Help with saving Sunflower seeds

dancingmoonsSeptember 7, 2005

I have decided to try to save some of my favorite sunflower seeds this year, I had to order these seeds to get them, and would rather not have to do that again...

I have "Vanilla Ice" sunflowers...

I just dont know how to go about it, before my birds get to them!!!

Any help would be great!

Thanks :)


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garden_witch(z6a MI)

When the seed heads begin to ripen, cover with a light, loose wooven fabric. You can use Remay if you can afford to spare it, but your best bet is sheer curtains. If you don't have any around the house try Goodwill or Salvation Army stores, or even the local dollar store. Just cut a piece big enough to cover the head and tie around the stem to keep it in place.
Harvest the flower head when it looks completely dead. Hang the seed heads in a warm dry place with lots of air circulation, you can leave the fabric on to catch seeds. When the flower head is good and dry, work the seeds off gently with you fingers and let them dry further on a big plate or tray for a week or so depending on size.

Hope this helps, it works for me =)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 4:24PM
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    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 10:13PM
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Generally speaking, when the backside of the flower head turns yellow, the seeds are ripe. But even when I leave them to turn brown on the stem, the birds usually leave me a scant few seeds. I know it's frustrating, but one of the major reasons I grow them in the first place is to attract American Gold Finches, so some major seed sacrifice is warranted, I think.

Bill, who has collected only a couple of dozen seeds from my Mexican Sunflowers so far, dang those pesky finches!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 2:31PM
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I have already removed the seeds from the head of my sunflowers as some were falling . Have ALOT. Can I just put them in a paper bag in the dark where it's dry till spring for storage even though they are no longer on the head? Does anyone know ?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 11:51AM
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Some of my seeds turned moldy when I left them in a bag and stored them in my humid garage. They did better when I had them inside in air conditioning.
I too have struggled with feeding my bird friends and saving my seeds. I started putting heads out for them in a hanging planter (makeshift bird feeder). I worry that if I cut the sunflower head off too soon, the seeds will have not completely filled out...

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 2:47PM
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lblack61(z5 NY)

So am I right in thinking the seeds should fall out of the head on their own (I shouldn't have to pull them out?)
(Sorry for the stupid question, but, well, I'm stupid when it comes to this seed saving

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 7:43AM
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celeste75(Z 5 NY)

They don't always fall out. You have to work at it most of the time and pick them out.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 10:19PM
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These are different from sunflowers I've grown in the past. Has anyone here harvested seeds for next year's planting?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 7:19PM
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doris836(z5 IN)

I harvest mine all the time and put on a paper plate. I put them in my spare bedroom and plant them next year. mine grws fine. I have a lot of seeds as I waited for the birds to eat them then I picked them off. Works every time for me.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:59PM
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I concur with Doris; let them dry thoroughly by spreading them out. I pick the heads when they are turning yellow; and allow to dry. When thoroughly dry (a month or so), I pick the seeds out, let them dry some more, and store them in plastic baggies in frig. Been doing this for a very long time, and plant my own each spring.

I think the key to saving any seed is the drying.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Darn,,, I should have saved the numerous sunflower seeds from the plants I bought at JOhnny seeds a few years ago.. Darn... I did the vanilla ice one which was brown and light yellow,, it turned out pretty well along with about other 5 other sunflowers. Ignorance is bliss!! :(

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:05PM
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Would appreciate more information on saving Hybrid Sunflower Seeds.
I am saving seeds from 'Lemon CHiffon' but when I open the seeds they're empty. Is this typical of hybrids?


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:31PM
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grassyfields, I know it's a long time passed...

Hybrids are a one-off. They are specifically bred from two different plants to achieve desired results. Because the hybrid seed comes from two different plants any seed produced from the hybrid will not be stable (You could get anything...or not at all).

It not uncommon to not have any seed from hybridized plants.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 7:36PM
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