Sunflower Microgreens - Black Oil Sunflower

Black Oil vs Grey Striped Microgreen Seeds

Sunflower microgreens are one of the most popular varieties of microgreens. Once you’ve grown them once, you’ll understand the appeal. 

These little greens are easy to grow and they are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

Before you start growing, you’ll need to choose the most suitable seeds. 

Which Seeds Should I Use?

To start growing these microgreens, you will need unhulled and untreated seeds. Although you can pick up bags of sunflower seeds cheap (cheep, cheep!) for bird feed, these seeds are not advisable as they may not be suitable for human consumption. Look for seeds that are specifically for microgreens; non-GMO, untreated (preferably organic) and Australian grown, where possible.

Microgreen seeds are carefully sifted so you won’t end up with a handful of chaff and unedible bits. These seeds will be marked as ‘sproutable’ and will usually have a germination rate over 80%. These seeds are different from hulled sunflower seeds that you can buy in bulk bins or supermarkets. These hulled ‘snack foods’ are not viable for microgreen use.

All sunflower seeds come from the common sunflower plant (variety: Helianthus annuus). There are two main varieties that are used for growing microgreens;  black oil sunflower  and grey striped sunflower. 

Black Oil Sunflower

Black oil sunflower seeds are the preferred variety for microgreen growers. They have a higher oil content, than grey striped seeds, and they are commonly used for bird feed or producing sunflower oil.

Did you know that black oil seeds have an oil content of 40 – 45%? These seeds are smaller than the grey striped variety and easier to remove the shell (after your crop has grown). 

This variety tends to produce a harvest that is shorter and more tender, than the grey striped variety.

Grey Striped Sunflower

Grey striped seeds are commonly used for confectionery and snacks. As a microgreen seed, they are more economical than the black oil variety. This is a benefit if you are regularly growing microgreens, and want to save a little bit of money.

The seeds are double the size of the black oil variety, and they produce a taller and bigger microgreen. It’s important to adequately soak and sprout this variety, as they tend to have a tougher shell than the black oil variety. When you harvest the grey striped variety, they often require more work to remove the shells.

We recommend black oil sunflower seeds  for microgreen growing. The feedback that we get from growers is that they love this variety.

Want to find out how to grow sunflower microgreens? Click here to read our growing guide, with tips and troubleshooting info. Happy Growing!


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