Grow Sunflowers for Birdseed

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.

  1. Gail Estes says

    I love sunflowers! But every time I tried to grow them as soon a the flower starts the squirrels eat them! Makes me so mad I could spit!

  2. Marilyn Ericson says

    I am the director of a preschool. We used to plant vegetables in our garden, but times have changed and school lets out too early in the spring for most vegetables to be ready to eat. Now our 3-year-olds plant sunflowers in the spring and when they come back in the fall the sunflowers will be blooming and we can experience saving them for the birds in the winter months!! We also stuff pine cones with peanut butter and birdseed for the snowy days! What is the best variety of sunflower to plant for this purpose?

  3. kathy barnard says

    I feed the animals in my yard black oil sunflower seeds and every summer i have surpise sunflowers growing, the squirells and birds plant them for me and their placement is always perfect! I suppose it is a thank you gift for me for feeding them all winter.

  4. says

    We feed the birds and the squirrels and reallly enjoy watching them. However, this year the squirrels got a little
    nutty on us. They chewed huge holes in the brand new bird houses we built. Does anyone know what we can do
    to curb this? Would appreciate any ideas.

    Thanks from New Hampshire

    • Rose Rothermel says

      I got tired of chippys and squirrels chewing up my feeders also,but the only thing that really seemed to work for me was the baffles on the poles. I use to love watching them eat and I would put corn out for them,but whne they started to destroy property I started to veiw them as rodents and started just scareing them with a bb gun and then they would just run right back and started stuffing their mouths with seeds again,so I got a pellet gun and started to get rid of them! I don’t like to kill animals ,but when they start to destroy things they are rodents!

  5. Rose Rothermel says

    I couldn’t grow many sunflowers this year because I would plant the seeds and wait for them to come up and I got nothing ! So I tried again and still nothing! So I can only figur that the squirrels and chippies were digging them up and eating them! Then later in the summer I would find a whole group of them coming up together – which I believe that they were sunflower seeds they stole from the feeders and buried for later use and they ended up growing ,but not very big from being all clumped togethered! They are BAD! BAD!BAD!

  6. Ruth says

    I attempt to grow sunflowers of different colors every year and had success this year because the deer didn’t munch on them. However, I feed the birds in the winter and have sunflowers coming up in my flowers beds from the dropped seed. In fact, this year I had so many they were shading my lantans from the sun so had to cut them down. The birds are so much fun to watch eating the seeds hanging upside down, etc. Last year, I saw a critter on top of one of the sunflowers and fianlly decided it was a chipmunk. It would sit on top of the sunflower then lean over and get a seed and then eat it. I got a picture of him sitting on top. I couldn’t believe it! It was too cute although he was a destructive critter. Guess he had enough because I haven’t seen him or his friends at all this summer. I tried to copy and past the pic of him in here but it wouldn’t work. Bought cheescloth to put over the sunflowers that I have left in the garden so I can use the dried heads for feeding this winter. Thanks for this idea.


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