Announcements‎ > ‎

Time to Plant Sunflowers for the Bees!

posted Apr 13, 2019, 6:40 PM by Roxie Rochat
Our soil temperatures are now above 50 degrees, so it's time to sow sunflower seeds directly in the ground.
According to a recent North Carolina State University study, sunflower pollen has medicinal and protective effects on bees and they need the pollen to feed their young.

Tall sunflowers like Lemon Queen, advocated by The Great Sunflower Project, have great pollen for bees and produce abundant seeds for birds, but our Camano winds can topple them over.   If you are tempted to try the shorter varieties, be aware that many have been bred to be pollenless for commercial growers who produce flowers for the florist industry.  Pollenless sunflowers still produce nectar, but varieties like TeddyBear don't seem to have as much pollen, and bees seem to learn to avoid pollenless sunflowers, according to this Laidback Gardener article

Beware: Seed packets don't always tell you whether a flower has pollen or not.  Ann Lovejoy has some specific recommendations for pollen-rich sunflowers in this recent article.  Do your research - your birds and bees will thank you!