Sunflower microgreens ready for harvest.

Edible sunflower microgreens

by Comments (15)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Find our full disclosure here.

Looking for something to satisfy your green thumb AND fill your belly with fresh veggies this winter? Look no further than sunflower microgreens! Graced with a nutty flavor and a crunchy texture, sunflower microgreens are nothing short of awesome in sandwiches, soups, salads, scrambled eggs, and wraps. Both the leaves and the stems are edible. In this gardener’s opinion, sunflower shoots are the finest of all the microgreens. I’ll be starting a batch of my own later this week and continue growing them all winter long. It’s easy, fun, and a great project for kids.

Here are all the steps you’ll need to grow sunflower microgreens yourself.

1. Purchase quality seed. I use black oil sunflower seeds. Though other types will work, these are the least expensive. You can purchase seeds intended for use as birdseed (FYI: there are no GMO sunflowers at this time, so that’s not a concern). Or, if you’re looking for certified organic seeds, here’s a good source.

2. Soak two cups of seeds in warm water for 12 hours in a covered container.

3. Drain and rinse.

4. Soak the seeds again in warm water for another 8-12 hours (Repeat steps 3 and 4 once more, if the seeds haven’t started to sprout).

5. Once the seeds have begun to sprout, fill a clean, plastic nursery tray with moistened seed-starting potting mix nearly to the top.

6. Sow the seeds thickly across the entire tray then cover it with another inverted nursery tray to block out the light. There is no need to cover the germinating seeds with more potting soil. Be sure there are some small holes in the top tray to allow for ventilation.

7. Water the tray from the bottom once or twice per day by setting the tray in a bigger tray of water for a few minutes.

8. As the shoots grow, they’ll push up the top tray (usually within a few days). At this point, remove the top tray to expose the growing seedlings to light.

9. Flick off any seed coats stuck to the growing leaves.

10. Move the tray under a grow light or in front of a bright window so the shoots can “green-up”.

11. Continue to regularly water.

12. Harvest the sunflower shoots when they reach four inches high by cutting them off at soil level with a sharp, clean scissors.

13. Store unwashed sunflower microgreens in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days. Wash them as you need them by running the shoots under cold water.

As you can see, growing sunflower microgreens is fun and simple. You can also try growing basil microgreens, ‘Red Garnet’ amaranth shoots, pea shoots, or even spicy mustard microgreens using the same directions. Enjoy!

For more on growing vegetables in the winter, check out the following posts: 

Do you grow other microgreens? Which ones are your favorite? 

Growing Sunflower Microgreens: Step by step instructions

Related Posts

15 Responses to Edible sunflower microgreens

  1. Colleen says:

    I’ve got seedlings started. Once you cut the leaves, is the plant dead or will it continue to grow?

  2. george b lyons says:

    Do seeds need to be in the dark to germinate?

    • Squid says:

      No, I just imagine that the tray helps to maintain the moisture at the soil surface to stop the seeds drying out. It’s an understandable misconception, I personally like to just add another quarter inch of soil, though it’s slightly messier and doesn’t work well if you’re watering from below. Another alternative many people use is cling wrap, though this idea of a tray is much more sensible since you can reuse it rather than waste.

    • Bdubs says:

      I have read that blackout for a few days strengthens roots before letting the sprouts see light.

  3. JA says:

    Awesome. I have seen black oil sunflower seeds at the enthusiast “sprouting” websites for between $7 and $13 per lb, PLUS shipping. I saw that and said to myself, “that’s pretty expensive for bird seeds”, and then.. “wait a minute… BIRD SEEDS”.
    Bought a 10 lb bag of name brand black oil sunflower seeds (bird seed) at Home Depot for $6.95. Yes, that’s $.70 per lb with no shipping, as opposed to $10+ per lb with shipping.
    Granted, you have to pick through the seeds to get out small sticks etc but who cares- that takes 30 seconds. Very viable, very high germination rates. Raw, living sprouts are part of my dinner every day, delicious, packed with nutrition and literally a few pennies per serving.
    As you indicate, pre-soaking the seeds overnight is key. The outer shell is thick and hard, you have to really soak them to get the seed inside wet had activate it.

  4. SisWendygal says:

    Thanks for the post! Right after I bought my ‘birdseed’ for micro greens an article in some blog cautioned against the seed maybe not fit for human consumption??? I thoroughly washed them x3, picked out the sticks and now 1 week later-they are AMAZING!!!

  5. Diane says:

    The link to the plastic nursery tray had no drain holes. How do you water from the bottom then?

  6. ian says:

    Hi! Got a question. Where I live I only can get the confection sunflower seeds ( the ones who are made for direct human consume) Or Birdseeds.
    Can I use them too?

  7. Hamad says:


    I had finished harvesting the microgreens and then washed them after which i placed them in front of a fan to dry for a bit. The reason for this is that i was going to pack them in containers and store them in the fridge for later. The drying was to prevent any condensation buildup from wet microgreens while being stored; but when I came back I guess I left the microgreens in front of the fan for too long and they’re now wilted from the loss of moisture. Anything i can do to rejuvenate them?

    • I’d give them a quick spritz of water or wash them again. Instead of drying my microgreens, I put a folded paper towel in the bag or container with them in the fridge. This soaks up any excess moisture without drying the sprouts out.

  8. Adelle says:

    I have always sprouted black oil birdseed by just putting a thin layer of birdseed on a shallow tray, with about 1″ potting mix on top, water it and voila – in about 10-12 days i have a tray of sunflower sprouts. No soaking, no extra tray… What’s all the fuss about?

    Sometimes I use one of the plastic spinach containers from the grocery store and leave the lid down, checking on them periodically to see if it needs to be moistened with a spray bottle of water. It usually doesn’t.

  9. Nada Mercuri says:

    Wish I had read this before adding ordering microgreen sunflower seeds online.
    Will definitely be buying birdseed for the next batch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *