Sunflowers are a beautiful sight, and will brighten up bouquets of cut flowers instantly – although they are pretty big, and might overshadow the other flowers! They can also be displayed on their own to showcase their beauty. Read on to learn more on how to preserve sunflowers.
What You'll Learn Today
What Can You Preserve From Sunflowers
All of the useful parts of the sunflower can be preserved, from the flowers to the seeds.
- Sunflowers are huge, bright, cheerful blooms that will make an amazing centerpiece. They will last a good while in a vase of water too, making them a great choice for having around the house.
- Seeds are useful as culinary additions – they are used in breads, salads, bakes – as well as nibbled on their own. It can be a little fiddly to get them as you buy them in the shops, as the outer husks must be removed.
How To Dry Sunflowers
You can either pick your sunflowers and display them in a vase in your home, and enjoy their bright, sunny color for up to a fortnight before they wither and die, or you can go for longer methods of sunflower preserving.
If you have picked a bloom early enough, before the seeds really start to develop, you can press it in the same way as you would press a smaller flower.
If you don’t own a flower press then you can wrap the flower head in tissue paper and weigh it down under something heavy – a good big recipe book, or perhaps a book about sunflowers?
Another method is to tie a piece of string around the bottom of the stem, and hang the sunflowers upside down in a dry, dark place for around 2 weeks. You can dry more than one in this way; just make sure that their heads don’t touch.
Check them after two weeks and you can leave them longer if they are not dry enough – this can take up to three weeks.
Finally, coat the flowers in hairspray. This will preserve the look, shape and color of the petals. This method is best done with sunflowers that have not completely developed so that the seeds don’t end up dropping out.
Here is a useful video to show you the best ways to dry sunflowers:
How Long Do Cut Sunflowers Last
Cut sunflowers can last up to two weeks once they are cut and displayed in a vase, as long as you keep them in plenty of water. You can add plant food to this water too, to help them last longer.
If you treat your cut sunflowers with a drying agent, you should find that they last even longer – for several years even, as long as they don’t get dropped or damaged. The colors won’t be as vibrant, but they will still keep their beauty.
Pressed flowers tend to lose their shape and often most of their color, but pressing them is a good way of preserving them, and they can be used in arts and crafts as well as decorating the room.
How To Preserve Sunflowers For Seeds
This is a very easy method of preserving sunflowers – all you need to do is leave the stems in the ground until all the petals have dropped off. As long as the weather is still dry and relatively warm, this will work.
You should place a net, or cheesecloth, over the heads to protect them from marauding birds who will eat all the seeds before you’ve had a chance to! This will also help to catch any seeds that might fall off.
You might need to stake the plant to hold it upright before you manage to harvest the seeds, as the stem will likely have died and started to wither before the seeds are ready, and the weight of the head can pull the entire plant down.
Removing the seeds is easy – either scrape them off with a fork, or rub two sunflower heads together and you will be rewarded with thousands of seeds!
How to preserve sunflowers is an easier job than you might think, and it is very rewarding. Even if you are not going to eat the seeds, or display the flowers around you house, you will always be able to remember the year you grew the best sunflowers ever!