Sunflowers Are For the Birds

Jul 25, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. I’m going to suggest that my bird-loving friend Ann Nolte add a large planting of sunflowers to her “big yard” garden outside St. Matthews . Here’s a partial list of birds that feast on the seeds – doves, quail, blackbirds, bobolinks, chickadees, goldfinches, meadowlarks and tufted titmice. The smaller black seeded sunflower seeds are preferred – they have a higher fat content – especially important in cold weather when animals need to burn calories to stay warm – and their thinner shells make them easier to crack. Sunflowers are relatively easy to grow if you don’t have deer problems. With both a tap root and extensive foraging root system, they’re are pretty drought resistant once they get up and growing, which makes sense for a plant that evolved on our relatively dry western prairies, and they aren’t picky about soils – or clay is fine.