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.
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.
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.
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.
Place the seeds into a paper bag or jar and seal closed. Label with the type of sunflower and year harvested.
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.
Things You Will Need
- Jar or bag
- Birds and other animals may try to eat the developing seeds in the garden. Cover the sunflowers with a cheesecloth bag to protect them from pests.
- Save seeds only from non-hybrid sunflower varieties. Hybrid seeds don't produce identical specimens.