Teddy Bear Sunflowers: How To Grow + Care For

Teddy Bear Sunflowers are edible sunflowers that are fuzzy and charming- learn how to grow + care for them here!

Charming and sweet, Teddy Bear Sunflowers are a dwarf sunflower variety that feature golden blooms with short green stalks.  They are the perfect sunflower for a small garden space and can be planted as soon as all danger of frost has passed.

yellow teddy bear sunflower with green leaves

I was walking through our garden when I spied some of the fuzzy blooms of the Teddy Bear Sunflower peaking out behind a group of giant sunflowers.  These charming dwarf sunflowers feature fuzzy flower heads and light green leaves.  They are nothing short of endearing, so we just had to share how to grow and care for them!

Teddy Bear Sunflowers are very easy to grow. So easy, in fact, that even children can successfully plant teddy bear sunflower seeds!

When planted in succession they will bloom up until the first frost in fall.  These annual flowers feature golden-yellow blooms 3-6 inches across.  

They make excellent cut flowers and are a great addition to a cut flower garden!

teddy bear sunflower plant

About Teddy Bear Sunflowers (H.annuus)

With fluffy blooms and gorgeous green foliage, Teddy Bear Sunflowers are one of our favorite annual flowers.   They are a part of the sunflower family (Helianthus annuus) and can thrive all over North America!

Each sunflower features miniature sunflower heads with double petals.  The dwarf plants are perfect for containers and raised beds.  

Dwarf Teddy Bear Sunflowers are often planted by direct seeding, but can also be grown indoors.  

Sunflowers represent happiness, and these small and fluffy Teddy Bear Sunflowers pack a bold punch of joy!

Plant Profile For Teddy Bear Sunflowers

  • Appearance:  Golden yellow blooms sit atop sturdy green flower stalks
  • Sunflower Type: Dwarf variety
  • Height:  3-4 ft at maturity (compact)
  • Growing Season:  Late spring to early summer, fall
  • Zone:  Grows all over North America!
  • Growing Conditions:  Full sun, fertile well-draining soil
  • Bloom Time:  Mid to late summer 
  • Appearance:  Multiple fuzzy double blooms 3-6 inches across.  Flowers sit atop the bushy plant with green multi-branching leaves and stems
up close teddy bear sunflower flower


Teddy Bear Sunflowers are excellent additions for borders, containers, and flower beds.   Their bright blooms attract bees and butterflies, making them a useful garden companion.

These annual sunflowers make charming cut flowers and can be featured around the home in flower vases all season long.  

Teddy Bear Sunflower heads and flower petals are edible, and make a vibrant addition to a salad or a plate of grilled veggies!

For a whimsical touch, feature Teddy Bear Sunflowers in a children’s garden alongside easy to grow zinnias, cosmos, and other dwarf sunflowers!

How To Plant Teddy Bear Sunflowers

The best time to plant Teddy Bear Sunflowers is in spring after all danger of frost has passed.

Optimal soil temperature for germination is 60-65 degrees.  Choose a sunny spot with fertile well draining soil.

How To Direct Sow (Plant) Teddy Bear Sunflowers:

  • Watch for the last frost date in your hardiness zone.  Wait until all danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures are warm (about 65 degrees)
  • Work the soil into a fine tilth by removing any stones or sticks and raking smooth
  • Plant each seed about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch deep in moist soil
  • Place a group of 3 seeds about 12 inches apart
  • Keep soil consistently moist while germinating
  • Once seeds have emerged and seedlings are 2 inches tall, thin to your strongest plant by cutting the weaker stalks
  • Use care when watering young plants so you don’t disturb soil, a gentle flow of stream from a watering can is perfect
dwarf sunflower seed being planted in soil

Extend Your Growing Season:  Keep Teddy Bear Sunflowers blooming all fall by planting seeds throughout the summer months.  Direct sow seeds in July + August go get blooms until the end of the season!

Get more ideas for fall flowers here.

How To Start Seeds Inside

Dwarf sunflower seeds can be planted inside several weeks before the last frost date.

Sunflower seedlings do not like their roots disturbed, so use biodegradable pots which can be planted directly into the ground!

Use potting soil to plant seeds inside. When soil temperatures reach 65 degrees, plant the entire pot in the soil.

Annual Or Perennials?

​Teddy Bear Sunflowers are grown as annuals.  This means the plant will grow, bloom and then die in one season.  They will not return the following year and need to be re planted each spring.

How long does it take Teddy Bear Sunflowers to Grow?

From time of planting, it typically takes about 75-80 days before a Teddy Bear Sunflower plant produces flowers.

Growth time can be affected by weather and soil temperature.

Keep soil consistently moist to ensure your sunflower seeds germinate!

Teddy Bear Sunflower Plant Care Guide

Give your Teddy Bear Sunflower the correct sunlight, soil, fertilizer and water with these tips:


Teddy Bear Sunflowers thrive in full sun and need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight in order to thrive.

Weekly Inspiration
Get weekly flower projects, beautiful photos + garden advice.
Featured Image

This means you should plant them in 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, or even more if you are able.

If given too much shade, Teddy Bear Sunflowers will not develop sturdy stems.  They will stretch towards the light source and become sickly and weak.  Bloom production will go down, or they won’t produce blooms at all!

Make sure to give your plants full sunlight in order to help them thrive!

teddy bear sunflower head

Soil Conditions

While sunflowers can thrive in average and even poor soil, they will perform best with nutrient dense soil that has good drainage.  

Well-draining soil will prevent the roots from rotting (the sunflower seed can rot as well, if there is too much water retention!). 

Amend heavy clay soils with organic matter to increase drainage.  Sunflowers can grow in a variety of soils, but they do best in fertile soil with great drainage.


If you have poor soil, it’s a good idea to amend the soil with an organic fertilizer and organic matter at the time of planting.  Learn about flower fertilizers here.


Once they are established, Teddy Bear Sunflowers grown in the ground are somewhat drought tolerant.   In moderate weather, water them once to twice a week in early morning at the base of the plant.  

Keep the top of the plants as dry as possible to prevent fungal disease like powdery mildew from growing.

Teddy Bear Sunflowers need to be watered once to twice a week in moderate weather.  In extreme temperatures water the plant daily so that it can continue to thrive!  

When grown in pots and containers, your sunflower plant will need to be watered daily, unless it is raining. This is because soil in pots and containers dries out faster than ground soil.


Weeds will steals nutrients from Teddy Bear Sunflower and should be kept at bay.  When sunflower seedlings are small, you’ll want to carefully remove weeds or even just cut them off at the base.

As the plant grows larger and it’s root system becomes established, you can begin to dig out weeds as they pop up. Regular weeding will prevent the weeds becoming out of control. 

For difficult weeds, we recommend using a Hori Hori weeding knife.

Do Teddy Bear Sunflowers Grow Well In Pots?

Yes, Teddy Bear Sunflowers can thrive in pots and containers!  Follow these tips when planting in containers:

  • Choose a container that has adequate drainage holes.  (Check the bottom of the container to make sure).
  • Use a container that is the appropriate size.  Since Teddy Bear Sunflowers can grow to be 3-4 feet tall, you’ll want a large container like this one
  • Use a quality potting soil for your dwarf sunflowers, NOT garden soil (garden soil will compact in the container!)
  • Regularly water potted sunflowers.  Soil will drain quickly in pots and containers.  Check the moisture level daily during warm weather. 

Get more tips for growing sunflowers in pots+containers here!

Pests + Diseases

The best way to protect your sunflowers from disease is to give them enough air circulation by spacing them properly, and to water at the base of the plant (not on the leaves, flowers, or stalk).

If you water incorrectly you will encourage powdery mildew to grow and thrive.

Birds will often go after the edible sunflower seeds.  Place bird netting over your plants if you want to save the seeds for your own uses!

Do You Deadhead Teddy Bear Sunflowers?

Deadheading Teddy Bear Sunflower blooms will encourage the plant to put it’s energy into new sunflower buds.  

Removing spent blooms will also keep the plant free from pests and disease.  Harvest the sunflower heads and enjoy the abundance of seeds!  

To deadhead, follow the flower head down to where the first set of leaves grow and make a cut with a clean pair of garden clippers.  Do not remove just the flower head!

Final Thoughts On Growing Teddy Bear Sunflowers

Cute and charming, Teddy Bear Sunflowers add beauty to the garden.  These fuzzy flowers are not your average sunflower- they their large blooms resemble a fluffy pom pom.  

The yellow flowers attract local wildlife and make a great cut flower to feature in the home.   They are also make a gorgeous edible garnish and make a great companion plant for the vegetable garden!  

The bloom season can be extended by planting a succession of seeds, and dead heading the plants will keep them looking fresh and vibrant.  

If you haven’t grown Teddy Bear Sunflowers before, be sure to add them to your garden calendar for next year!

More Helpful Sunflower Posts:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *