You’ve grown a beautiful batch of sunflowers, basked in their happy glow, and now their season comes to an end. There’s no need to purchase sunflower seeds every single year when saving them from this years plants is so easy! In this blog post, you’ll learn how to harvest easily harvest and save sunflower seeds that will keep providing you with impressive flowers and seeds to sow each year.
Looking for even more information on gardening? Check out these posts: How to Save Tomato Seeds for Next Year, How to Grow Pumpkins, Why Seed Saving is So Beneficial, September Gardening Check List, and much more!
How to Easily Harvest and Save Sunflower Seeds
Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
The sunflowers should be ready to harvest when the petals have dried and start to fall. You’ll need to check to see if the seeds are ripe first.
A layer of pollen protects the seeds and you will have to brush this away to see the seeds. You may want to do this step outside since it can get messy and involve some bugs in the head!
Ripe seeds will look plump and feel hard you can start to harvest them. Release the seeds by rubbing them by hand or with another seed head.
Cleaning Sunflower Seeds
This step is optional, depending on how worried you are about cleanliness and what you plan to do with the seeds.
If you intend to eat any of your seeds, it’s best to clean them, but it’s not necessary if you are just going to plant them the next year.
You can wash off your seeds under cool running water and then leave the seeds to dry. Leave them in a single layer on a screen or paper towel, allowing for air circulation to make sure all parts of the seeds dry.
Allow for plenty of time (1 week or more) for the seeds to dry just to ensure that mold will not begin to grow after storing them away.
Saving Sunflower Seeds
Once your seeds are completely dry, store them in a paper envelope, plastic bag, or plastic container. If you put them in an airtight container, they will last longer.
Store the container in a cool, dry place until you plan to plant them.
It’s useful to write the year and the sunflower variety on the envelope or bag, so you know what’s in there when you come to plant them next year.
How Long Will Sunflower Seeds Last?
Seeds need cool and dry conditions, so it’s best to store them in your house. Don’t store them outside in the shed where the temperature can fluctuate.
Even if properly stored, sunflower seeds will only last for 1 year, so you’ll have to sow them and harvest new seeds every year.
You can store them in plastic bags or paper seed envelopes, and they can even be stored in the freezer or the fridge. If you’re storing them in the freezer then make sure they are fully dried. Wet seeds can contain moisture that would end up with the seeds splitting open when they freeze.
If you want to eat some of your seeds they will only last in your pantry for around 2-3 months. Storing the seeds in an airtight container in your fridge or freezer will allow the seeds to still be edible.
More on Gardening:
- September Gardening Check List
- How to Plant a Spring Garden
- How to Properly Water the Garden
- Installing an Electric Fence in the Garden
- How to Ripen Green Tomatoes