Harvesting & Replanting Sunflower Seeds


Sunflower plants make striking additions to any backyard garden, thanks to their tall and stately appearance--some varieties grow 10 feet tall or higher--and giant yellow blossoms. These blossoms produce a profusion of little black seeds. Harvest the seeds for consumption, and save some for replanting in the following growing season, so you can keep raising sunflowers without having to buy new seeds.

Step 1

Wait for the sunflower blossom's petals to wilt and fall off. Immediately cover the entire blossom head with cheesecloth, securing the cloth in place with garden twine. This prevents squirrels, birds and other animals from eating the sunflower seeds before you harvest them.

Step 2

Inspect the sunflower head regularly. It's ready for harvesting when the back of the flower head is crisp to the touch and brown in color and when the seeds are black-and-white striped, according to the University of Illinois.

Step 3

Remove the cheesecloth. Cut off the flower head with pruning shears. Rub your hand over the face of the flower head to dislodge the seeds. Empty the seeds into a paper envelope for storage until you're ready to replant them.

Step 4

Replant the seeds directly in the ground anytime after the last frost date in your region. Bury a seed 1/2 inch under the soil surface, and water twice daily or as needed to keep the dirt moist. The seed will germinate within 14 days, according to the University of Massachusetts.

Things You'll Need

  • Cheesecloth
  • Garden twine
  • Pruning shears
  • Paper envelope


  • "Taylor's Guide to Annuals: How to Select and Grow more than 400 Annuals"; Barbara Ellis; 2000
  • University of Massachusetts: Mass. Agriculture in the Classroom
  • University of Illinois: Harvesting & Handling Sunflowers

Who Can Help

  • National Sunflower Association
  • National Sunflower Association: Sunflower Seed Recipes
Keywords: grow sunflower seeds, harvest sunflower seeds, replant sunflower seeds

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.