Looking for plants that will attract birds to your yard? Fortunately, this really isn’t that difficult! More than anything, birds want a few simple things: food, shelter, and potential nesting sites. So we’re gonna go through 8 of our favorite varieties of plants that help to entice feathered friends into your landscapes. Here are:
Echinaceas, aka Coneflowers, are beautiful and hardy staples for gardeners across the world. However, for the bird lovers out there, they’re also a fantastic way to attract birds into your yard during the cooler months. Instead of removing old blooms at the onset of winter, allow them to develop seeds. These seeds are favorites of many birds, such as Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Goldfinches. At the return of Spring, cut your Echinaceas back down to the ground, in order for them to flush out for the new year.
Some of our favorite Echinaceas are the Crazy White and Crazy Pink Echinacea. These guys are powerhouses of bloomitude (yeah, I made that word up. So what?! I’d use it again!) and once matured they can produce over 100 blooms every year.
Hollies are perfect for bird enthusiasts in a couple different ways. First, their thick foliage provides an ideal location for birds to build nests and raise their young. They provide the type of ample shelter and stability that feathered soon-to-be-parents look for. Secondly, their berries will attract birds from far and wide in winter, making sure your yard is a popular hangout all year long.
One fantastic aspect of Hollies is that they are a diverse group and can fit in with any landscape. The Robin Holly, Oakland Holly, and Nellie R. Stevens Holly are great examples of naturally pyramidal, tall hollies, reaching 15-20′ high. All three of these will provide plenty of space for birds to take shelter.
A tried and true favorite, the Dwarf Burford Holly features single spine foliage, reaches heights of 10-12’ tall, and produces bounties of the characteristic red berries.
If sharp spines aren’t your thing, the Yaupon Holly or Bordeaux Yaupon Holly are shorter hollies reaching only around 4’ tall. They still produce bounties of red berries and provide shelter for birds, though they unfortunately sacrifice much of the potential for nesting sites.
Arborvitaes, particularly Thuja occidentalis and the Green Giant Arborvitae, are reliable staples when attempting to create homes for birds for seasons to come. These trees are useful for growing natural privacy screens, as they grow up to 3’ every year. Their sturdy branches allow for reliable shelter and nesting sites, while seed-bearing cones feed birds once winter rolls around.
If you go with the Green Giant, be sure to leave room for it to grow. They can reach 50-60′ tall!
This one may go without saying, and if you intend on eating your blueberries yourself then this is certainly something you will need to address, but birds love blueberries and will happily snack on them until the last berry disappears. Great for bird lovers, not so great for blueberry lovers. However, if you don’t mind sharing, blueberry bushes will make your yard the talk of Bird-town.
If your blueberries are for you and you only, be sure to invest in some netting to keep your bounty locked up tight. Click here for a blog post from Garden Mentors on keeping your blueberries away from birds.
Weigelas are perfect candidates for hungry hummingbirds looking for a tasty treat in your landscape. Hummingbirds tend to prefer red or pink blooms so be sure to keep that in mind when making your selection. The Shining Sensation and Rainbow Sensation Weigela both fit this bill, with the former producing light pink blooms, while the latter produces rich reddish-pink flowers.
To double down, surround your Weigelas with perennials or annuals, such as daylilies, petunias, impatiens, or cleomes. Then you can always go for broke by simply hanging a few hummingbird feeders (spaced well apart to avoid territory disputes). This will keep your hummingbird haven stocked with nectar all season long.
Viburnums are fantastic in many different capacities in the landscape, including hedges, accents, or containers. No matter where you have them though, they are sure to attract birds. Varieties such as the Snow Joey and Whorled Class provide valuable shelter, along with numerous locations for birds to create nests. A sturdy structure isn’t the only asset these Viburnums bring to the table, they also produce bright red berries in summer that birds relish.
You may already love Camellias for their gorgeous blossoms, but bird-lovers should look beyond the bloom when it comes to these beauties. Camellias naturally attract birds by creating ideal habitats for birds to take shelter and raise their young. Sturdy, and dense, Camellias provide more coverage for birds with each passing year. With so many to pick from, simply choose a variety that suits your liking. Taller and wider ones will naturally provide more coverage though.
Another hummingbird favorite, Salvia are always popular choices for hummingbird enthusiasts. Each year this perennial returns with more blooms than the year before, which is great because hummingbirds appreciate the snack. The Saucy Red and Saucy Wine Salvia are ideal candidates, as they continuously rebloom from Spring until the first frost. As mentioned earlier, feel free to pair the Salvia with a couple well-stocked hummingbird feeders to make sure that your hummingbirds are there to stay.
Planting a variety of plants will help to ensure that you attract a diverse collection of birds to your yard. Additionally, there are other steps that can help make sure your yard is a one-stop-shop for birds.
And there you have it! Plant the right plants, and apply some of these tips and your yard will be certified Bird-Friendly!
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