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Sunflower Seeds: Know How to Plant, Harvest, Cook

Angela, though not a natural green thumb, has studied gardening in order to better care for her yard.

How To Plant Sunflower Seeds

Sunflowers are reasonably easy to grow. In order to optimize the best height and growth, early spring is an ideal time to plant their seeds, although it is important to wait until the last frost in order to protect any new seedlings. Perennial sunflowers grow about two feet tall, while annuals can reach as high as eight feet. The maximum height depends a lot on the weather and how well it is cared for.

  • Choose a spot in your garden, where the flowers will get plenty of sun.
  • They do best with at least six hours of sun. The shade is not essential. Therefore they can get continual sun without harming them.
  • They also need lots of water, especially early on in the growing season.
  • The flowers should be planted at a particular distance from one another, which depends on what kind of sunflowers are bought. Therefore, read the individual seed packets.
  • It is ideal to have well-fertilized soil, so composting or fertilizing is a great idea.
  • Plant the seeds at least two inches into the soil. Having soil well-tilled is important to help roots grow deep.

Sunflower Seeds

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

1 hour

30 min

1 hour 30 min

Many snack sizes


  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • sunflower seeds, unhusked
  • 1 tsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 Tbs dry seasoning, of your choice

A Husked and Unhusked Sunflower

The black part is the part that you will flavor, but the husked portion is the edible part of the sunflower.

The black part is the part that you will flavor, but the husked portion is the edible part of the sunflower.

How To Harvest and Flavor Sunflower Seeds

  1. After you harvest sunflower seeds, rinse thoroughly to get rid of dirt and debris. The best way to do this is to put sunflower seeds in a deep pot, then scoop the sunflower seeds out. The sunflowers will rise to the top; debris and dirt will go to the bottom. Also, damaged sunflower seeds often will sink as well.
  2. Then, sift through the seeds to rid of any damaged ones. Flat sunflower seeds or ones with holes in them are not suitable for eating.
  3. Place sunflowers in a large bowl or pot, add water and salt, then let them soak for 1 hour. If you would like a deeper flavor, you may soak them overnight.
  4. Once soaked with saltwater, place on a paper towel to dry.
  5. Grease the pan or cookie sheet with oil or butter.
  6. Place the sunflower seeds in a pan.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees, occasionally stirring to prevent browning.
  8. Once baked, you can place two cups of warm sunflower seeds in a plastic bag with a tsp of olive oil or butter, and coat them with the seasoning of your choice, such as salt, cayenne pepper, garlic. Any flavoring that tastes great on popcorn will taste great on sunflower seeds. Then shake the bag to maximize full coverage of sunflower seeds.
  9. Then let them cool and enjoy!

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

  • Sunflower seeds are highly beneficial for your heart, your immune system, your bones, and skin.
  • They contain Vitamin E, which is key in preventing cardiovascular disease and protects our skin from ultraviolet rays.
  • Vitamin E is also an anti-inflammatory, which means it helps prevent inflammation that asthma, arthritis, or bowel disease causes.
  • Contains magnesium, which helps calm our nerves and encourages bone growth, and prevents bone loss.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Angela Michelle Schultz


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on August 09, 2015:

I love sunflowers, but I never had the seeds before. I would love to give it a go. Voted up for useful. Lovely photos!

Dianna Mendez on February 02, 2013:

Sunflowers seeds are a really good healthy snack and I love the taste when they are flavored with something spicy. Good post and very well done.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on January 30, 2013:

I love sunflower seeds, and the flowers are very pretty and cheery. Good hub! If I had a yard I would definitely think of growing some.

idigwebsites from United States on January 29, 2013:

I love sunflowers, they make me cheery every time I see them. I also munch on sunflower seeds. Thanks for the recipe. Up, useful and a following :)

RTalloni on January 29, 2013:

I'm putting "Start Sunflower Seeds" on my March calendar right now--thanks for the reminder, and for the recipe!

carol stanley from Arizona on January 29, 2013:

Great photos and very interesting...I use sunflower seeds all the time in cooking.

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