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Grow Sunflower microgreens

Sunflower microgreens, or sunflower shoots, are the young, tender, and edible sprouts of the sunflower plant. They’re easy to grow indoors, either under grow lights or in a bright window, and can add some fresh flavor to your diet any time of year!

freshy cut sunflower microgreens on a cutting board with a black plastic 5x5 tray filled with sunflower shoots in the background with text overlay "how to grow sunflower microgreens"

The thick leaves and stems have a subtle nutty flavor that adds a delicious crunch to sandwiches and are tasty enough to eat on their own.

How to Grow Sunflower Shoots

When it comes to indoor gardening sunflower shoots are one of the best options when it comes to volume.

small tray of homegrown sunflower microgreens

The large seeds produce shoots (or microgreens) with thick stems and seed leaves while the seed leaves are softly rounded and have a nice, juicy crunch.

Sunflower shoots have a pretty quick turnaround which is great for the less patient among us. In fact, if you wait too long to harvest your plants will start to send out their first set of true leaves and won’t be edible anymore.

Sunflower Microgreen Supplies

Like most large-seeded microgreens, sunflower shoots do best when planted in potting soil, seed starting mix or a soil-less medium like coconut coir.

I tend to use what I have laying around and I haven’t noticed them being particularly picky.

Purely from a practical angle, I think compressed coconut coir blocks like Minute Soil from True Leaf Market are the easiest to keep on hand. They don’t take up much space and they absorb water quickly so you can get planting in no time.

Your seed will germinate fastest if you soak them for 3-6 hours before planting, if you accidentally forget and leave them overnight… It’s fine, it’s fine just plant them.

soaked sunflower seeds in a 5x5 plastic tray on coconut coir growing media

Drain and scatter the seeds over about 1.5 inches of damp soil. You don’t have to cover them with soil, in my experience, it keeps the microgreens cleaner if you don’t.

sunflower microgreen tray with an empty tray on top to provide pressure and block out light

Take another tray, or anything solid and opaque, place it over the seeds and gently press down to push the seeds into the soil. The tray provides some resistance for the seeds to push against and keeps them in the dark until they germinate.

soaked sunflower seeds showing first signs of germination

Check the trays daily to make sure they aren’t drying out and in a day or so you’ll notice little white root tips poking out from the seeds.

The seeds will germinate faster in warmer temperatures or on a seedling heat mat but it’s absolutely not necessary. My house is at best 65 degrees in the winter and they grow perfectly.

5x5 tray of sunflower seeds growing into sunflower microgreens after having black out tray removed

After 3-4 days you’ll have a lot more growth and the top tray will be lifting up. Sunflower roots are very thick and they’ll often have a halo of fuzzy-looking root hairs, it’s a good thing so don’t confuse it with mold!

At this point, you can remove the cover and set the tray in a bright, south-facing window or under a growlight.

top view of sunflower shoots grown in 5x5 tray
Can you guess where the grow light was?

Keep the soil moist but not soggy by watering from the bottom and your sprouts will be ready to harvest in 7-10 days.

Harvesting Sunflower Shoots

You can pinch the shoots off near the root with your fingers but I like to give them a quick snip with small scissors.

small pile of cut sunflower shoots

It’s pretty easy to pull the entire root up and when that happens you’ll get soil in your delicious sunflower shoots!

close up of sunflower microgreen with seed coat still on cotyledon leaves

Most of the seed hulls will fall off as the plants grow but any remaining are easy to remove with the brush of a hand or some careful picking.

Storing Sunflower Shoots

Sunflower microgreens can be stored for a short time in the fridge. After cutting them above the soil line and picking off any remaining seed coats wrap them in a damp paper towel and store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Your microgreen should be good for 5-7 days, make sure to toss them if they get slimy or grow mold.

Sunflower Shoot Recipes

Sunflower shoots or microgreens have a texture similar to large bean sprouts. They have a sweet and nutty flavor with a thick crunchy texture.

I’ll admit I tend to eat my shoots as a snack on their own but sometimes I get a little creative in the kitchen and here are a few ways to do so:

Check out my Vegetable Garden page for more ideas or start here:

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tipped over mason jar filled with green alfalfa sprouts, sprouts spilling onto a wooden cutting board with text overlay "how to grow sprouts for fresh food anytime"