The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Texas, United States Us

I am retired and one of my hobbies is to make Native American Type flutes from sunflower stalks. In the last two years, I grew some, but the stalks would only produce smaller or high pitched flutes. This year I am trying the larger type . like Titan, Sunzilla, Giant Mongolian, Skyscraper...etc. We will see how these turn out.

I noticed the Giant Amaranth plants. Was wondering if the stalks would dry anything like a sunflower stalk.
I also use the bloom stalks from the Sotol desert plant to make my flutes. Both require the same process as any regular "branch style" flute in that they have to be band sawed the length and hollowed out to make the flutes. The sunflower and sotol flutes produce very mellow sounding flutes desired by some musicians. Would be interested in obtaining some seed of the giant Amaranth if possible. Would like to have some experienced information about the wood texture if possible. Can do trade out on some specialty seeds, or what is needed. Thanks.



can you not try different bamboos or there is a giant grass i have but im dyslexic and dont know latin names . just a thaught mate . sounds very interesting .

18 Apr, 2012


As a flute maker, especially a branch flute type maker, it is a fun challenge to make a flute out of just about anything.
I will draw the line at trying to make flutes out of carrots and other veggies like those silly guys on you tube.
I was most fortunate to have been taught by a great master flute maker to use bamboo, and river cane... There are other reed type stalks like the donax river rush, but I am not fond of them.
To show you how crazy I can get...I had a bell pepper plant that grew three years in the garden before it croaked. The main stem was just thick enough for me to make a small bore hi e high pitched NAmerican type flute. Worked really well.
I travel to Terlingua, TX each year and spend a week. The sotol bloom stalk...the luchigia bloom stalk, and the yucca stalks can make nice flutes. You have to catch them early, or the worms will damage too much of the wood. When we can, we find the huge century plant bloom stalks, and hopefully get them right after the plant blooms and dies. We make didgeri doos out of them.
Some people have actually tried to make flutes out of some of the harder shafts of corn stalks...but I have not seen any stalks that had hard enough wood fibers in them.
The amaranth stalks, especially that giant one that is shown growing up past a two story house seems like it would have a pretty tough fiber content.

When we make a flute or didgi, we band saw, or evenly split the piece long ways into two equal halves.
We do not use routers for hollowing out the bore area. Instead, a lot of us use hand gouges. Personally, I use a shaft tool that has a special handle on it. The chuck end holds a 1/4 in shaft bit. The bit is a Kutzall burr that is a special carbide construction. You use a lot of protective gear, and the burr is going 30 thousand rpm. It does not take a whole lot of time to carve out a bore.
Follow me on FaceBook under Donn Shands. You can see my garden and some crafts there.
Hoping someone has some of those seeds for that giant amaranth plant.....or...if they chopped one down...would pay some postage to get a few 30 inch pieces that would be about 1 1/4 in in diameter.

18 Apr, 2012


Tejasmed this is a gardening forum, we don't sell anything and, as the majority of us live in the UK, we can't send seed to the US. Suggest you contact a US Amaranth supplier.

You flute making sounds fascinating!

18 Apr, 2012


Amazing question though! Some plant that's big enough to make a digeridoo. Nothing like that in the UK.

18 Apr, 2012

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?