Looking for a fun activity for your and the kids, a way to increase birds in your garden, and get a cheap supply of bird food?

Well, have you ever considered growing sunflowers?

Sunflower seeds are extremely popular with birds, good for them, and the seeds are extremely easy to produce at home. Even those with a lack of a so-called ‘green thumb’ can grow sunflowers. Their ease makes them ideal for novices and children alike.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers are an icon of the summer season and quite possibly, in our humble opinion, just about one of the most cheerful flowers there are!

In a single season, a sunflower can grow to an astonishing height. This alone makes them a wondrous flower. Did you know the tallest ever sunflower was recorded in Germany in 2014 measuring in at 30ft tall!  

However, there are many different varieties of sunflower, some have multiple flower heads and stay at a reasonable 2-3ft, some grow taller and have very unusual colours such as the ‘chocolate sunflower’, and some varieties such as ‘teddy bear’ sunflowers are just plain funky!

So, if you aren’t so keen on the monstrous proportions of the giant sunflower, there are still plenty of choices and the good news is that nearly all varieties will provide food for pollinators such as bees, and sunflower seeds for birds to eat.

sunflower

Sunflowers Seeds For Birds

Sunflower seeds are a common component of many bird food mixes or can be fed on their own to birds in the garden.

Sunflower hearts are popular with birds, but they enjoy sunflower seeds in all shapes and sizes.

Read our guide to sunflower seeds for birds.

Grow Your Own Bird Food

Of course, the easiest way to provide sunflower seeds in your garden is to buy sunflower seeds online. We sell them in bulk with fast free shipping to your door.

However, if you want to have a go at providing some of your own homegrown sunflower seeds, it’s really easy and a great activity for kids.

All you need to get started is a packet of seed, water, soil and light!

Once you have purchased your chosen variety of sunflower, simply sow the seeds under the surface of the soil, put them on a warm kitchen windowsill and wait for them to germinate. This can be done anytime from April up until the beginning of June.

Sunflower seeds can be germinated outside but just watch out for slugs whilst the plants are young as they love to eat the tender seedlings.

Once your plants are big enough, plant them outside and watch them go! In the ground is better but many of the dwarf varieties are fine in pots.

Over the season you will need to water your sunflower, especially in extremely hot weather but other than that they’re very low maintenance. If your plant is in an exposed position and it gets very windy, you may want to add a bamboo cane to ensure it doesn’t topple over.

Eventually, your sunflower will produce a flower and that is where the fun begins. Once the cooler nights draw in, the sunflower will wither and start putting its energy into producing seeds. Each flower can contain up to 2000 seeds depending on the variety!

Once the seed heads become dry and the seeds feel loose, you have two options. You can either harvest the seeds and put them on your bird table (remember to save a couple to grow plants from next year!) or you can simply leave the seeds and plants in position and the birds will find the seeds themselves. If you don’t harvest the seeds fast enough you will often find the birds helping themselves anyway!

sunflower seed head