The Q&A Archives: Do Sunflower Hulls Inhibit Plant Growth?

Question: I planted a lot of daffodil bulbs under my bird feeders. Unfortunately, I have since found out that sunflower seed shells inhibit plant growth and indeed none of my bulbs in this area have grown or blossomed. I plan to move the feeders to another areaand would like to plant a flower garden in their place. If I rake up as much of the sunflower hulls as I can, how long does it take for their effect to wear off? When can I plant the site again? Can I expect the bulbs already planted there to grow and bloom next spring? Mary Polito Sudbury, MA

Answer: I have also heard that sunflowers inhibit plant growth, but have yet to see scientific evidence of this. I think a few other factors may be effecting your daffodils. Do they get plenty of sun? Are they well fertilized and in well drained soil? If you had "tons" of sunflower seed hulls I can see that they could bury the daffodils so they wouldn't emerge. I'd say rake up the hulls, compost them and plant whatever you want in that area. Just move the daffodils becaise it sounds like it's not a good spot for them with or without sunflower seed hulls.

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