How to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

If you’ve ever wanted to grow your own Sunflowers and Harvest the seeds to eat, then this How to guide is for you!

sunflower seeds

This year I decided to plant some Sunflowers in an attempt to be able to harvest sunflower seeds.

I like to try and grow all my fruit and vegetables from seed, which I have been pretty successful at so I decided to grow my sunflowers from seed.

I have read that they are super easy to grow, especially if they get a lot of sun. One of the benefits of living in Southern California is we get plenty of sun year-round!

sunflowers after a couple of weeks
Sunflowers after a couple of weeks

I wanted to be a little different so I decided to use Mammoth Russian Sunflower Seeds. I am not a specialist in sunflowers or a florist by any stretch of the imagination but the only difference I can tell is that the center of the sunflower (I’m sure there’s a technical word for it) is yellow instead of brown we typically see in pictures or on TV.

sunflowers growing very fast
Sunflowers after 1 month

Did you know the Sunflower is the State flower of Kansas? Here in California, our State flower is the California Poppy. While the poppy is a beautiful flower, I think I prefer the Sunflower. I mean who doesn’t love a nice Sunflower?

Sunflowers after a few months

The best piece of advice I can give you is to make sure you have a lot of space when planting sunflowers. The heads can reach 1 foot across and reach heights of anywhere from 7 to 12 feet.

They do like a lot of sun so be mindful of that as well. In my experience, you should see your seeds germinate within 2 weeks.

The amount of water you need is really based on your location and weather but here in Southern California, I watered mine every other day for about 15 minutes.

You might want to consult an expert in your area for a watering schedule.

russian sunflower

Your Sunflowers should be ready to harvest after about 3 months. While that is a good point of reference it is best you wait until the head of the sunflower begins to droop, the petals start falling off and the seeds are loose.

When the sunflower is ready, cut the stem about 1 foot below the head. At this point, I use some twine to hang my sunflowers upside down in a warm dry place for about 5 days.

drying out sunflowers in a warm dry place
Hang Sunflowers in a Dry Place for 5 days

Firmly rub the head of the flower where the seeds are located over a container to catch all the seeds. You will most likely collect other debris besides the seeds and that is ok. We will get rid of them before we roast them.

Once you have removed all the seeds from the sunflowers you are ready to prep them for roasting. In a large pot, soak the seeds in a mixture of water and about 1/4 cup of salt overnight.

Depending on the number of seeds you have I suggest between 4 and 6 cups of water. If you prefer non-salted sunflower seeds simply soak the seeds overnight in water without the salt.

After the sunflower seeds have soaked overnight, place them in a colander and separate the seeds from all the other bits. Dry the seeds on paper towels for a few hours.

sunflower seeds in a bowl

For more great tutorials like this one, make sure you check out all my other How-To articles. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of onion to use for a particular recipe check out my article on Choosing the Right Onion.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Place the brined seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently until the seeds have slightly browned.
  4. Remove the seeds from the oven and let cool.

Printable Recipe Card

harvest sunflower seeds

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

If you've ever wanted to grow your own Sunflowers and Harvest the seeds to eat, then this How to guide is for you!
4.74 from 15 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course Snacks
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 196 kcal


  • 1 Cup Sunflower Seeds, pre-brined
  • 6 Cups Water
  • ¼ Cup Salt


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Place the seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently until the seeds have slightly browned.
  • Remove the seeds from the oven and let cool.

Recipe Video


Serving: 0.25CupCalories: 196kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 7gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 17IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information provided for this recipe is based on 1 serving. This information is an estimate and may vary based on several factors. If nutritional information is important to you and your diet, please verify this recipe with a Registered Dietitian.

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  1. Violet O’Brien says:

    Great brine and bake recipe! However I have to say for growing mammoth sunflowers, if you’re growing for seed size the best way to achieve a larger seed is to plant each sunflower by itself, not clumped together. This allows each plant room to grow and produce seeds the size of my thumb!

  2. Abbey says:

    Super great info…all the way from start to finish!! Exactly what I was looking for in one location! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.