Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Annuals

Easy Annuals for Summer Color (page 4 of 4)

by Susan Littlefield

Question of the Month: Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

Q:I would like to save the seeds from my sunflowers. How do I do this?

A: You'll need to let the seeds mature on the flower-heads before you harvest them. You'll know they're ready when the green bracts that surround the flower turn brown and the back side of the flower turns yellowish. This may take up to 3 or 4 weeks after the petals fall from the flower. However, the birds will be watching for the petals to fall as well, ready to harvest your seeds first unless you protect the ripening flower-heads. So when you see the petals start to fall, enclose the individual heads in paper bags until the seed is mature. Then cut the heads and hang them in a dry spot with good air circulation for a couple of weeks or until the seeds come away from the heads easily. Store the seeds at room temperature in an airtight container with some commercial desiccant to keep them from getting moldy. Then you can share your bounty with the birds over the winter months.

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