Step-by-step Guide on how to Harvest and Store Sunflower Seeds!

Creating a beautiful garden takes lots of effort and time, but the end result is always satisfying. If you too want your garden to look perfect, you need to learn how to plant the seeds the right way, how to get rid of June bugs so that your plants are not affected, how to find the best HPS bulbs to ensure proper plant growth, and so on.

Once you have taken care of all such things, you need to decide what plants you would want to grow in your garden, and how to take the best care of each of them. If like most people, you too love sunflowers, then you surely must be keen on knowing how to harvest sunflower seeds, and we shall now get to learn exactly that.


1. How you must harvest the seeds

This is the first step, and there are two ways you can follow to harvest the seeds of a sunflower. To follow the first method you need to allow the seeds to dry on the stem, and this will start happening soon after the flower has crossed its best stage. The flower head will now begin sagging, and this stage requires you to be really careful. The birds will try their best to fly away collecting the seeds and you need to avoid this from happening. The seeds will also drop off themselves when they begin drying, and you need to try and collect them before they fall, as it is much easier that way.

The next methods involve removing the head from its stem and then place a paper bag on top of it and keep it somewhere dry and air-tight. This will help the sunflower seeds dry on their own.

2. Removing the seeds from their head

The next step involves removing the sunflower seeds from their head, which is also a very easy process. It is in this stage, you will be able to see how many seeds you have successfully harvested and you surely will be more than glad finding out the number of seeds you can get from just one flower.

Be careful during this stage and make sure the seeds are dried thoroughly before you try removing them. Next, you need to keep the head on some flat surface wherein you will be collecting the seeds. If they are well dried you will have no trouble in removing them from the head. However, if it is too difficult then give it some more time as they are yet not properly dry.

3. Washing the seeds

After removing the seeds, the next thing you need to do is wash them so that you can get rid of all the dirt and also to remove a protective casing present on them. Though you just dried the seeds, washing them is important, and a step that cannot be avoided.

During the washing stage, remember you need to wash the seeds but not soak them. After rinsing them clean you will have to let them dry yet again. Together with helping get rid of the dirt, this stage also removes any pests or bacteria that may be present, and thus leaves you with healthy seeds.

4. Dry your seeds the right way

Yes, I’ve just said you need to dry the seeds, and what’s more is that you need to dry them the right way. It will be best to let them dry out naturally. Never keep them in plastic bags as that may only help retain moisture and not remove it. The best option is to keep them in a dry area or keep them in paper bags. It will take about 24 hours or so before the seeds are properly dry.

5. Eliminating debris and other plant material

You surely would not want to store your harvested sunflower along with debris, and thus even this stage requires you to be careful. Though washing the seeds must have removed most debris, you still need to check if any leaves that must be removed are present. Getting rid of the debris is very important before you get involved in the process of storing the seeds.

6. Store your harvested seeds

Now you have harvested and cleaned your seeds, and they are ready to be stored. If you do not store them properly, they will rot soon, but if done the right way then they can last as long as one full year.

Make sure to keep the seeds in a good air-tight container, and keep this container away from light. You can easily keep your seeds healthy this way for up to four months. However, if you want to keep them longer then it will be best to freeze them.

Following these steps will help you harvest sunflower seeds in a very simple way. Not just will you be able to harvest them correctly, you can also store them, and then use them as needed for a very long time.

Hi there! I’m Lucy – founder of and I’m a self-confessed garden fanatic. Gardening has always been a passion of mine and will always be my favorite pastime. Now that I am married and have one adorable son, I have the time to write and share my personal experiences with other garden enthusiasts like me.



About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

5 thoughts on “Step-by-step Guide on how to Harvest and Store Sunflower Seeds!”

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  2. I must remember to read this again in the autumn as I have never managed to save the seeds for me to eat and usually just leave them for the birds or to reseed – and I love eating sunflower seeds myself! Thanks for linking this up to #GoingGreenLinky

    1. HI Rosie,
      I love sunflower seeds an eat them for a snack. I just started some dwarf sunflower from heirloom seeds this Spring and had just planted them out very recently. I intent to save some seeds for eating and some for replanting next Spring. I love having those bright yellow flowers in my garden = they always make me feel happy. Glad to be part of Going Green Linky. Thanks for hosting. Have a healthy happy & blessed day!

  3. We dry our sunflowers as heads for the birds and put them out over the cold winter months. They soon strip them. I tend to dry them out in the greenhouse which works perfectly. You’ve made me think. I’ve never thought harvesting them for our consumption. Maybe I’ll grow a few more this year.#GoingGreen

    1. HI Cheryl,
      I eat sunflower myself and they are tasty, healthy snack. I know we buy bird seed for our bird-feeder that have sunflower seeds included – the birds love them too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day!

Would love to know your thoughts!

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