How to harvest Sunflower seeds for planting?

How to harvest Sunflower seeds for planting?

Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to cultivate in the garden. Bright, colorful garden flowers, annual sunflowers, peak over garden walls and rise up among neighboring perennials and annuals. They are tall and majestic, looking down on the rest of the blossoms and providing sustenance and nectar to any passing pollinator. It is simple to gather sunflower seeds at the end of the season to dry for replanting, and bake for a delightful snack. In this article, Garden How will show you how to get sunflower seeds.

How long does it take for Sunflowers to make seeds?

The popular question when we explore how to get sunflower seeds is “How long does it take for sunflowers to make seeds?”

It will take 27 days for the first anther in the head of your sunflower to emerge with regular watering, and another eight days for the last anther to appear. The pollen is contained in the anther, which is a component of the flower’s stamen. The largest sunflowers can grow to be up to 12 feet tall when fully grown, whereas dwarf sunflowers can only grow to be 2 feet tall.

It will take another 30 days for your sunflower to mature to the point where it may be deemed fully mature. When the rear of the flower head has turned a light yellow or brown and the seeds have dried and protruded from the flower head, the sunflower has reached maturity. The seeds will be harvested before they reach full maturity by birds. If you want to eat the seeds, you’ll need to safeguard them from wildlife by covering the flower head with a paper or plastic bag.

In short, sunflowers come in a variety of colors and sizes, and each one grows at a distinct rate. However, it takes an average of 80 to 120 days for a plant to mature and produce seeds.


Do all sunflowers make sunflower seeds?

Every sunflower is going to produce sunflower seeds. There are two types of sunflower seeds: those that are bred for their flowers and those that are bred for their edible seeds. 

However, today, the majority of sunflowers that grow in gardens have been developed to produce beautiful, long-lasting flowers rather than seeds. Therefore, gardeners need to be careful when deciding on sunflower varieties before planting, which depend on planting purposes. 

Can all sunflower seeds be eaten?

Yes, all of them. Sunflower seeds are edible and safe for people and animals alike. Besides, every component of the plant is edible, including the leaves, stems, petals, and the oil derived from the flowers.

The seeds, on the other hand, are always edible, regardless of cultivar. However, some may be superior to others!

Many sunflowers produce tiny seeds that are difficult to remove from their shells, whilst others produce larger seeds that are easier to remove.

  • Some sunflower seeds are smaller and more fussy than others; for example, attractive varieties will be more difficult to harvest seeds from.
  • The taller sunflower species, which are grown for their stunning blooms and remarkable height, are superior for seed production.
  • The black and white striped sunflower seeds, which we commonly refer to as sunflower seeds, are the most delicious to eat.
  • Because black sunflower seeds are typically prepared for bird feed, they may not be as tasty.

When should I harvest sunflower seeds?

How to get sunflower seeds is simple, but determining when to harvest sunflowers can be difficult for some gardeners. Picked too early, the heads may have a lot of seed coverings but very little flesh. If you wait too long to gather sunflower seeds, the sensitive seeds will dry out and become impossible to roast. Wait until the animals begin harvesting sunflowers for you, and you’ll be left with nothing!

When the petals of the sunflowers are dry and dropping off, it’s time to harvest them. The big heads start to droop and sag. The rear of the head should turn a yellowish-brown color. It’s not close to being ready if it’s still green.

The tiny petals that were covering the developing seeds have dried and fallen off, revealing mature seeds that are closely packed. Leave the sunflower alone if the majority of the petals are still intact.

Hardening occurs, and the seeds become black with white stripes. The seeds are not ripe if they are still milky white. Check a few seeds to see whether they’ve grown.

Protect your sunflowers from critters as you’re waiting for them to mature enough to harvest. Cover the sunflower heads with brown paper bags, fine netting, mesh, perforated plastic bags, or cheesecloth once the petals begin to fade. To keep the seeds from falling out, seal the bag with a twist tie or rubber band. If you have a problem with animals or birds, cover the heads with thin netting or paper bags as soon as the petals start to wilt.

When should I harvest sunflower seeds?

How to get sunflower seeds?

Drying on the stem

The first stage in learning how to get sunflower seeds is to dry the stem. Steps are outlined here. 

1. Wait for the sunflower to start to wilt.

When the heads of sunflowers turn brown, it’s time to harvest them. However, if you have a particularly wet season, they may become moldy. In this instance, cut off the head once the back of it has begun to yellow and continue the drying process in a greenhouse or shed. Once the rear of the head starts to turn yellow to yellow-brown, it’s time to start the drying process.

  • The sunflower head must be totally dry before the seeds may be harvested. The flower will not relinquish the seeds if this is not done. After a few days of wilting, a sunflower will naturally achieve this state.
  • When the weather is dry and sunny, it is easier to dry sunflowers on the stem. If you reside in a humid area, you might want to try drying them off the stem instead.
  • At least half of the yellow petals should have fallen before you begin harvesting the sunflower. The flower’s head should also begin to droop. The sunflower may appear to be dead, but if it still has seeds, it is drying out properly.
  • At least half of the yellow petals should have fallen before you begin harvesting the sunflower. The flower’s head should also begin to droop. The sunflower may appear to be dead, but if it still has seeds, it is drying out properly.
  • Take a look at the seeds. They should plump up even if they are still trapped in the flower head. Sunflower seeds should be firm, with a black-and-white striped shell or a totally black shell, depending on the variety of sunflower.

2. Wrap a paper bag around your head.

Cover the flower’s head with a paper bag, putting it on loosely using string or yarn to keep it from falling off.

  • You could also use cheesecloth or another breathable material, but never a plastic bag. Because plastic restricts air flow, moisture will accumulate on the seeds. If there is too much moisture in the air, the seeds may rot or mold.
  • Birds, squirrels, and most other creatures are discouraged from sneaking in and “harvesting” your sunflower seeds before you do. It also ensures that the seeds do not fall to the ground and be lost.

3. As needed, replace the bag.

If the bag becomes wet or ripped, remove it carefully and replace it with a new, undamaged paper bag.

  • During a thunderstorm, you might be able to keep the bag dry by briefly covering it with a plastic bag. To prevent mold from forming, do not attach the plastic bag to the flower head and remove it as soon as the rain stops.
  • As soon as the paper bag becomes wet, replace it. A damp paper bag is more prone to tears, and if the seeds are left in a wet bag for an extended period of time, mold may form on the seeds.
  • When replacing the bag, collect any seeds that may have fallen into it. Examine the seeds for signs of damage, and if they’re in good shape, keep them in airtight containers until you’re ready to harvest the rest.

4. Cut off the heads

Cut the flower heads off when the backs turn brown and prepare to harvest the seeds.

  • Leave a stem attached to the flower head of about 1 ft (30.5 cm).
  • Check to see if the paper bag is still firmly attached to the flower head. You may lose a considerable number of seeds if it slips off when removing and transporting the sunflower head.

Drying the sunflowers

Drying the sunflowers is the next phase in figuring out how to get sunflower seeds. Here’s how to go about doing it.

1. Prepare yellowed sunflowers

When the rear of the head turns a deep yellow to yellow-brown, the sunflower is ready to be dried.

  • The sunflower head must be dried before collecting the seeds. When sunflower seeds are dried, they are easy to extract, but when they are still wet, they are practically impossible to remove.
  • By this time, most of the yellow petals should have fallen off, and the head may be starting to droop or wilt.
  • Depending on the species of sunflower, the seeds should be rough to the touch and have a black-and-white striped appearance, or even all black.

2. Cover the head of sunflowers with a paper bag.

Using twine, yarn, or string, secure a brown paper bag over the sunflower’s head.

  • Instead of using a plastic bag, you should use a paper bag. Because plastic does not allow the flower head to “breathe,” moisture may accumulate excessively inside the bag. If this occurs, the seeds may rot or mold, rendering them unfit for human consumption.
  • If you don’t have any brown paper bags, you can use cheesecloth or another breathable fabric instead.
  • You won’t have to worry about animals eating the seeds before you get to them if you dry the sunflower off the stalk. However, you must still drape the bag over the sunflower head to collect any loose seeds.

3. Remove the sunflower heads

Using a sharp knife or shears, cut off the sunflower’s head.

  • Leave a stem attached to the head of about 1 ft (30.5 cm).
  • As you remove the paper bag from the head, take care not to knock it off.

4. Turn its head upside down

Allow the sunflower head to dry in a warm environment.

  • Tie a length of twine, yarn, or string to the base of the head and attach the other end of the twine to a hook, rod, or hanger to hang the sunflower. The sunflower should be dried with the stem facing up and the head facing down.
  • Indoors, dry the sunflower in a warm, dry spot. To avoid moisture buildup, the location should have adequate airflow. To keep rodents from nibbling on the sunflower head, suspend it high above the ground or on the floor.

5. Regularly inspect the sunflower head.

On a daily basis, carefully open the bag. Empty the bag’s contents to collect any seeds that fall off too soon.

  • Keep these seeds in an airtight container until you’re ready to harvest the rest.

6. When the head is completely dry, remove the bag.

When the back of the head turns dark brown and very dry, the sunflower seeds are ready to harvest.

  • The drying process takes one to four days on average, but it could take a little longer depending on how early you harvest the flower head and the drying circumstances.
  • Remove the bag only when you’re ready to harvest the seeds. Otherwise, you risk dropping and losing a large number of seeds.

How to get sunflower seeds

Following the completion of the preceding phases, we begin harvesting sunflower seeds. The procedure is as follows:

1. Lay out the sunflower on a clean, flat surface.

Before removing the paper bag, place the sunflower head on a table, counter, or other work surface.

  • Empty the bag of its contents. If the bag contains seeds, place them in a basin or storage container.

2. Rub your palm across the sunflower’s seeded section.

Simply brush the seeds away with your hands or a stiff vegetable brush.

  • If you’re harvesting seeds from more than one sunflower, gently brush the two flower heads together to remove the seeds.
  • Rub the flower heads until all of the seeds have been dislodged.

3. Rinse the seeds with water to clean them.

Place the collected seeds in a colander and thoroughly rinse them under cold running water.

  • Before removing the seeds from the colander, let them drain fully.
  • Rinsing the seeds removes the majority of the dirt and bacteria that may have accumulated on them during their time outside.

4. Dry the sunflower seeds

Spread the seeds out in a single layer on a large towel and let them dry for many hours.

  • Instead of a single thick towel, you might dry the seeds on many layers of paper towel. They should be flat and in a single layer in either case to allow each seed to dry completely.
  • Remove any debris or other foreign matter that you observe as you spread the seeds out. You should also get rid of any seeds that have been damaged.
  • Make sure the seeds are totally dry.

How to get sunflower seeds for eating.

If you plan to eat the sunflower seeds soon after harvesting them, salt and roast them now.

  • Soak the seeds in a solution of 2 quarts (2 liters) of water and 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 125 ml) of salt overnight.
  • Alternatively, instead of soaking the seeds overnight, you might boil them in this salt water solution for two hours.
  • Drain the seeds on a paper towel that is dry and absorbent.
  • On a shallow baking sheet, spread the seeds out in a single layer. Preheat the oven to 300℉ and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown (149℃). As the seeds toast, stir them occasionally.
  • Allow it to cool completely before serving.
  • Sunflower seeds can now be eaten.

The seeds can be kept in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container. Seeds that have been roasted can be stored for several weeks.

How to harvest sunflower seeds for planting?

How to get sunflower seeds for planting is similar to that described previously.

After the seeds have been harvested in the manner described above, they can be utilized straight away or kept for growing the next season. Before storing your seeds, make sure they’re totally dry. The seeds will last longer if they are kept dry. Keep the seeds in a closed container, such as a mason jar that is airtight. Don’t forget to clearly identify and date the contents.

Place the container in a cool, dark spot for seeds that will only be stored for a season. Seeds can be kept in the refrigerator for a long time. You can also put silica gel or 2 teaspoons (29.5 ml) of powdered milk wrapped in tissue in the bottom of the jar to help keep the seeds dry. Your seeds can also be frozen. Toss them into a freezer bag or place them in an airtight, freezer-safe container. When stored in the fridge or freezer, most sunflower seeds will survive for up to a year. Those kept for a limited period of time, such as in the pantry, should be consumed within two to three months.

How to harvest sunflower seeds for planting?

Questions and answers

Do sunflowers grow back after cutting?

The amount of time it takes for sunflowers to come back is entirely dependent on the type of plant. Sunflower plants come in two varieties: One is a perennial, whereas the other is a one-time event. Sunflowers are mostly annual plants.

This implies that they normally only bloom once throughout the summer, and their blossoms last for a short time until the plant dies in late autumn or winter. Sunflowers will not come back or bloom again once they begin to fade and eventually lose their life.

Annual plants are experts at this. They only bloom once in their lives and have a limited lifespan.

Perennial sunflowers, on the other hand, can be found in the area. If your sunflower is a perennial, you can cut it and it will grow back. It will also regrow after flowering and the blossom has faded.

Perennial sunflowers will grow and bloom every year during the flowering season if properly cared for and given perfect growing conditions.

Besides, your blooms will also grow back depending on what zone you reside in, how you care for your sunflowers, and the variety of sunflowers you plant.

Why don’t my sunflowers have seeds?

Aside from the subject of how to get sunflower seeds, many individuals are curious as to why their sunflowers are devoid of seeds.

Cultivars, unpollinated sunflowers, diseases, or pests of your sunflower plants are all possible causes.

When purchasing seeds, check the label to determine if the sunflower has been “bred” to be seedless.

Besides, despite the flowers’ best efforts to attract our lovely bees, bumble bees, wasps, and even moths, our lovely bees, bumble bees, wasps, and even moths, our lovely bees, bumble bees, wasps, and even moths, just don’t come around as often as they should. There are several major causes behind this. Pollination is conducted by bees, which are one of their primary pollinators. It’s possible that there aren’t enough bees and insects in the area to pollinate all of the seeds. It’s possible that particular plants, weeds, or strong aromas in the garden are deterrents to bees and other insects.

Squirrels and marmots are other well-known sunflower seed eaters. It is certainly possible for a squirrel to eat a whole sunflower seed head in a single sitting.

In short, you should keep a closer eye on the growth of sunflowers in order to obtain the highest quality sunflower seeds.

Final Thoughts

Garden How has also provided you with crucial information about how to get sunflower seeds. Whatever your reasons for harvesting sunflower seeds, whether replanting or simply looking for a pleasant treat for your family, sunflower seed harvesting is simple and enjoyable.

Hopefully, with sunflowers’ beauty and the benefits of their seeds, you can consider growing sunflowers in your garden.

Related posts:
How much water do Sunflowers need for each stages of their growth?
How much sun do Sunflowers need?
Companion planting Sunflowers: 23 best options for your garden
Where is the best place to plant Sunflowers?
Step-by-step guides for planting Sunflower seeds in pots


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.