_I recently added three Royal Golden Broom to my flower bed behind the garage. Two did fantastically, but the third started dropping leaves almost immediately and turning yellow. I mulled it over for a couple of days, wondering if it was just a sickly plant or if something else was going on. Then it dawned on me…it was almost directly under the bird feeder, which I kept stocked with black oil sunflower seeds. I had this vague memory from my plant pathology days that this could be a bad thing. So I did a little research and found that sunflowers can have allelopathic properties. This means that they put out a chemical that can be harmful to other plants. Black walnut trees are famous for this, having a substance called juglone in their roots and leaves that inhibits many other plants. Not necessarily all plants, but those that are susceptible will wither away.
_I immediately dug up the plant and cleaned off all the soil, checking carefully for sunflower seeds or hulls, and repotted it in a soilless mix of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite with a little composted cow manure and Osmocote. It has taken a while, but it is recovering. It is now putting out new leaves on what were bare branches, so I moved it, pot and all back to the flower bed. I moved the bird feeder to an area that has only bare rock and gravel below it. I will have to clean out the flower bed and perhaps put in new soil before I replant the broom, but in the meantime it appears to be recovering. I read that the allelopathic properties can persist in the soil for a couple of months in some cases, so I need to do more research before I replant that end of the bed or find plants that can coexist with sunflowers. Either way, it's a lesson learned--no birdfeeders in a place where I want to grow a garden.
Hi there! I am Jeannine.
I believe that a holistic and balanced approach to life is a must when living with an autoimmune disease. I share gluten and dairy free recipes and all the other things I do here. I just like doing stuff and making stuff.
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