Sunflower seeds are excellent savers for the next planting season; whether they are purchased seeds that did not get planted or seeds harvested from sunflowers you've raised. In order for sunflower seeds to germinate, sunflower seeds must receive proper care and storage to prevent molding and decay. Additionally, one seed’s decay can ruin an entire collection of seeds when stored in the same container. Minimizing the danger of mold overtaking your sunflower seeds requires a few straightforward steps.
Spread harvested sunflower seeds out on top of the window screen. Skip to step 4 if storing leftover purchased seeds.
Place the screen in a sunny, airy place either indoors or outside away from moisture and humidity.
Allow sunflower seeds to dry for four to six weeks.
Place dried sunflower seeds in a glass jar. Place a paper towel or piece of newspaper inside the jar with the sunflower seeds. Put the lid on the jar and tighten.
Store the jar in a cool, dry place away from extreme temperatures until planting season. Avoid opening to "check" on the sunflower seeds. Seeds that are thoroughly dried and put in a sealed container will not develop moisture, which is required for mold to establish.
Things You Will Need
- Sunflower seeds
- Glass jar with lid
- Old window screen
- A sunflower head can remain on the plant until its back turns dark, but once it does cut the head off immediately as harsh weather or strong winds can cause the seeds to fall before they're harvested. If you are concerned that birds and squirrels may get at the ripe seeds, sunflower heads can be cut off the stem as soon as the backs of the blooms have yellowed; they can then be stored on a screen and allowed to dry out until the seeds can be easily popped out. In either case, once the seeds have been popped out of the head they should be dried and stored to prevent mold.