How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds for Planting Next Season

Written by desirae roy
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How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds for Planting Next Season
Harvesting sunflower seeds is a great way to enjoy blooms for seasons to come. (sunflower and sunflower seeds image by Andrey Chmelyov from

Sunflowers are truly the queens of the fall garden scene. Often standing on stalks 10 feet tall, flower heads may reach a foot across. Four months after you plant the striped seeds in the ground, your sunflowers will be heavy with new seeds ready to be harvested for roasting, toasting and drying for planting next season. Harvest seeds with care to ensure bountiful crops year after year.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Sunflowers
  • Pruning shears
  • Cheesecloth
  • Brown paper sacks
  • Twine
  • Air tight container

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  1. 1

    Check sunflower heads for cues of harvest readiness. The seeds should be compact around shrunken centre florets, on flower heads down-turned and golden yellow on back.

  2. 2

    Cut the sunflower stems at 12 inches below the flower.

  3. 3

    Cover the heads with cheesecloth or a paper bag and secure around the stem. Seeds will drop and gather in the protective covering for easy removal later.

  4. 4

    Hang cut sunflowers upside down in a dry, cool place. Be sure that critters, birds and other hungry animals can't get to them during this process. Good air circulation is a must to avoid mildew of the heads and encourage proper drying.

  5. 5

    Store seeds in an airtight container in a dry place. Leave the seeds in the hulls as this is how they are planted in the spring. Seeds will easily keep until planting season under these conditions.

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