When to start saving seeds from the sunflowers?

Sunflower    Karachi, Pakistan

I can see the seeds now that much of the disk florets have fallen, I saw many fallen on the floor today, before I was wondering where the florets were disappearing. There are more photos of the recent activity in my plant journal [http://bit.ly/1qAn1Vi] related to this post.

I have two questions now; first being, when can I chop the heads off and start saving the seeds? I am still watering the plant as I was when it was thriving and a significant amount of leaves are still green, not to mention the new multiple flower-heads at the base of one of the plants. Also one of the two plants (the one few days older than the other) the whole stem of which has turned yellow along with the leaves close to the flower which are almost dried off. I expect the other one to go yellow like the older one too. However when would be the right time to cut the heads and extract the seeds? Should I keep watering and let the whole plants dry off and die naturally?

My second question is regarding this - if you may, accidental birth of a seedling. I was told by Kerry Mauck here to avoid using the old soil to grow new sunflower plants as the new seedlings are vulnerable to pests. My concern is, should I dig this newly sprout out along with a section of the soil it's in currently and raise it in a cup and transfer to the lawn outside where I have been planning on growing new seeds?

My plan is to discard the soil in this pot after the two large sunflowers die and start over with fresh soil and new seeds.

Posted by: Naveed (6 points) Naveed
Posted: December 23, 2014


Hi Naveed,
I would stop watering the plant ,cut the heads off and string them in a dry place until the entire head is dry . Then the seeds will seperate from the flower fairly easily by just rubbing them. Sunflowers do take up large amounts of nutrients so fresh soil is definately recommended .

Posted by: Tony (8 points) Tony
Posted: December 23, 2014

Naveed commented,
Hi Tony, thanks for your advice. I followed it and cut the flower heads yesterday which is documented in my plant journal here http://bit.ly/1qAn1Vi. As I was cleaning out the florets off of the sunflower heads few seeds came off, but they're softer than the ones I bought from the store. Will the drying harden them? And how long should I keep them hanging for drying?
almost 6 years ago.

Naveed commented,
I saw the heads today, they have curved up a bit compared to when I hung them up top. Its as though whatever little moisture they had is gone now. Also I never covered it with a bag as I don't get any birds that are crazy for sunflower seeds. But just now after reading this http://bit.ly/1ruRzxo I have covered the heads with a paper bag to see if seeds are falling off, I also tried rubbing the seeds with my hands and they're stuck to the heads pretty hard. But I wouldn't care how easily they come off just as long as I don't over dry them as I need to grow more sunflowers from these and get a good germination success rate.
almost 6 years ago.

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