When I have the time to sit back and enjoy what I've created in my garden, one of my favorite things to do is enjoy the sights and sounds of the birds. Growing sunflowers is one of the best ways I have found to draw the feathery visitors in.
Which birds do sunflowers attract?
A variety of birds can be attracted to a garden by growing sunflowers. These include Cardinals, Chickadees, Titmice, House Finches, Grosbeaks, Nuthatches, Goldfinches, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Pine Siskins, to name a few.
Why are sunflower seeds nutritious for birds?
Sunflower seeds are rich in protein, vitamin B-complex, Vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, and Zinc.
Not every sunflower type is the best food source for birds. Ornamental sunflowers, although they come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, produce edible seeds, but they're very small.
If you're looking for sunflower varieties to harvest for nutritional edible seeds for both birds and humans, here are some great choices.
Taller Edible Choices
A favorite of bird lovers for years; single head.Height: 12 to 15 feet
Flower Head Size: 15” Thin shelled, plump, meaty seeds.
Mammoth Gray Stripe
Long blooming sunflower from summer to fall; single head.
Height: 8-12 feet
Flower Head Size: 10-12”
GiganteusBlooms early to late summer; single head, generous seeds.Height: 10 feet
Flower Head Size: 12”
Kong HybridForms a massive wall of foliage. Rapid grower; branching.Height: 8-15 feet
Flower Head Size: 10”
Note: Pinch at 5 feet tall to create a tall, dense hedge.
SunzillaOne of the tallest sunflowers. Very productive with large yellow blooms.
Height: 12 - 16 feet
Flower Head Size: 18-24”
Hopi Black DyeAn old heirloom. Seeds are used by Native Americans for dyeing wool and baskets.
Generally single-headed, but is occasionally multi-headed with varying size heads.
Height: 7-11 feet
Flower Head Size: 5 - 13” Seeds are purple to black
And if you are just starting to grow sunflowers for the birds, you can start by purchasing seed to get the birds used to an area.