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Grow Your Own Safflower Seed

Birds Like Safflower Seed Squirrels Dislike


Grow Safflower Seed

If you have a feeder above your flower bed or had any open soil then you more than likely have had transplants from the feeder. My first experience of seed transplants was sunflowers but did you know you can grow safflower seed too?  Yep, you can.  It is easy too.


 Safflower is a thistle-like annual plant with 12 to 59 in tall with globular flower heads having yellow, orange, or red flowers. Each branch will usually have from one to five flower heads containing 15 to 20 seeds per head.  The seeds are popular with a variety of birds.

Traditionally, the safflower was grown for its seeds, and used for coloring and flavoring foods, in medicines, and making red and yellow dyes. The plants have been cultivated mainly for the vegetable oil extracted from the seeds and the petals are harvest and dried to create safflower tea.

Safflower Seed


You can just plant safflower seeds about an inch deep in the soil and walk away.  The rest is up to Mother Nature.  The flowers grow, blossom and go to seed.  If you’d like collect the seed or the birds will do it naturally for you.



  1. Black-capped chickadees
  2. Black-headed grosbeaks
  3. Blue jays
  4. Carolina chickadees
  5. Downy woodpeckers
  6. Evening grosbeaks
  7. House finches
  8. Mourning doves
  9. Northern cardinals
  10. Purple finches
  11. Red-bellied woodpeckers
  12. Rose-breasted grosbeaks
  13. Tufted titmice
  14. White-breasted nuthatches

    Orange Safflowers


    • Choose a location with full sun that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic.•Wait until the frost has passed and soil is least 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Then plant your safflower seeds 1 inch deep in rows that are 7-10 inches apart.

    Grow Your Own Safflower Seed

    • Full sun
    • Grows in a variety of soil conditions but loves high nitrogen and phosphorus content
    • 100 days to seed
    • Safflower love hot, dry conditions


    Safflower Tea – has some medical claims to helping prevent “hardening of the arteries,” lower cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease  Feed the Birds and Plant Flowers with Some of the Seed


    • Annual with a really long tap root
    • Flowers range from yellow, orange and reds
    • Each seed produces a stem is 2.5 – 3 feet high
    • Each stem produces branches with loads of flowers that bloom in mid & late summer
    • Each flower produces 10-20 seeds in the late fall
    • Butterflies enjoy the nectar of the flowers when migrating

    Dried Safflowers


    Leave the flowers dry on the plants.  The seed mature for 4-5 weeks after flowering ends.

    • You do don’t have to harvest the seeds if you don’t wish. The birds will do it for you.

    • If you want to save some seeds, then wear protective gloves and harvest the flower buds in a paper bag.


    Safflower leaves are a little picky (that is why I use gloves to harvest), so I tend to leave them stay where they grow until I am ready to harvest.  The frost kills the taproot and the annual plant, so next year you can start all over again next year if you wish.


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