8 Things to do with dead sunflower heads

There are many creative ways to use the dead sunflower heads, from saving the seeds for planting or making bird feeders to using them for compost or mulch. You can also create natural decor, wreaths, or even art with the dried sunflower heads. For a unique Halloween decoration, spray paint the heads black and add them to a wreath or display them in a vase.

This article will explore some simple ways you can re-use your dead sunflower heads at home.

1. Save the seeds for planting

Sunflower seeds are a nutritious snack for both humans and animals or can be replanted the next year to grow new plants. Dead sunflower heads will be full of seeds at the end of summer so you can collect the heads and let them dry out.

Snip the heads off, pop them in a brown paper bag in a dark cupboard and let the seeds dry. A few days latter you can shake the bag, remove the seeds and store them in a dry place for planting or eating later.

2. Create a bird feeder

The sunflower heads can also be used to create a bird feeder. Simply tie a string around the stem and hang it from a tree or bird feeder hook. Seed-eating birds will love a sunflower treat and will spend more time in your backyard.

3. Make a wreath

The dried sunflower heads can be used to make a wreath. You can glue the heads onto a wreath frame or weave them into a grapevine wreath to create a rustic and natural decoration for your home. Dried sunflower heads will last for months and look great.

4. Dried flower arrangements

The dead sunflower heads can also be used as a natural decoration in your home. You can place them in a vase or basket for a rustic touch, or use them to decorate a fall or harvest-themed centerpiece.

Add fresh flowers around the sunflower heads or some greenery to add some freshness.

5. Mulch

The dried sunflower heads can be broken up and used as mulch for your garden. They will help to keep moisture in the soil and provide nutrients to the soil. Wait until they are very dry and you can break them up with garden secateurs or a spade.

You can wait until the heads have gone completely brown and the seeds have formed. You can remove the seeds first and then mulch the heads.

6. Feed the wildlife

Sunflower seeds are a great source of food for wildlife such as squirrels, rabbits, and deer. Leave the dead sunflower heads in your yard and let the animals enjoy them. You can chop them off and drop them around your yard or tie them up into a tree to make it safe for birds to eat.

7. Use them for compost

The sunflower heads can be added to your compost pile to create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Breaking up the heads as much as possible will help them to break down faster.

8. Use them for aromatherapy

Sunflower heads can be used in aromatherapy to create a relaxing and calming scent. You can remove the flower petals and let them dry out. You can add them to potpourri or sachets.

How to prepare sunflower heads

If you want to re-use your sunflower heads for decoration or to save your seed here are a few tips.

When to harvest sunflower heads

At the end of summer when you see your sunflower heads start to droop and dry up it is time to harvest. I like to wait until the stems have started to dry and you can see the seed has formed in the center.

Pick the sunflower head before birds, rats or mice find it is there. That way you can save your seed for re-planting next year.

Check out this video for tips on how to deadhead your sunflowers.

How to dry sunflower heads

Once you have picked your sunflower heads it is time to allow them to dry. Pop the heads in a brown paper bag to dry out completely You can pop them in a dark cupboard indoors or in a sheltered area of your garage.

Within around 1 week the heads will have dried. If the stems and flower heads still have some green, give them a few more days until the moisture has been removed.

How to remove seeds from sunflower heads

Once the sunflower head has dried fully it is time to remove the seeds. This can be as easy as shaking the bag with the sunflowers inside. If the seeds are stuck you can run your finger across the seeds to help them to loosen.

If the seeds are still stuck, use an old kitchen fork to gently pry the seeds out.

What to do with dead sunflower heads

Sunflower heads are useful around the garden as mulch or they can be turned into compost. The flower head full of seeds is a tasty treat for birds or they can even be eaten yourself. The flower heads can be used as a stunning display inside or tie them to a tree for a tasty bird treat.