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How to Germinate Sunflower Seeds

By Lily Obeck ; Updated September 21, 2017

Sunflowers are tall, beautiful flowers that perk up any garden or lawn, and their seeds make a heart-healthy snack. Sunflower seeds need a temperature of approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit to begin germination and sprouting. Maintaining the soil temperature at 70 degrees can be difficult, especially if you live in an extremely warm or cold climate. However, sunflower seeds can be germinated without soil in your own home. Once the seeds have sprouted, the plants can be transferred to an outdoor setting.

Germinating Seeds

Fill a spray bottle with water and lay a paper towel over a flat surface. Spray the towel with water. Dampen the towel but do not saturate it in water.

Lay your sunflower seeds over the wet towel and make sure they are not touching each other. Cover the seeds with another paper towel. Spray the top towel with water, again dampening it without saturating it. Saturating your seeds will cause them to mold before sprouting.

Place the seeds and towels in a cool area of your home. Place them in an unheated garage if living in a cooler climate, or near an air-conditioning vent if living in a warm climate. Keep the towels consistently moist, keeping the seeds at a temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Keep the seeds cool and moist for 10 to 12 days. Sprouts should have broken out of the seeds in the second week. Discard any seeds that do not sprout after the second week. Once the seeds have sprouted, plant them in the desired area, about 1/4 inch deep.


Things You Will Need

  • Paper towels
  • Spray bottle


  • The seeds that sprout first will most likely be your best flowers. Be sure to plant these in a warm area with full sun.

About the Author


Lily Obeck is a copywriter based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She writes for print, online, outdoor and broadcast marketing, with expertise in health, education and lifestyle topics. Obeck holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Texas and works as a part-time children's library assistant.