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Updated: 31 May 2022

Best no-grow bird seed

Feed the birds without spilled seed germinating and becoming weeds in your garden with these no-grow bird seeds.
Jade Harding
Filling-bird-feeder 2

Feeding garden birds is an enjoyable pastime for many, but one drawback can be that spilled bird seed begins to grow and create a blanket of weeds below your feeder.

To combat this, many companies now supply seed mixes labelled as ‘no grow’ or ‘no mess’. These contain oats and sometimes suet pellets along with various seeds, such as sunflower and maize, that have been kibbled – cracked, chopped or ground – or heat treated to inhibit germination.

Find out if these treatments actually work in our results table below.


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Best no-grow bird seeds

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No-grow bird seedGermination four days after sowingGermination 10 days after sowing% tray coverageOutside germinationOverall rating
96%

With the best score in the test, this mix of oats, maize, sunflower, peanuts, barley and wheat produced just three grass-like seedlings in the greenhouse, which grew into fairly weak plants. These were probably oats, but as they didn’t get to flowering size, we can’t be sure. Outside, just a single maize seedling grew. A big bonus is this blend doesn’t include suet pellets, which can turn slimy and encourage mould growth if left.

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No-grow bird seedGermination four days after sowingGermination 10 days after sowing% tray coverageOutside germinationOverall rating
92%

Containing a blend of oats, kibbled maize, kibbled sunflower hearts and peanuts, plus suet pellets and petrified wheat (cooked to make it more easily digested), this produced only a handful of sunflower seedlings in our greenhouse seed trays. Outside in our fruit cage, nothing germinated at all and the seed soon disappeared, most likely eaten by mice.

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No-grow bird seedGermination four days after sowingGermination 10 days after sowing% tray coverageOutside germinationOverall rating
84%

Why Which? no-grow bird seed reviews are better

Which? is independent and doesn't accept advertising or freebies, so you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about a product.

We tested eight well-known brands, both on seed trays in the greenhouse and outdoors.

Each mix was sown in a seed tray of best compost and kept in the greenhouse.

We also sowed each mix on the ground outside in a bed protected by a fruit cage.

  • We recorded germination in the greenhouse four days and 10 days after sowing.
  • We recorded germination after 10 days on the seeds placed outside.
  • Any seed that germinated was allowed to grow on so we could see whether the resulting plants were invasive or could be problematic.

We also contacted the manufacturers to find out the exact ingredients of each seed blend, since we noticed that some contained a greater variety of seeds than was listed on the packaging.

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