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Preparing Sunflower Seeds

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Question:

Are sunflowers annuals or perennials? 2. How do you prepare seeds for re-planting?

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Lisa from Athens, AL

Answer:

Lisa,

Sunflowers are easy-to-grow annuals. Replanting them from this year's crop doesn't require any special preparation. To harvest seeds for planting next year, you can either lop off the mature seed heads and bring them indoors for drying, or cover them with cheesecloth or paper bags while they are still on the stem to collect the seeds as they fall. As long as you protect them from squirrels and birds, it's best to let them remain in the garden for as long as possible. There will be several indicators that the seeds have reached maturity. The backs of the flower heads will turn start to dry and turn brown, the flower petals will wilt and fall, and with the exception of the inner most seeds (they usually remain somewhat smaller) the seeds will appear full and plump. Depending on the variety, the seed coats will either be a shiny black color or black and white striped. Once mature, the seeds will become like loose teeth and you'll notice the birds and squirrels moving in. Before they drop, cut the heads off, leaving about a foot of stem attached. Hang them upside down until they dry completely. The seeds can them be rubbed out by hand or by using a small, metal screen. Store dry seeds over winter in airtight containers. Sow them directly into the garden in the spring after danger of the last frost has passed. Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep approximately 12 inches apart in full sun and well-drained soil. You can also start them earlier indoors and transplant them after they grow their second set of true leaves.

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By kathy smith (Guest Post)09/15/2007

Thank you for this information. My son, Danny, passed away this year. He had planted a few sunflowers along his pole barn. I can now try to save
the seeds for his children to plant a few every year.
Thank you so much.

06/27/2007

I just bought a new Sunflower plant at Wal-mart. It is a short version about 2 feet tall bushy with a head flower of about 3 inches. There are three visable, minus 1 something bite off the head flower, no where to be found. There was nothing telling about this flower in the plant when bought. I asked the person attending the flower area, and she didn't know much about it. I would like to replant next year it is a beautiful specimen. However I am afraid that something is going to keep taking my flower heads. There are several unopened heads visable.
Can you tell me what to do, to keep them attached.

By Paula [14]01/18/2007

I just love sunflowers; and since I started feeding the birds sunflower seeds in their feeders, I haven't had to plant any seeds anywhere because the birds do it for me! I leave the plant in the fall and it dries naturally and the birds pick at it all winter and they plant the next years' plants.

By cale2145/colorado . (Guest Post)10/06/2006

i find using old milk jugs to be the best way to grow the number you want to grow with out over doing it unless you have the space for them just cut off the tops of old milk jugs an place some dirt on the bottom about 1'' deep and place 13=16 seed's when they're about 4'' high fill them up with water an make a soup out of the dirt an yank them out of the planter an untangle the roots if there stuck to each other. if you can't plant them to together and the healthier one will kill of the weaker one as they grow or they both will just be sure you add some of the wet dirt to the hole you put them in when you plant them outside so they have some water to help them out and place a half cup of sugar around them to act as a plant food and cover the dirt around them w/ grass clippings and let them do the rest. here's one of the ones i grew this year. It is a wild one i harvested with much success to keep the seed dry them out in brown paper bags away from water and moisture and thay should be ok tell you can plant them if you like contact cale 2145 @ AOL.COM and always give types if i know what it is thats being grown. i will reply when i can

RE: Preparing Sunflower Seeds

By Sherry10/03/2006

:) I have no idea about the sunflowers, but wanted to say hi from a fellow ThriftyFun Lover from Alabama.

Good Luck w/your flowers.

By (Guest Post)10/02/2006

Sunflowers are annuals. I just throw the seed where I want them to grow, cover with a little dirt and you are good to go....as long as the squirrels leave them alone. Sometimes birds will drop seeds and one will grow, sometimes I leave it where it is or sometimes I move it. I just take the seed head off when the flower has died (before the squirrels get them) and dry them. Take the seeds out and replant in the spring.

By Chris Ellyson [2]10/02/2006

Did you try a google search ? Most questions like this are fairly easy to answer once you explore a couple of the voluminous links you'll find via google. Best wishes.

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