Garden Solutions Center Blogs
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Bird Feeders with Roots – Seed-Bearing Plants for Birds
It’s widely known that most all children love hot dogs. While this may seem an odd way to begin a garden blog about birds, children and birds do have something in common.
Not all children that love hot dogs like to have their hot dogs served in the same way–some like their hot dogs in buns, others prefer corn dogs on a stick, and then there are kids that like to have their hot dogs cut into pieces and smothered in ketchup. Likewise, not all birds that eat seeds will come to seed-filled bird feeders to get their fill.
A tasty way to appeal to the masses of seed-eating birds is by growing bird feeders with roots. In other words, seed-bearing annuals and perennials that will entice birds such as finches, cardinals, chickadees, titmice and buntings with a good source of seeds they love to eat.
Coneflowers, asters and sunflowers are always first-rate for seeds, but other prolific seed producers include cosmos, goldenrod, phlox and a wide selection of salvias. And to make it easy, I found all of these flowers at my local Kmart.
The added bonus of growing your own bird buffet is that these seed-bearing plants first bear a profusion of attractive flowers before the seedheads are produced. That way you get to enjoy beautiful flowers as well as birds feasting on the abundant seedheads that follow.
You can easily maximize the attraction for birds by growing a variety of seed-bearing annuals and perennials that provide an ongoing source of seeds throughout the seasons. Birds are not only choosy about how their seeds are served, but also at what height the seed source is located. Having a variety of plants with seed offerings that mature at different heights will entice birds with a multi-layered feeding frenzy of attraction.
Perennials offer a “plant one time and you’re done” appeal along with colorful blooms and tasty seedheads year after year. Perennial sun lovers that produce a bounty of seeds include asters, butterfly weed, California poppy, coreopsis, pincushion flower, and rudbeckia. I’m especially impressed with the ‘Butterfly Blue’ pincushion flower that I picked up at my local Kmart earlier this spring.
Water-thrifty, seed-bearing perennials such as coneflower, penstemon, and sedums keep the seeds coming with minimal moisture. And bee balm, columbine, goldenrod and hardy geraniums are great for those partly shady areas of your yard. What’s more, all of these perennials produce nectar-rich blooms also bring in the hummingbirds and butterflies.
Annuals attract with an extended bloom period that surpasses most perennials. And being fast growers, they have plenty of time to color your garden with beautiful blooms as well as the tasty and textural seedheads that follow.
Sunflowers are a no-brainer, but another annual dressed to impress is amaranth, with its cascading tassel-like flower clusters and grain-type seed. As for seed-bearing annuals that extend their appeal with nectar-rich blooms, a few favorites include African daisies, calendula, cleome, cosmos, love-in-a-mist, and marigolds.
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Kmart Garden Tool(s)
- Roseburg, OR
wow, I didn't realize that there were so many flowers that produce seeds that birds like. I knew about sunflowers, but you've opened my eyes to so many other possibilities. Thanks again for another enlightening and inspiring article!