Sunflowers are widely grown for their beauty, tasty seeds, to use as bird feed and as a flower arrangement additions. The large flower heads are easily dried to offer long-term enjoyment in the home decor or to hang outside and feed the birds. Seeds naturally dry in the flower head for consuming later, using in recipes or for homemade birdseed mixes. Growing sunflowers is easy and fun for the entire family. The plants grow well from seeds in the flowerbed, pots or containers.
Harvest sunflowers in the morning when the moisture is still prominent in the flower. Clip the flower just as it begins to open. Allow at least a foot of stem and leaves to remain on the flower.
Tie string around the end of the flower stem and hang the flower upside down in a dark place that is at least 70 degrees F. Flowers can be grouped together in bunches of five or hung singularly. Allow ample airflow around the flower. Avoid cold drafts. Hanging next to a furnace or fireplace is ideal.
Remove the flower after three weeks when completely dry. If the flower is not completely dry then allow it to hang longer.
Drying Sunflower Seeds
Cut flower heads when they are completely dry. Allow the sunflowers to dry on the plant until the flowers are gone and the entire plant is dry. The back of the flower head will turn brown and the flower petals will fall from the flower head.
Wrap the flower head in cheese cloth secured with cotton rope or paper bags and leave on the plant to dry naturally. The cheese cloth or paper bags will keep birds and squirrels from consuming the sunflower seeds while they dry on the flower head.
Store the sunflower seeds in a plastic bag for bird seed. Roast sunflower seeds in the oven at 400 degrees F for 40 minutes before consuming. Stir the seeds occasionally during roasting to make sure all sides are brown and dry. Once roasted, add salt or butter as desired for additional flavor.
About this Author
Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.