Bottom two leaves wilting and top leaves starting to yellow

Good day! I would like to ask for some help to determine what I am doing wrong in growing my sunflower. The sunflower was started from seed about 3 weeks ago and now it has grown a few sets of true leaves. Lately I've noticed that the lower two leaves have started to wilt and the top leaves are starting to yellow. The seedling was not transplanted. The soil is constantly moist, but not waterlogged. The pot is fairly large about a foot deep, with drainage holes. The soil is mixed with garden soil, compost, coir and perlite. It receives about 4 hours of direct sunlight everyday.

I've tried watering it deeply on the assumption that the leaf wilting is caused by dehydration, and foliar feed it with an all purpose liquid fertilizer on the assumption that the yellowing of the leaves is caused by nutrient deficiency. But the condition of the seedling did not improve.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.

  • where in the world are you?
    – Bamboo
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:19
  • 1
    Wilting leaves can be caused by too MUCH water as well as too little water. Given the size of your pot and the moisture levels in the pot, my guess is that you're watering it to death. Putting it in more sunlight would be an excellent way to dry the pot out a bit. To save the plant now, I suggest that you transplant it into a much smaller pot - probably about 7-8cm/3 inches in diameter. Let the roots be your guide though - if they're larger than would fit comfortably in the pot, then go for the next size up. Use soil-less mix for potting medium (no other additives).
    – Jurp
    Jan 31, 2020 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


The cotyledon (the first leaf like green) will wilt and fade with time. That should be expected. That being said the other leaves are showing stress. There may more than one factor that is stressing it.

One it's the wrong time of the year. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere it is early for sunflowers to start to grow. It may be the temperatures in your area are not warm enough yet.

Four hours of sunlight is not enough. This is a full sun plant. It wants a minimum of 7 hours of direct sunlight and additional hours of bright indirect sunlight. I personally would aim to get it 8-12 hours of direct sunlight. .

If you are not getting that much sun because it is too early for it to grow, then you need to supplement the light with a grow light. An inexpensive grow light will help. You want to run it for 14-18 hours each day. A grow light does not project the same power the sun projects, so more time is needed. You want to make sure your grow light gives off white light, no coloured lights. You also want to make sure it is rated full spectrum.

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