other critters if they become a problem. Cut any diseased looking leaves and discard so it won’t spread to other plants.

Harvesting Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Teddy Bear sunflowers have fairly large blooms that attractive many pollinators. This means seeds should plentiful too. The seeds come after the bloom has died back, and are 2/8 inch (.5cm) long, dark grey to blackish in color, and ovoid shaped.

Image of this coming soon

Teddy Bear sunflower seeds are easy to collect. You’ll know they’re ready when they start to fall from the dead bloom, or birds start to munch on them.

Equipment Needed to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

  • Gardening gloves, as some seed heads can be quite rough to touch.
  • Sharp shears, secateurs or tough scissors.
  • A vessel big enough to catch the seeds and place the seed head in. A bucket, tub, tray or bowl.

With your vessel ready, firmly hold the flower head in your hand, cut the stalk behind the head to release it from the plant. place it in your vessel.

With your fingers and thumbs gently brush away any flower debris, such as dried petals and disc florets.

With a little more vigor start loosening the seeds out of their holdings. You can gently pluck out the seeds with your fingers too. 

I usually collect the amount I need to plant the following year. I also collect enough to give as gifts for my family and friends too. The rest I happily leave for the birds and wildlife to munch on at their leisure.

How to Store Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Once you’ve removed any debris from the seeds such as plant matter, dried leaves, and stalk. Clean the seeds and air dry thoroughly.

Teddy Bear sunflower seeds can be stored in sealed paper bags, envelopes, sealed plastic bags, containers, or sealed tin.

Top Tip: Remember to write the name and date of your seeds on what you’re storing them in.

Store them in a dry place, away from the clutches of wildlife. And enjoy the fruits of your labor when you plant and grow them next year. 

Take Away Teddy Bear Sunflower Planting Guide and Chart

teddy bear sunflower copyright version - (Featured)

Teddy Bear Sunflower take away planting guide and chart can be downloaded here

This is a summarized chart of how to sow, grow, and care for Teddy Bear sunflowers. Please note, this watermarked version is free to download. it is for your own personal use to print, pin or post. it is not for ….commercial gain or usage.

Pick Your Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Teddy bear sunflowers attract bees, butterflies, birds and a multitude of other wildlife. They are beautiful cut and displayed in vases too.

If you’d like the seeds for yourself, or as a gift for a sunflower lover, then I’ve added the Amazon link below for you, along with the link to my accompanying unwatermaked planting guide…

Teddy Bear Sunflower Seeds

Why Not Add My Teddy Bear Sunflower Guide
Without The Watermark

My Other Helpful Sunflower Guides and Articles

I’ve written many articles that will help you choose, sow and grow the most gorgeous sunflowers. There are quick and easy to use take away diagrams, guides, and charts for you to download, pin, post or print out. Here are the articles, I hope you find them helpful. 

31 Most Wonderful Sunflowers. With Height Guide. Tried and Tested

How to Grow Amazing Sunflowers

Do Sunflowers Need a Lot of Water

Why are Sunflowers Drooping, Falling Over or Wilting

Best Sunflower Companion Plants, Vegetables and Flowers

My Conclusion

I love the surprise on friends faces when they point and ask ‘what Plant is that little beauty’. To which I proudly answer ‘its a Teddy Bear Sunflower’. Some are taken aback that sunflowers come in many varieties, heights, and colors, as opposed to the iconic tall, big bloomed sunflower we’re all used to.

This lovely fluffy sunflower can be easily grown by anyone who has one pot, a yard or a field. They attract bees butterflies and can be companion planted too. The multi blooms will keep you supplied with cut flowers all summer for table displays, and the petals as a garnish too.

I hope you enjoy this little beautiful sunflower as much as I do.

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