In this article, I share the process and results of growing sunflower microgreens in an Aerogarden, using the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit.
When it comes to growing sunflower microgreens, the consensus is that sunflower microgreens grow better in soil. But since I prefer to grow everything in water, I decided to try growing sunflower microgreens hydroponically. Since I use my AeroGarden microgreens kit for most of the microgreens I grow, that’s what I decided to use.
Supplies and Set Up for Growing Sunflower Microgreens Hydroponically
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Before I get into the process of growing sunflower microgreens in an AeroGarden, I first want to share with you the supplies that I used.
AeroGarden Harvest, with the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit
First, I used an AeroGarden Harvest that I picked up on Amazon. I also used the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit. At the current time, the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit is only available on the official AeroGarden site.
Growing Medium for Hydroponic Sunflower Microgreens
I decided not to use AeroFelt, which is the AeroGarden microgreens growing medium. Instead, I used a growing medium that I made myself out of silicone dehydrator sheets (Amazon). You can read all about how I make this growing medium in my article, AeroGarden Microgreens Growing Medium Alternatives.
I chose this alternative AeroGarden growing medium for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that the AeroFelt doesn’t tend to work well with larger seeds such as sunflower microgreen seeds. It’s also more expensive.
Sunflower Sprouting Seeds
Next, I chose to use these sunflower sprouting seeds that I purchased from True Leaf Market. These are black oil sunflower seeds that are often used for growing microgreens. I decided to go with these seeds because since they are classified as sprouting seeds, my hope was that they would work for growing sunflower microgreens hydroponically.
One thing to note is that certain microgreens grow better in soil than water. That is certainly the case with sunflower microgreens, so growing them in an AeroGarden is a bit of a gamble. I’m hoping using sunflower sprouting seeds will increase the odds of my success.
AeroGarden Nutrients and Water
I also used one capful of official AeroGarden nutrients that I purchased on Amazon. I’ll share about this a bit more later in this article.
Finally, I added tap water to the fill line in my AeroGarden Harvest.
Growing Sunflower Microgreens in an AeroGarden Using the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit
Now without further ado, let’s get into the process of growing sunflower microgreens in an AeroGarden.
Hydroponic Sunflower Microgreens, Day 1
One thing that I’ve observed with growing microgreens in my AeroGarden is that you don’t necessarily have to soak seeds like you often do when growing microgreens. In fact, sometimes it works better to not soak the seeds.
Since this was my first time growing sunflower microgreens, I decided to experiment. On the left side of the AeroGarden microgreens kit, I put one tablespoon of sunflower sprouting seeds that I had soaked for just two hours. On the right side, I continued soaking one tablespoon of sunflower sprouting seeds for 12 hours before adding them to the AeroGarden.
In this particular microgreens grow, I not only experimented with the amount of time to soak the sunflower seeds; I also experimented with my DIY microgreens growing medium.
On the left side, I spread out the seeds that I had soaked for two hours, and then covered them with the dome that comes with the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit. I continued soaking the other tablespoon of seeds for a total of 12 hours, before adding them to the AeroGarden.
Hydroponic Sunflower Microgreens, Day 2
On the morning of day two, there was a good amount of condensation on the domes on both sides of the AeroGarden.
When I removed the domes, at first glance, there was very little change in the sunflower sprouting seeds on either side.
You can see that on the left, there was a seed or two that was beginning to split a little, but for the most part, nothing much was happening.
This is slower germination than I’ve had with other microgreens and sprouts that I’ve grown, but since sunflower seeds are large and have a hard shell, this wasn’t unexpected.
The conclusion that I have come to at the beginning of day two is that the side with the seeds that I soaked for a shorter period (on the left) are doing at least as well as the ones that I soaked longer.
Day 3 of Growing Sunflower Microgreens in an AeroGarden
On the morning of day three, the domes were still on, and as you can see, there is still a good amount of condensation.
When I removed the domes, I could see that some of the sunflower sprouting seeds were beginning to germinate.
At this point, on the sunflower microgreens seeds on the left that I had soaked for just two hours were doing better than the sunflower microgreen seeds on the right that I had soaked for about 12 hours.
One positive thing that I observed on both sides is that some of the roots were growing down into the holes of the growing medium.
Especially since the growing medium that I used doesn’t absorb water, it’s important for the roots to grow through the growing medium.
At the current time it seems just as well to only soak the sunflower seeds for a couple of hours, or maybe not even at all.
AeroGarden Sunflower Microgreens, Day 4
On the morning of day four, I woke up to a positive sign. Before I even took the domes off, in addition to the condensation on the domes, I could also see some green, which is an obvious sign of growth.
The ones on the left that I had soaked for only two hours are growing better than the ones on the right that I had soaked for 12 hours. With the ones on the right that had soaked for a long time, the germination is not very good at all.
On the left also, there are still some seeds that haven’t germinated.
At this point I was still holding out hope for the sunflower microgreens on the right, but it wasn’t looking particularly good.
At this point, the results of growing sunflower microgreens in my AeroGarden were the opposite of what I expected. I expected the microgreens to grow only marginally well in an Aerogarden, since sunflower microgreens grow better in soil. The thing that surprised me was how poorly the sunflower sprouting seeds that I soaked for 12 hours were doing compared to the ones I soaked for only two hours.
I removed the domes at this point.
Hydroponic Sunflower Microgreens, Day 5
On the morning of day five, I was happy to see that the sunflower microgreens were growing taller, and some of the hulls were even falling off.
The ones on the left that I only soaked for a couple of hours are still outperforming the ones on the right that I soaked for 12 hours.
My general practice when growing microgreens in an AeroGarden is to add in nutrients on day five. The instructions that come with the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit recommends changing the water at least once a week.
Since I often grow my microgreens for about 10 days, it makes sense to me to both change the water and add nutrients on day five. Note that nutrients are completely optional when growing microgreens, but may help them to grow a bit better. The addition of nutrients may also increase the nutrient level of the microgreens.
If you do choose to add nutrients, the recommendation is to use half as much as you normally do. In this case, since the recommendation is to use two capfuls of nutrients in an AeroGarden Harvest, I added one capful.
I used official AeroGarden nutrients that I picked up on Amazon.
AeroGarden Sunflower Microgreens, Day 6
Even though I typically allow my AeroGarden microgreens to grow for 10 days, by day six, I just couldn’t resist starting to eat them!
If you like to eat sunflower seeds, you will also likely enjoy sunflower microgreens, because they have a similar nutty flavor.
As you can see from the photo above, the sunflower microgreens that grew from the seeds I soaked for twelve hours didn’t grow well at all. Because of this, when growing sunflower microgreens in an AeroGarden, I recommend only soaking the seeds for two hours, or perhaps not at all.
By the way, before eating the sunflower microgreens, be sure to remove the black hulls. Many of them fall off naturally as the microgreens grow. You can easily remove the ones that don’t fall off naturally by hand.
If you enjoyed this article, you will likely enjoy these articles as well.
- AeroGarden Microgreen Growing Medium Alternatives
- The Ultimate Guide to Growing Microgreens in an AeroGarden Using the AeroGarden Microgreens Kit
- Growing Buckwheat Microgreens in an AeroGarden
Here are the items that I used when growing sunflower microgreens in my AeroGarden.