If you love sunflowers but you lack the space for gigantic plants with plate-size blooms, teddy bear sunflower may be the perfect answer. Sunflower ‘Teddy Bear’ is a short, bushy plant with fluffy, golden-yellow blooms that appear from mid-summer to the first frost in autumn. Mature size of Teddy Bear sunflower plants is 4 to 5 feet (1.4 m.). Have we piqued your interest in growing Teddy Bear flowers? Then read on for more Teddy Bear sunflower info.
How to Grow a Teddy Bear Sunflower
Growing Teddy Bear flowers by seed isn’t complicated. The most important thing is to plant seeds where your Teddy Bear sunflower plants will be exposed to full sunlight. Well-drained soil is also an absolute requirement for any type of sunflower.
Plant Teddy Bear sunflower seeds after you’re sure all danger of frost has passed. Prepare the soil prior to planting sunflowers by digging a generous amount of compost, well-rotted manure or other organic matter into the top 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) of soil.
Sow seeds in groups of three to four, at a depth of ½ inch (1.25 cm.). Thin the plants to a distance of 18 to 24 inches (40-60 cm.) when the true leaves appear.
Water as needed to keep the soil moist, but not drenched, until your sunflower ‘Teddy Bear’ plants are established.
Sunflowers generally need no fertilizer. However, if your soil is poor, work a little time-release fertilizer into the soil at planting time.
Teddy Bear Sunflower Care
Once established, sunflowers are relatively drought tolerant; however, they perform best if the soil isn’t parched. As a general rule, water deeply when the soil is dry to a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm.). Avoid overwatering and soggy, poorly drained soil. If possible, water at the base of the plant, as overhead watering may promote certain plant diseases, including rust.
Pull or hoe weeds as soon as they appear. Weeds will draw moisture and nutrients away from your sunflower ‘Teddy Bear’ plant. A layer of mulch will prevent moisture evaporation and limit growth of weeds. However, be careful that the mulch doesn’t mound up against the stem, as moist mulch can promote rot.
Watch for cutworms on your Teddy Bear sunflower plants. If the infestation appears light, remove the pests by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. Use a pyrethrin-based insecticide for a severe infestation. Pyrethrin-based insecticides are also effective if weevils are a problem.