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Why Are My Sunflower Seeds White, Purple & Pink? (Explained)

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Many people plant sunflowers so that they can harvest the seeds. These seeds are versatile as they can be used in many different ways. It might be off-putting if you notice that your seeds have colors in them which is why you must know the reasons behind it to avoid a bad harvest.

Why are my sunflower seeds white?

Having white sunflower seeds means that the seeds are immature. There might be a lot of growing and harvesting mistakes made which can, in turn, cause the sunflower seeds to be white in color. Other than that, some varieties of sunflowers naturally tend to produce white seeds. 

If you are looking for the majestic black sunflower seeds and if you are sure your variety does not tend to produce white sunflower seeds then there are some issues you must be looking at. Some harvesting mistakes can cause your seeds to be white. 

Cutting the flower head:

There are specific times when you should cut your flower heads. If you end up pruning off the flower head at the wrong time then it can lead to immature white seeds.

Never prune off your flower head when the petals are bright and strong and only do it when the petals have started drying because it ensures that the seeds are mature. 


You must ensure to protect your sunflowers against birds. If there is no protection and birds get to them they start picking at the sunflowers. This can prevent the seeds from maturing and remaining white. 

Drying them before maturing:

If you do not give enough time for your sunflowers to mature and cut them off when they are still green and leaving them to dry in the sunlight can leave white and soft seeds. 


Shelling and roasting the seeds before it has completely dried can lead to soft and white seeds. Roasting the seeds at very high temperatures even if they are shelled or unshelled can also lead to white and mushy seeds. 

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What is the difference between white and black sunflower seeds?

There are some differences to look out for between white and black sunflower seeds. 

Mature VS Immature:

White sunflower seeds tend to be immature because of poor harvesting. This means that due to some mistakes made the maturing process has not been complete so the seeds are still white in color. 

On the other hand, black seeds are fully matured seeds that are done with their maturing process and ready to be harvested for use. 

Poor harvesting VS Proper harvesting:

Poor harvesting often leads to white sunflower seeds meaning either the head has been cut off at the wrong time or they were not dried or roasted properly. 

This can lead to white and mushy seeds whereas proper harvesting and processing lead to proper black seeds. 

Confection VS Oilseed:

There are two different kinds of seed. One is known as the confection seeds and this is the one we eat which has white-colored stripes on their surface. Oilseeds are completely black and also tinier in size. 

How do you ripen white sunflower seeds?

There are proper ways to harvest sunflower seeds so that it fully ripens and turns black in color.

Harvest at the proper time:

If you do not harvest your seeds at the proper time then you will end up with white and small seeds. It is important to harvest when the white seeds have ripened. Cut off the flower head only when the flowers have dried and started to fall off. 

This will ensure that the seeds are ripened and mature.

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Keep your flowers away from birds:

Ensure that you are taking proper measures to protect your flowers or it can end up hampering the maturing process due to birds. 

Collect seeds properly:

Use a proper method to collect seeds and ensure to let them dry fully or they can turn white and mushy. If the inside is still immature then keep it hanging in a hot area so it fully ripens. Roast them at correct temperatures to prevent harming the seeds. 

Why are my sunflower seeds purple?

There are some varieties of annual sunflowers that tend to produce beautiful black-purple-hued sunflower seeds. These varieties are called Claret and Chianti and are magnificent to look at. If your sunflower is not of such variety then it can be a genetic issue or due to an invasion of birds. 

There are a few reasons to look out for if you notice that your sunflower has started producing purple seeds instead of the traditional black and white.


There are many different varieties of sunflowers and the reason can be as simple as your sunflower being the variety (Claret and Chianti) that produces the magnificent purple or deep burgundy color. 

In that case, there is nothing to worry about and you should instead focus on taking good care of the magnificent plant. 

Genetic Issues:

Sometimes there can be genetic issues that lead to your flowers looking a different way or the seeds looking a different way. 

This is known as genetic mutation and if you notice that only one or two of your sunflowers have produced this color then it is highly plausible that it is due to a genetic mutation. 


If you do not give proper protection to your plant and if birds end up invading your sunflowers then it hampers the maturing process of the seeds. This can lead to the seeds turning the purple color by getting infected or diseased by the birds. 

Are purple sunflower seeds natural?

Purple sunflower seeds are natural as long as they are of the varieties that produce these beautiful colored seeds. These varieties are known as Claret and Chianti and they naturally tend to produce dark burgundy colored or purple-colored seeds. 

If your sunflowers are not of this variety then it is not natural for them to produce such colored seeds and there must be an underlying cause behind it. 

Why are my sunflower seeds pink?

If you notice that your sunflowers have started showcasing hints of pink then it is most likely due to genetic issues. Other than that, it might be indicative that your sunflower is not receiving enough nutrients which in turn has caused the seeds to not get their true pigment and turn pinkish. 

It is not shocking if your sunflower seeds are pink in color because despite being rarer, there can be quite a few reasons explaining it.


This is the most common cause for your sunflowers having pink seeds. Every flower has certain gene codes that they abide by. These gene codes help them to look the way they all traditionally tend to be. 

If the gene code is interrupted then they sometimes do not end up looking the traditional way. In the same way, a genetic mutation might have caused your sunflower to have pink seeds instead of the classic black ones. 

Deficiency in minerals:

If your sunflower has not been getting proper minerals then it can also lead to it not maturing properly. As a result, the seeds can turn pink as a way to protect themselves so that the plant does not lose life. 

In that case, you must check the minerals and nutrients you have been giving your sunflower plant. 

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Can sunflowers be pink?

For whole sunflowers to be pink can be very rare, but it is not impossible. This is because nowadays there are advanced gene crossings that can give you any results and colors you want for your flowers. 

Other than that, a genetic mutation can also give you pink sunflowers which might be very rare and ones in thousands but it’s not impossible. 

What color should sunflower seeds be?

The most common ones are black and black with white stripes. However, there are other varieties that can give magnificent deep burgundy, purple and blue seeds as well. 

Having white sunflower seeds is also very common, but it usually means that you are not harvesting your sunflower seeds properly and they are immature. 

Why are sunflower seeds different colors?

Sunflower seeds can be of different colors because different varieties of sunflowers present can offer different colors than the traditional colors. It can also be due to genetic mutation which can cause your sunflower seeds to differ in color from the traditional seeds. 

However, sometimes different colored seeds can also indicate underlying conditions for example sunburns; your plant not getting enough minerals, nutrients, and water; birds invading your plants; or even improper harvesting. 

Final thoughts:

It is common for sunflowers to have white seeds because many people make common harvesting mistakes. It might be a different case, however, if your plant has purple or pink seeds because these are rare and are mostly caused by genetic issues so you have nothing to worry about.

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