How to Save Sunflower Seeds to Plant the Following Spring

Overview

While saving sunflower seeds as a snack or as bird feed is common, you can also save the seed for replanting the next year. This allows you to grow your favorite sunflower varieties each year without the expense of new seed stock every spring. Saving the seeds for planting is very similar to saving the seeds for consumption, but they must be stored properly to remain viable until you are ready to put them into the ground the next spring.

Step 1

Cut off the flower head after the petals have withered and fallen off and once the back of the flower head begins turning from green to yellow or brown. Leave 6 inches to 1 foot of stem attached to the flower head.

Step 2

Tie a length of twine around the stem. Hang the flower heads upside down in a warm, dry place for two weeks to finish drying. Place bowls under the drying flowers to catch any seeds that are prematurely released.

Step 3

Take the sunflower down from where it is hanging and hold it over a bowl. Rub your hand across the seed surface on the flower disk. This dislodges the seeds and knocks them into the bowl.

Step 4

Place the seeds into a paper bag or jar and seal closed. Label with the type of sunflower and year harvested.

Step 5

Store the seeds in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant in spring. Choose an area that is away from pests that may attempt to feed on the saved seeds.

Tips and Warnings

  • Save seeds only from non-hybrid sunflower varieties. Hybrid seeds don't produce identical specimens.

Things You'll Need

  • Shears
  • Twine
  • Bowl
  • Jar or bag

References

  • Washington State University Extension: Saving Seeds
Keywords: saving sunflower seeds, seed saving, harvesting seeds

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.