Sunflower Advice

Sunflower season has begun at Meadowbrooke Gourds and unless we get an early frost, we should have them well into October.  I thought I would do some research to find out how others have tried to help keep their sunflowers last longer once they’ve been cut.  Here are some very interesting things to try.


First thing that I learned and want to start out with is when you are cutting your sunflowers, you should make a nice clean cut at a 45 degree angle.  The reason for cutting on an angle rather than flat is that it allows an area on the stem the ability to draw water into the flower. Sunflowers should be immediately placed into water.  If this is not an option, make a fresh cut on the stem again about a ½” from bottom of stem at a 45 degree angle when water is available. Sunflowers will begin to droop and will not last long without water.

Water and Foliage

One thing that was pretty consistent is the fact that the water should be changed every 1-3 days and that if you are trying any of the ideas below, to continue them with each water change. The ends should be re-cut at a 45 degree angle  when water is changed. The information I looked up was about half and half on whether the water temperature was to be cold or warm. The other fact I found is that you want to avoid any type of mold and bacteria in the vase. The easiest way to achieve this is by taking all foliage off the bottom of the stem so there is none in the vase and especially none submerged in the water.

Longevity Ideas

This is where it gets a bit interesting.  I had no idea that there were so many options to try to help your sunflowers last longer.  I am going to just touch upon some of the ones I found but would love to hear if you have different ones or if you have tried any of these.  These are all items to be added to the water:

  • ½ c of clear soda, the sugar will make blooms last longer
  • Dissolve ½ tsp. of sugar with 1 qt. of water
  • 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
  • Few drops of vodka with 1 tsp. of sugar
  • Plant preserve - like you get with fresh flower arrangements
  • One crushed aspirin
  • ¼ tsp. of bleach to 1 qt. of water
  • 3 drops of bleach and 1 tsp. of sugar to 1 qt. of water

Most said that the sunflowers using any of these methods lasted anywhere from 7-15 days.


Many ask if they can use the seeds from our sunflowers after they begin to droop and are past their prime.  Unfortunately, the seeds are not mature enough at the stage they are cut to be used for any type of bird seed.  Sunflowers are best harvested for seeds when their petals become dry and begin to fall.  In our retail store, we sell the sunflower seeds we plant and if you are interested in growing sunflowers to harvest for birdseed, this would be a good start.

I think all of these sunflower hints are great and at least worth a try to see if any work, I know I’ll be trying a few for the sunflowers I pick for the store.  Author Corina Abdulahm-Negura once said “A sunflower field is like a sky with a thousand suns” and for the next few weeks we will have thousands of suns just waiting to be picked at Meadowbrooke.

Sunflower Events and Trolley Rides

If you are looking to pick sunflowers at Meadowbrooke you are able to do so anytime during our Sunflower Season.  This year our season started on September 3rd and will run until we have our first good frost of the year.  You can also explore the sunflowers by taking one of our Sunflower Trolley Rides.  We have a weekend Sunflower Festival with food, gourd sales and sunflower projects that would be fun for the whole family.  Warehime's Pumpkin Patch also will have free multi-colored sunflowers to pick starting September 21st.