No-grow bird seed
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.
Best no-grow bird seeds
1 star = 80-100% germination; 2 stars = 60-80% germination; 3 stars = 40-60% germination; 4 stars = 20-40% germination; 5 stars = 0-20% germination. Rating ignores price and is based on: germination after four days 20%; germination after 10 days 20%; tray coverage 20%; outside germination 40%. Prices correct as of 2020.
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We tested eight well-known brands, both on seed trays in the greenhouse and outdoors.
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.