10 Inspirational Ideas for Your Sunflowers

The sunflower (Helianthus annus) is a summer icon. Radiating warmth, happiness and excitement, it’s a feel-good flower that spreads joy wherever it goes. Here are some great ideas on how you can bring that joy to your home, wedding and other parties.

What do with your sunflowers in the garden

Sunflowers were one of the first flowers I learnt how to grow. Our growing competitions are the stuff of family legend – to be the owner of the tallest flower was to be a champion, so no effort was spared in watering, staking and caring for our flowers.

It’s a childhood memory I cherish and I think sunflowers are a brilliant way to get children outdoors and growing things. Here are some tips:

  1. The first thing you should know is that sunflowers do really well in a sunny spot, whether they’re free-standing or against a wall. Wherever you plant them, you’ll need to stake them to stop them from bending.
  2. When the blooms start to go over towards the end of the season, as well as collecting the seeds for next year, you can make the old heads into bird feeders. I often get asked what to do with sunflower heads and this is a great idea. Simply leave the heads seed-side up on a ledge or platform, or hang them in a tree, so small birds can land on the upturned face and get stuck in.
A photo of sunflowers left for bird food

What to do with sunflowers in your home

Sunflowers can be part of a traditional, country-style bouquet or they can be turned into something more contemporary.

  1. For a traditional look, a vintage-style jug is ideal. The sunflower blooms look beautiful on their own but, for a more country feel, you can add some dried wheat. I love the gorgeous teal colour behind this display – it really makes the flowers glow.
A photo of Sunflowers arranged in a metal container against a vibrant blue painted timber backdrop
  1. To create a more contemporary scene, a simple display of sunflowers against a clean white background is perfect. They bring light and energy into a room while giving a modern look.

What to do with sunflowers at your wedding

With the price of a wedding growing faster than, well, a Helianthus annus, using sunflowers for bridal bouquets and wedding decorations is a great way to keep spending on flowers sensible. Here are a few ideas:

  1. I love how curved grass is arched over the sunflower blooms in this bouquet. The grass gives the flower a contemporary feel and the arrangement a simple elegance. Furthermore, this low-cost bouquet will hold its form all day.
A photo of Sunflowers arranged into a wedding bouquet
  1. If you want an arrangement with more texture and variety of colour, you can add delicate Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila elegans). The soft, tiny white flowers contrast beautifully with the sunflowers’ bold, firm structure.
  1. Alternatively, you can add Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum). The glowing blue stems and flowers with their spiky, thistle-like heads give the bouquet an eye-catching look.
A photo of a sunflower wedding bouquet
  1. Sunflower heads and Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) in small glass bottles or jam jars make great table-top decorations (this is another good answer to what to do with sunflower heads). The use of hessian as a table cover or a tie for the jars is a lovely finishing touch.
A photo of sunflower arrangements as table decorations at a Wedding reception

What to do with sunflowers at a party

Sunflowers are a wonderful decoration for any party, inside or out. Traditionally they’re used in table-top displays, but you don’t have to stop there.

  1. One of my favourite garden design ideas is to use a foam flower ball to create a glowing sphere of sunflowers. Simply push the flower heads into the ball. You can hang them from trees, above tables and along walkways. It’s easy to do and looks amazing.
A photo of a Sunflower and barley floristry arrangement
  1. I also love sunflowers in a Corten steel water bowl. If you’re looking for garden design inspiration, these bowls have a strong contemporary look whose style is much in demand (Gardeners World and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show among others). They work on the ground and on plinths, and boast beguiling patterns that are only made more unique as they’re used. Simply fill the bowls to the rim with water (wonderfully, they become like mirrors) and gently float sunflower heads on the surface. I think this display gives off a delightful serenity. When evening comes, add some floating candles for an ethereal glow.
Photo of sunflowers in a CorTen steel water bowl

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