Sunflower Microgreens 101 - Your Guide to Perfect Growth (2023)

Sunflower is one of the most popular microgreens out there and is often among the first to grow when getting started.

Whether you're growing your first tray or fixing an issue you had with your latest microgreen sunflower crop, you'll find this guideextremelyhelpful.

Let's get into that by looking at the basics of sunflower microgreens.

Basics of microgreens

Taste good

People love sunflower microgreens for their nutty flavor. They retain the flavor of a raw sunflower seed but also impart a lighter, fresher flavor.

Sunflower microgreens have a texture similar to fresh spinach, with soft and somewhat sturdy leaves and wonderfully crisp stems.


Sunflower microgreens are one of the most nutritious microgreens out there - quite possibly one of the most nutritious foods out there.

Microgreens naturally contain a greater concentration of nutrients than older, more developed plants. And with sunflower microgreens in particular, you get an insane nutrient boost with every bite.

Sunflower microgreens are high in calcium, a respectable dose of iron, and plenty of vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.


To germinate microgreen sunflower seeds, you should first soak them in water for four to six hours.

After thorough soaking, fill a bowl or container with a layer of potting soil. Then spread the soaked seeds evenly over the soil.

Next, give the seeds a good watering, making sure both soil and seeds are saturated.

Lastly, cover the seeds with another tray, preferably one without holes, and set aside.

After three to four days, your sunflower microgreens will have sprouted and are ready for the next phase of growth.


After seven or eight days of growth, including germination, power outages, and exposure to light (more on that below), your sunflower microgreens will be ready to harvest.

Be sure to use scissors to remove as many seed coats from the canopy as possible before harvesting.

Cut close to the ground and harvest handful after handful. Don't leave any of these delicious seedlings behind!

The type

The most popular type of sunflower seed is "black oil". This strain is undoubtedly the most popular for microgreens.

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Another type of seed you can find is "striped," which is the common type of seed you may have snacked on or seen on a salad.

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds(like this one from True Leaf Market) are preferable as they have thinner shells than regular seeds. They also have a higher oil content. Both strains are nutritious, but black oil is the seed of choice for microgreens growers.

Other things to consider are whether your seeds are organic or conventional. In general, organic is preferable because, among other things, there are no synthetic chemicals used in organic farming. However, organic seeds are more expensive.

Finally, all types of microgreen seeds should be non-GMO.

ease of growth

Although sunflower microgreens aren't the easiest to grow, it's quite simple once you know the steps and precautions to take.

Quality seeds, specifically selected for microgreen propagation, make a world of difference. The germination rate of microgreen seeds is much higher than that of regular seeds.

One thing that makes sunflower microgreens tricky is that you have to soak the seeds beforehand. Many seeds don't need this, but sunflower seeds do.

Many growers overwater their seeds. I hear people recommending a 24 hour bath is way too much!

By reducing the soaking time to about four to six hours, you increase germination rates. And overwatered seeds tend to break down faster, which can lead to mold later.

Another extra step when growing sunflower microgreens is using a weighted tray for germination. For the best possible yield, you should set up your tray for germination like any other plant, but place a 5- to 15-pound tray on top of the cover tray so it presses down on the seeds. This extra weight makes the seedlings stronger and forces them to drive their roots deeper into the soil.

However, this step is optional. Sunflower microgreens will grow well without this step, it just slightly increases your yields.

After you've tried sunflower microgreens a few times, they'll seem a lot less intimidating. With practice, they become almost as easy as any other type of microgreen.

Cultivation of sunflower microgreens


Prepare trays

Start with a10×20 tray without holes. This is the basis of our seed tray. Place a10×20 tray with holesin this. The top tray holds the soil and seeds. The holes are designed to allow the roots to grow into the lower tray, which is used for soil irrigation (more on that later).

growth medium

Next, fill the bowl to the brim with good qualitypotting soil. Good soil for sunflower microgreens should have a balance of aeration, drainage, and water capacity. For sunflowers in particular, you need soil that doesn't compact too much under pressure. I recommend using itHappy Frog potting soil. This is a great blend of peat moss, perlite, and fertilizer.

soak seeds

The seeds you want to use areblack sunflower seeds. Compared to regular striped sunflower seeds, black oilseeds have very thin shells and just do so much better in a microgreen system.

Check out this article where I share my favorite sourcesMikrogrüne Together online.

Soak your microgreen sunflower seeds for four to six hours before planting. Don't soak the seeds for too long or they will break down as they grow, potentially causing disease and mold problems.

(Video) Let’s Grow Black Oil Sunflower Microgreens

Once your seeds are soaked, they are ready to be planted.


Sow after soaking150 GrammPlace seeds in bowl and spread evenly. Lightly press the seeds into the soil. Avoid clumping too many seeds together in one part of the shell. Sowing seeds too close together can lead to disease problems later.

Water the seeds and soil liberally. Spray the tray until everything is nice and saturated, but not to the point where water is dripping into the bottom tray.

Cover the seeds with another tray, one without holes, so the bottom of this new tray presses on the top of the seeds.

Put a weight, e.g. B. a paver or a flat stone, on this tray. Weight should ideally be between 5 and 15 pounds. You can go deeper but not higher or you will crush the seedlings!

It's best to get something wide and flat that's as close to the size of the 10×20 tray as possible to evenly distribute the weight.

The brick helps keep germination even, making the seedlings strong and forcing their roots deeper into the soilgrowing media. This is an optional step. The weight will slightly improve your final harvest - it's not required.

Now we can put the stack of shells aside for sproutingfour days.

Once a day every day, lift the weight and cover the tray, check your seeds and mist them lightly with water. On the fourth day of watering you should see nice, even germination.

On the fourth day, in addition to the seeds and soil, you can spray the bottom tray.

Just spray the bottom tray so the roots that reach down have some extra water and stay white instead of turning brown.

Black-out stage

Now it's time to get rid of the weight.

We're going to stop pressing on the seedlings and switch to a blackout configuration to block the light. Darkness is essential for this part of growth.

Cover your germinated seeds with the same tray as before, but this time upside down. Your top tray (cover tray) should be bottom side up. This creates space above the seedlings for them to grow and blocks the light.

Spray the seedlings and bottom tray twice a day, morning and evening, for two more days.

After nebulizing, replace the cover shell to continue blocking out the light.

under the lights

On the seventh day we will lose the covering tray and move on to growing under lights.

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At this stage, with the addition of heat and light, our sunflower seedlings need extra water. We will continue to water twice a day, but in addition to spraying the top of the seedlings we will also do what is calledsoil irrigation.

Soil irrigation is simply pouring a cup of nutrient solution (water mixed with fertilizer) into the soil tray to feed the roots directly.

To make Sunflower Microgreens Broth, mix together ½ ounce of thisocean solutionfertilizer with a gallon of water. This amount of solution is enough for you to see your microgreens through to harvest.

To recap: keep watering twice a day. Each watering session should consist of a spray on the seedlings and a cup of nutrient solution in the bottom tray.

Do this for two more days.

time to harvest

By day eight, your microgreens should look big, green, full, and tasty. That means it's time to harvest!

Do not water the microgreens before harvest. Any additional water at this point would increase the likelihood of mold growth during storage.

Take clean scissors. Carefully take a handful of microgreens at a time and cut them off as close to the bottom as possible without actually touching the bottom.

Work slowly, being careful not to swirl soil onto the edible parts of the seedlings.

Store microgreens

Your sunflower microgreens can be eaten right away or kept in the fridge. These microgreens do not need to be washed.

Carefully fill an airtight plastic bag with your microgreens. Slip a paper towel or two into the bag to absorb moisture and prevent mold. Seal the bag and refrigerate. These will keep in the fridge for at least a week to a month

If you want to wash these, wash them immediately before eating. If sunflower microgreens get wet before storage, this will inevitably lead to mold problems.

How to eat sunflower microgreens

Sunflower microgreens can be eaten in a million different ways. The nutty, crunchy taste is surprisingly versatile.

Try cramming a bunch of these into a sandwich or burger. Put them on a pizza, in tacos, scrambled eggs - you can get creative with them.

And of course, these taste great in just about any salad you can think of.

If you've never tried sunflower microgreens, the first thing you should do is put a few in your mouth raw. There's nothing quite like the taste of truly fresh microgreens.

As a garnish, these little taste bombs bring color and excitement to the plate. Simply sprinkle a few whole microgreens around a steak, chicken breast, or piece of fish to take your plating game to the next level.

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If you're into smoothies, you know that sunflower microgreens are a great addition to any blender. Orange, mango, banana, chia seeds, and sunflower microgreens are my personal favorites.

The nuttiness of the microgreens balances the acidity and sweetness of the mango. Just add ice on a hot day and you have a refreshing, nutrient-packed drink to die for.

For an easy introduction to cooked sunflower microgreens, try sautéing them in olive oil with salt and pepper. Take these beauties out of the pan and toss them with a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette or a squeeze of lime juice.

Your taste buds will thank you.

And if you're feeling mischievous - try one of thesethese great recipesthat bring out the flavor of your ultra-nutritious sunflower microgreens:

related questions

Can you grow sunflower microgreens without soil?

Although it is possible to grow sunflowersMicrogreens without soil using hydroponicsor a growing pad - it is not recommended.

Sunflower microgreens are sturdier than most microgreens and benefit from deeper root growth. If you are growing on a soilless grow medium (hemp, burlap, BioStrate, etc.) the roots will struggle to support the plant.

Some growers have had success using hydroponic soil-free sunflower microgreens, but soil works best when possible.

Do microgreens grow back after cutting?

Some microgreens may regrow after cutting. Peas, for example, can regrow if you harvest carefully and leave the bottom layer of leaves intact.

Sunflower microgreens, on the other hand, do not grow back after harvest. Without leaves, photosynthesis will not occur and the seedlings simply will not grow.

Once you cut, the door is closed.

Which is better: sunflower sprouts or microgreens?

For me, sunflower microgreens are better than sunflower sprouts. With microgreens you get a significantly larger harvest.

A tray of sunflower microgreens is worth several glasses of sprouts in terms of weight and volume.

Sprouts are grown only in water, without soil or fertilizer. Microgreens are grown in soil or soilless media and spend more time photosynthesizing and growing than sprouts.

Soil and fertilizer not only add nutrients to the plants, but the soil also adds flavor.

Many growers prefer the taste of soil grown sunflower seeds over those that are only water grown.

While sprouts can be great, for me, the big yields, flavor, and nutritional benefits of microgreens outweigh them.

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