How to Grow Sunflower Microgreens: My Complete Guide

Growing sunflower microgreens at home is fun and high-yielding and can be straightforward.

I say “can be” because I feel many guides are overly complicated and include steps I skip. Still, to succeed, you need to get a few things right. 

Impatient reader? When you grow sunflower microgreens, you must soak the seeds for at least 8 hours, place another tray on top of the planted seeds to ensure good soil contact and rooting and put your container in a warm, dark room for 2-4 days to germinate. When sprouts are about 3 cm / 1 inch tall, move to a cooler location with plenty of light.

Follow my tried and tested guide on how to grow sunflower microgreens, and you will harvest fresh, nutritious greens in about a week or two. 

Healthy sunflower microgreens
Healthy sunflower microgreens

And most of the stuff you need to get started you probably already have at home.

Materials needed to grow sunflower microgreens

  • Sunflower seeds (black oil sunflowers): Get high-quality, untreated seeds for the best results. I recommend buying seeds in bulk from a reputable supplier. Feel free to contact me for tips if you do not have a local option.
  • Growing tray: Buy a microgreen grow tray or re-purpose old food-safe containers like I do.
  • Top tray: The top tray ensures good soil contact and rooting. Needs to fit inside your growing tray.
  • Potting soil or other growing medium: Use a potting soil mix, a soilless potting mix, or coconut coir.
  • Fine-tip watering can: For gentle precision watering.
  • Spray bottle: To mist your seeds.
  • Grow light: Here in zone 7, grow lights are a must in winter, but a sunny window sill can work depending on the time of year and where you live.
Sunflower microgreen seeds germinating
Sunflower microgreen seeds germinating

Step-by-Step Guide to Grow Sunflower Microgreens 

1. Preparation:

  • Soak the sunflower seeds for 8-24 hours to speed up germination.
  • Prepare the bottom growing tray with about an inch of moist potting soil. Flatten and smooth the surface without compacting it too much.

2. Sowing the Seeds:

  • Spread the soaked seeds evenly across the soil. Aim for a single layer without overcrowding.
  • Cover the seeds with a thin layer of potting soil and mist with water. 
  • Put the top tray on the seeds and press lightly to ensure good soil contact and rooting. Place a weight on the top cover to help create downward pressure. This pressure promotes even germination and helps the seeds root without lifting. I place a PET bottle filled with water on top as it is simple, but use what you have.

3. Germination:

  • Keep the seeds moist and covered in a dark place for 2-3 days. Check daily to ensure the soil remains moist. Mist with a spray bottle if needed.
  • The sprouts will lift the covering top tray as they germinate and sprout. Leave the top tray in place.

4. Light Exposure:

  • Once the seeds have germinated and sprouts are about 3 cm / 1 inch tall, remove the top tray and move to a cooler location with good light. 
  • Seed husks tend to get caught; use your fingers to remove them. 
Seed husks need to be removed manually
Seed husks need to be removed manually
  • I use grow lights, but a window sill with good light can also work depending on your location and the time of year.
  • Ensure the sprouts get about 12-16 hours of light daily for healthy growth.

5. Watering:

  • Spay or use a watering can to water at the base. You want moist, not wet soil. 

6. Harvesting:

  • Sprouts are ready for harvest in about 7-14 days when the sunflower microgreens are 2-3 inches tall and have developed a pair of strong leaves.
Sunflower microgreens ready for harvest
Sunflower microgreens ready for harvest
  • Use scissors to cut the microgreens just above the soil line.
  • Always rinse before you eat.

Practical tips for success:

  • Freshness: Use fresh seeds for the best possible germination rate.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist throughout the growth cycle.
  • Grow in batches: Start a new batch every 5-7 days for a continuous supply of fresh sunflower microgreens.
  • Put a weight on the top cover tray: The downward pressure ensures even germination and also helps the seeds root without lifting.
  • Remove seed husks: Remember to remove the seed husks. If the husks are stuck, wait another day and try again. 
  • Soil Health: Refresh or replace the soil between crops to prevent nutrient depletion and disease buildup. As a rule, I flip the grow bed, add fresh soil, and re-use my growing medium at least once.
Make sure you replace or at least refresh soil between batches
Root system. Make sure you replace or at least refresh soil between batches
  • Container Cleanliness: This is important. Clean your growing trays or containers after each use to minimize the risk of mold and disease.
  • Rotation: Crop rotation makes sense even in a small-scale indoor garden. Anything that can help manage soil health and reduce the risk of disease and mold is good. 
  • Storage of Seeds: Store unused seeds in a cool, dry place. Make sure your hands are dry when you handle seeds. 

Tips for optimal watering habits:

  • Water your sunflower microgreens in the morning to allow any excess water on the leaves to evaporate during the day.
  • Use a spray bottle for gentle misting during germination to keep the soil moist without disturbing the seeds.
  • After germination, when sprouts are about 3 cm / 1 inch tall, switch to your fine-tip watering and water at the base of the sprouts. 
  • Ensure consistent soil moisture but avoid overwatering to prevent root rot and mold growth.

Troubleshooting Tips for Growing Sunflower Microgreens

  • Poor Germination: Make sure your seeds are fresh and soak them before planting. Do not overwater, and place the container in a warm location. Never water seeds; always mist.
  • Mold Issues: Improve airflow around your plants and reduce watering. Ensure the soil is not too dense or overly wet.
  • Leggy or Weak Stems: Provide more light. Legginess results from insufficient light or keeping the microgreens in a warm location for too long during germination.
Leggy microgreens left in warm spot for too long
Leggy microgreens left in warm spot for too long
  • Yellow Leaves: Your microgreens need more light. Relocate the grow bed to a brighter spot or use grow lights.
  • Rotting Roots or Stems: Most likely overwatering in combination with dense soil. It is often a good idea to allow the soil surface to dry slightly between waterings.

Three ways to use sunflower microgreens

Sunflower microgreens are great for snacking, and I eat them like candy. But they are also one of the “meatier” microgreens, and I use them daily in the kitchen.

Harvested sunflower microgreens
Harvested sunflower microgreens

Here are three ways I like to use sunflower microgreens.

1. Sunflower Microgreen Salad

Mix sunflower microgreens with greens, sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette for a nutritious salad. Great as a sandwich topping. 

2. Sunflower Microgreens Pesto: 

Sure, basil may be the obvious choice for pesto, but there are alternatives. Blend sunflower microgreens with garlic, pine nuts (or almonds), Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a fresh, nutrient-packed pesto. Great for pasta dishes and sandwiches, or use it as a dip.

3. Microgreen Omelette: 

Sprinkle sunflower microgreens over an omelet filled with cheese for a fresh, flavorful breakfast. Add the sunflower microgreens late in the cooking process for a tasty crunch.

FAQs for Growing Sunflower Microgreens at Home

Should my grow trays have holes for drainage?

Grow trays with drainage holes are always good as they protect you against overwatering.

Still, for microgreens, I never use grow trays with drainage holes.

And here is why. 

First, microgreens grow fast; it is easy to start over if you make a mistake. It is different from starting, for example, hot peppers, where you have to invest months in developing strong seedlings, and failure could mean a lost growing season. 

Also, microgreens do not need a lot of water, and it is easy to get a feel for when to water and how much. 

Finally, using a grow tray without drainage holes allows me to use re-purposed food-safe containers. These containers are easy to place in my kitchen and work like a charm for me. 

Microgreens allow you to hone your skills while growing; it is a lot about convenience.

How long does it take to grow sunflower microgreens?

Typically, sunflower microgreens take about 7-14 days from planting to harvest. 

Sunflower microgreens under grow light
Sunflower microgreens under grow light

Do I need special equipment to grow sunflower microgreens?

No special equipment is needed, just basic supplies like trays, soil, seeds, and a light source.

Can I reuse the soil after harvesting my microgreens?

Yes, you can reuse the soil after removing the roots and refreshing it. However, I recommend replacing the growing medium periodically to prevent disease buildup.

How often should I water my sunflower microgreens?

Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Typically, watering once a day or every other day is sufficient, depending on your indoor temperature.

What should I do if I see mold growing with my microgreens?

Ensure good airflow and avoid overwatering. If mold is detected, I always start over with new seeds and soil to prevent health risks.

Conclusion and key takeaways

Growing sunflower microgreens at home is an easy and satisfying way to add nutrition and freshness to your meals.

Remember to soak the seeds before planting.

Put a cover on top of the grow bed to help the seeds root well. Seeds germinate better in a dark and warm space. Place your container on top of a refrigerator or a heating pump as I do.

When sprouts are about 3 cm / 1 inch tall, remove the cover, move to a cooler spot, and give them plenty of light. If there is not enough sunlight, consider using grow lights.

Water sparingly and aim for moist but never wet soil.

Follow these steps, and you will have a steady supply of these tasty greens to serve all year round.

Mattias Magnusson: Hello, I'm Mattias, a passionate and experienced gardening enthusiast. I am the creator of, your guide to year-round herb and veggie growing. Let's simplify green living, no matter your space or location.