How To Grow Your Own Sunflower House in Hawai‘i

Here's an alternative to building a treehouse in your backyard—grow a sunflower house instead!


When Isabella was in preschool, we read a book called Sunflower House, by Eve Bunting. It told of sunflower seeds being sown in a big circle to create a “room” in the garden for children’s imaginary play. We decided to grow our own. Since our garden was relatively new, we had a big area to create a fun play space.


Isabella planted the seeds before we left for the summer. We chose sunflower seeds from Home Depot with names such as Giant, Mammoth and Skyscraper. The sun, new soil and sprinkler system did the rest.


Grow a sunflower house

Photo: Michele Aucello


They sprouted right away.


When we got back, the flowers were huge! We had created a long, rectangular room for the kids to hide in.


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Grow a Sunflower House

Photo: Michele Aucello


Once the sunflowers bloomed and started to wilt, we decided to keep them up to dry in the sun. We left most of them up for the cardinals, who loved the seeds. We took a few down to harvest for ourselves.


Grow a Sunflower House

Photo: Michele Aucello


We kept some seeds for the next patch of flowers. The rest were roasted and shared with Isabella’s classmates.


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Our garden is now too full for a large room, but I cleared a small space for a new sunflower house, about 8 feet in diameter. We planted the seeds in a circle about a month ago. The sunflowers are currently about 2 feet high and should be bigger than the kids in another month.



When this batch of sunflowers wilts, we do the same as we did before with the seeds. This time we will plant some pole beans and sugar snap peas near the base of the sunflower stalks. These plants need something to climb. In the fall the stalks will provide the structure for another type of house—a beanpole house!




  • Unlike many other flowers, sunflowers make a central taproot that likes to grow straight down in the ground. Therefore do not plant the seeds in a pot and transplant them. Plant them directly in the ground.
  • Space the plants about a foot apart if you want them to grow really tall. They can’t compete with each other.
  • Weed often.
  • Water often. Sunflowers need lots of water.