Grow Sunflowers for Birdseed

This year, I decided that I would grow sunflowers and save them for feeding my feathered visitors during the winter.

This year, I decided that I would grow sunflowers and save them for feeding my feathered visitors during the winter.

I normally grow sunflowers every summer.  I love how their bright, sunny faces follow the sun’s progress during the day.

Last year, I grew quite a few in the garden and my children had fun eating the dried sunflower seeds afterward.

This year, I planted more sunflowers, so that I would have extra to save for the birds.

Growing sunflowers is extremely easy and they grow in almost every zone.  I love to watch and see how tall they get.  One summer, they grew over 12 ft tall!

Once the flower begins to fade, it is time to protect the seeds from being eaten.  You can tie some cheesecloth, loosely around each flower so that the birds cannot get to the seeds.  I normally leave a few sunflowers in the garden for a summer snack for the birds.

Of course, you don’t have to love sunflower seeds to enjoy sunflowers.  Just look at this  little hummingbird, enjoying a shady perch on a sunflower leaf.

After your sunflower has dried and you can see the black striped sunflower seeds, simply cut off the dried flower and store in a dry place.  In the winter, attach the dried sunflowers to a tree or to your bird feeder by tying a string to the stem and to the branch.  Then sit back and watch the birds flock to your sunflower and eat the seeds.  It can be fun to watch, since the birds often have to hang upside down to get to the seeds.

So, if you have some sunflowers in your garden, go ahead and save a few for a winter snack for your visiting birds.  Next spring, be sure to plant some extra – the birds will appreciate it!

For more information on how to grow sunflowers, check out this link.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.