Growing Big, Juicy Sunflower Shoots (Microgreens) Without Soil

Growing big juicy sunflower shootsThese are instructions for an 8" x 10" (large) SproutMaster tray, or a similar tray with a mesh bottom. Just modify amount of seed for a larger or smaller tray. A tightly woven split bamboo basket with a flat bottom will also work.

You'll Need:

  • One mesh bottom tray (SproutMaster or something similar)
  • Sunflowers - black oilseed work well. Preferably a sunflower seed that has been tested for sprouting quality. Approx 1/2 c or 90 g or 3 oz (about 1 layer in your tray).
  • Rustproof larger pan to hold tray. Pyrex glass baking dish works well.
  • Polyethylene sheet large enough to cover the tray. This is used to keep moisture in during the early stages of sprouting, and to help raise humidity during the later stages to aid hull drop.
  • Optional - Spray bottle for moistening seeds
  • Optional - Sea Spray kelp fertilizer, mixed according to directions.

DAY 1:

  • Wash the seeds in clean water, drain, and refill container to soak the seeds for 4 to 8 hours. (Option- soak the seeds in Sea Spray solution.)
  • Spread the soaked seeds as evenly as you can over the tray. It should be approximately one layer of seeds.
    Loosely cover with the poly sheet (or SproutMaster lid) to keep in moisture.

DAY 2 - 3

  • Lift poly/lid and spray or sprinkle seeds twice daily to keep moist. They should be moist but not standing in water.

DAY 3 or 4

  • In the larger tray rinse or mist twice a day.


  • Change water daily to keep approximately 1/4" deep.
  • You can allow the leaves to lift the loose polyethylene cover, in dry conditions.
  • Remove if mould is noted.
  • Rinse or mist twice a day.

DAY 6 - 9

  • Continue checking/adding water every day.
  • Rinse or mist twice a day.

DAY 10 - 12

  • Cut or pinch off sunflower shoots as needed. They should be 3" to 6" tall by now.
  • You can harvest the whole tray by cutting the roots below the mesh and pulling the whole growing mass out of the sprouter.
  • Pick off hulls and cut off roots if desired.
  • Refrigerate.


  • Grow OK between 65F and 75F.
  • Avoid direct sunlight. Bright indirect light is OK. Florescent light is OK as well.
  • Dry air is preferable to humid, if mould is a problem.
  • Sunflowers can be consumed as soon as the leaves open until the second leaves (first true leaves) start to form. After that, they will begin to get tough.
  • Hulls can be removed by picking off near the end of the growing. Most should fall off. Keeping the humidity higher by covering with plastic helps hull removal. Light brushing with your hand before harvesting will also knock off more hulls. Misting twice daily will help the hulls release.
  • Black sunflowers generally lose hulls easier than striped sunflowers.