Bird seed vs butterfly bushes

Northwestern, NJ

I have three bird feeders hanging over one of my gardens, just off the deck. We get tons of beautiful birds all year but especially in the Winter. It's not unusual to need to refill them multiple times in a week, even daily. So, there's a lot of seed waste beneath the feeders.

My problem is that it seems to be killing the butterfly bushes I've planted there. Has anyone found a way to get the flowers to survive? I tried using waste free seed but there's still a lot of seed waste there.

I'm considering putting big planters out and planting the butterfly bushes in those so I can move them in the winter but I'm not sure how that would work.

I really like having the butterfly bushes in this location because it's so beautiful with the flowers and butterflies and birds all surrounding the deck so I'd like to keep them there if it can be made to work.

Any thoughts or ideas are much appreciated!

Hobart, IN

It could be the sunflower seed in the bird mix. If you have sunflower seed in your mix, you might be getting an allopathic effect on the butterfly bushes. I have one large bird feeder that I keep filled year-round. I have bare ground under it because the amount of feed waste can build up especially in the winter. My nearby rhododendron doesn't seem to mind much. You could try changing your mix if you don't want to move anything.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Yes, as noted, sunflower seed shells have a chemical effect that discourages plant growth, and as well, a build up of shell/seed debris also deters growth.
Would it be an option to move the feeders slightly (over an area of bare ground or a very tough groundcover) so that they're still visible but not overtop your butterfly bushes?

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Is it okay to put hulled sunflower seeds in the compost?

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Yes, they'll break down like any other organic vegetable matter.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)


Bay Village, OH

Hmm if I move my sunflower/mix feeder over that irritating

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