Nothing makes summer feel like it’s here. No plant says “Summer is here!” like the iconic sunflower with its yellow flowers but often with orange or white petals. The sunflower grows happily in gardens and allotments and blooms right through the autumn.
Aside from being easy to grow, they are fantastic for getting kids outside and away from video games. You may be asking, “Should I soak sunflower seeds before planting?” because they have a hard shell.
A sunflower seed’s hard shell is known for being difficult to break into; anyone who has eaten a sunflower seed knows how hard it is to get into a seed. Imagine how difficult it will be for the seedling to see through the tough exterior.
For sunflower seeds to germinate, they need a bit of assistance, as do many seeds with tough coats. Soaking sunflower seeds will soften their hard outer shells, which will enable the plant to grow through them to become what we know and love as the great summer giant.
Soaking Sunflower Seeds Before Planting
For most seeds, you should soak them for 12 to 24 hours and not more than 48 hours for best results. You can plant your seeds after the seeds have been soaked. In addition to reducing germination time, soaking seeds before planting encourages faster growth, which is suitable for happy, healthy plants.
Using a mild acid solution is a variation of the primary method used by some gardeners. Alternatively, you can use weakly brewed tea or coffee or add a teaspoon or two of vinegar to the water.
It is designed to simulate the acidic environment of an animal’s digestive system and speed up the process of forming the seed shell. The value of this experiment can be debated, especially if you’re green-fingered; however, as with anything, experimentation and experience are essential.
You can also combine soaking with scarification if the seeds are particularly tough. In this case, you will either need to make a tiny nick in the seed shell or roughen it up with sandpaper.
While this allows the soaking liquid to get to work quickly, there is also a risk that the seed will be damaged too much, which may prevent germination.
The Reason Behind Soaking Sunflower Seeds
If they receive enough soil, water, and sunlight, seeds have everything they need to grow into plants. In addition, they have to break free from the hard shell surrounding them. You can soften a seed’s shell by soaking it in warm water before planting. It allows the germination process to move forward.
You can reap additional benefits from soaking your seeds. It is possible to “guard” seeds from germinating by adding inhibitors, preventing them from growing. Soaking your seeds will help make sure these inhibitors are washed away, resulting in faster germination.
Seeds need moisture to germinate, as we already know. According to the amount of rainfall in their native regions, different seeds respond differently to different moisture levels. In the event of rain, the seed is sufficiently moist to begin germinating once the moisture level has reached a certain level.
Speed Up Germination
Shortening the time between sowing your seeds and their transplant-ready is possible by starting germination before putting them in the ground (or trays). Your seeds will germinate in the shortest time because there is no moisture barrier. This process can also be sped up by using warm water.
How to Soak Seed Before Planting?
Sunflower seeds should be raw, unsalted, and hulled so you can buy or gather some. Those without shells – called hulled sunflower seeds – will sprout faster. The only sunflower seeds you can collect are the unhulled seeds.
Soak these overnight in a bowl. Pour the seeds into a strainer in the morning after tossing them. Make sure you scrape the hulls off first. There will still be some hulls leftover.
Fill a jar with seeds: In a large jar with an open mouth, such as a canning jar or something slightly larger, store the sunflower seeds.
Put some water in: Pour in enough water to allow the seeds to float on top.
About eight hours should be enough time for the jar to sit. The seeds should start sprouting during this time. Ensure that the sprouts have emerged and the seeds have nearly doubled in size. You should always check sunflower seeds periodically when growing them to avoid letting them soak too long.
The seedlings of sunflowers will sprout in 10 to 14 days if the soil temperature is just right. Space is needed for sunflower seedlings to grow. You should plant three seeds in a 3- to 4-inch peat pot each time you begin growing sunflowers indoors. You will get the best drainage with a soilless planting medium.
Planting Seeds After Soaking
Don’t forget to plant your soaked seeds as soon as possible after soaking them. Make sure your seeds are hydrated the night before by placing them in water.
Ensure that the soil is moist but not wet before you plant seeds. It is better to plant seeds in moist soil, so the shells remain soft and germinate faster.
When to Plant Sunflowers
Sunflower seeds can be planted directly into the garden (or outside containers) once the danger of spring frost has passed and soil temperatures have warmed up to at least 50°F (10°C). This typically occurs between April and mid-July in most regions.
Mid-March or early April is the likely date for this in the south. Our recommendation is to direct-sow sunflowers instead of transplanting them since they dislike having their roots disturbed.
What Happens When You Soak Seeds?
Sprouting works great for seeds with hard seed coats, such as tomato, pepper, and squash. Sprouting them with added moisture is a good idea.
Sprouting seeds soaked in water reduces the risk of “damping off,” a disease often resulting in seedlings falling over and dying right after they grow. An invasive fungus can cause damping-off and spread from soil or contact other diseased plants.
Seeds with hard coatings that take longer to sprout should be dipped before planting.
Gardeners must store their seeds, such as dried pea pods, in a warm, dry place that will not erode the seed pod coating. Because of this, they can be stored for years before sprouting for the gardener’s veggie patch or flower bed.
When a gardener wants to sow a flowerbed, he might scarify the seed slightly and soak it for 24 hours to ensure the water absorbs through the hard shell. Using a knife mimics the natural process of the seed shell being worn away. Therefore, the plant life cycle can be controlled, allowing the gardener me of the year.
How Moisture Helps Your Seeds
A seed’s moisture level indicates that it is in ideal growing conditions. Pre-soaking your seeds reduces germination times by letting them realize that they can grow.
Soaking seeds will ensure you can plant them quickly, even if you have a short window to plant them. You can soak seeds for a short period of time, but it prepares them to grow as soon as they are planted. Among other things, soaking may also revive dormant seeds.
Seeds should be soaked before planting if your soil is sandy or clayey. Grass seeds in sandy soil can take a long time to germinate because it drains quickly. Clay soil can become too wet, which could lead to seeds rotting before they have a chance to sprout.
The Bottom Line
Above mentioned methods clearly indicate how you can benefit from soaking sunflower seeds while planting. There are many ways you can soak sunflower seeds to get better growth and fast germination.
Make sure you follow the correct approach to achieve the required results. Soaking sunflower seeds before planting is a very easy process, but it can increase the yield.