How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds for Planting


Sunflowers are bold, bright, sun-loving blooms, and they are among the easiest to grow of all the annual flowers. At the end of summer, one big sunflower bloom will be provide enough sunflower seeds to dry and save for planting next year, with plenty of seeds left over to satisfy hungry birds.

Step 1

Allow the sunflower to remain in the garden until the back of the flower begins to turn brownish-yellow. If the birds or squirrels are beating you to the seeds, wrap the bloom loosely in netting or a pair of old panty hose.

Step 2

Cut the sunflower, leaving 1 to 2 feet of stem intact. Hang the sunflower by the stem in a warm, well-ventilated room and leave it for several weeks to finish drying. Be sure no birds or rodents have access to the room.

Step 3

Leave the netting in place on the bloom, or tie a paper bag loosely around the flower. As the sunflower dries, the seeds will drop into the netting or the paper bag. Be sure the seeds are completely dry, as damp seeds will rot or mold.

Step 4

Place the dry sunflower seeds in a paper envelope or a glass jar with a lid. Label the container and store the seeds in a cool, dry place until you're ready to plant them in your garden next spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Netting or old panty hose
  • Paper bag
  • Paper envelope or glass jar with lid


  • Purdue University Extension: Sunflowers for Summer Fun
  • University of Minnesota: Sunflowers
  • Colorado State University: Sunny Sunflowers
Keywords: harvest sunflower seeds, plant sunflower seeds, sunflower seeds

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.