Now that you have grown your crop of beautiful sunflowers, you will want to know how to harvest sunflowers. When is the best time, and how do you do it? Read on for our best tips on doing just this!
What You'll Learn Today
When Are Sunflowers Ready To Harvest
When you harvest your sunflowers depends on what you want them for. Do you want to have pretty flowers around the house? Or are you more interested in eating the seeds? Your flower harvest will be earlier than your seed harvest, but both types are very rewarding.
If you are harvesting your sunflowers for their blooms, then the best time to do this is when the flowers are at their brightest and fullest, but before the seeds have started to develop too much.
To get the most out of your sunflower seeds, harvest them when the seeds are round and fully developed and the petals have dropped off – but don’t leave them too long otherwise the seeds will dry out.
Tools For Harvesting Sunflowers
You can choose either some sharp scissors, which will work really well as sunflower stems are usually quite slim, and easily snippable with a pair of scissors.
Or, if you want to get through some stronger stems, or the main trunk itself, then a pair of good secateurs should do the trick.
If you have a really big sunflower then you might want to use a small folding saw, but this is not usually necessary for harvesting sunflowers.
It is always a good idea to wear thick gloves when pruning any plant, so that you don’t accidentally cut yourself, and you can also wear eye protection so you don’t get splashed by any wayward sap.
How To Harvest Sunflowers
1. For Flowers
If you want to harvest your sunflower heads for adding a bit of beauty around your house then this is fairly easy.
Simply wait until the blooms are looking their finest, and before the seed head has started to discolour and go brown, then snip the flower head off. You can choose the length of the stem depending on the size and depth of your vase.
You can then either leave these sunflowers as they are and enjoy them in a vase for as long as they last, or you can choose to dry and preserve their beauty for months (or even years) to come.
2. For Seeds
In order to enjoy the seeds from the sunflower, you will need to leave the plant standing in the ground until all the leaves and petals have dropped off, and the whole plant looks pretty dead (you may also need to stake it to keep it upright).
Harvesting the seeds is fairly easy. All you need to do is take your dried out sunflower head and run a fork down it (or, if you have another sunflower head then just rub them together) and the seeds should fall right off.
Alternately, you can hang the head in a bag in a dark, warm, dry place for a few weeks, and the seeds should just drop off into the bag all by themselves – they may need a little encouragement to get the last ones off.
Here is a short video on how to harvest sunflowers for the best effects:
How to harvest sunflowers is fairly easy, but when to harvest them depends what you want them for. You could, of course, use half your crop for flowers and the other half for seeds, then you get the best of both worlds!