How to Collect Sunflower Seeds From Plants


Sunflower seeds are an easy-to-grow food plant in many home gardens, working as both an ornamental flower and an edible landscaping plant. Use sunflower seeds as a replacement for nuts in baked goods, roast them for a snack or combine them with other seeds to feed winter birds. Collecting the seeds requires proper timing or the seeds may fall off the flower disk or be eaten by birds before you have a chance to harvest them.

Step 1

Place a paper bag over the flower disk once most of the ray petals have fallen off and the back of the flower disk begins turning yellow. The paper bag keeps birds from eating the maturing seed.

Step 2

Cut off the flower head once the back has turned brown. Leave 1 foot of stem attached to each flower when cutting, as this makes the large flower heads easier to handle.

Step 3

Cover a table top with newspaper or place a large, shallow bowl on the table. Grasp two sunflowers by the stem and rub the heads together to dislodge the seeds onto the newspaper or into the bowl. If you only have one sunflower disk, rub your palm over the seeds to dislodge them into the bowl.

Step 4

Examine the flower disks and remove any remaining seeds by hand. Store the seeds in a sealed container until ready to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper bag
  • Knife
  • Newspaper
  • Bowl


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Sunflowers
Keywords: sunflower seeds, harvesting seeds, sunflower seed preparation

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.