25 Top Plants to Attract Birds to Your Yard


It’s easy to attract birds to your yard. Birds are always on the lookout for food, water, shelter, and a place to build nests and raise their young. If you want to attract birds and give them a good reason to stay in and around your yard, some plants are especially valuable for these fascinating and beautiful animals. 

You can attract birds with a wide range of plants, including trees, shrubs, vines, native perennial wildflowers, and ornamental annuals. Growing a variety of different plants that bloom and produce fruits during different seasons will attract the widest diversity. For example, hummingbirds love nectar-rich flowers, finches are on the lookout for seeds, and catbirds feast on fruits. No matter where you live and what kinds of birds live in your region, you will be able to attract some of them to your landscape. 

The most important thing when starting your gardening project is to select the plants that will grow well where you live. Look at the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map to identify your zone. Observe your yard to see which areas are sunny or shaded. Examine the soil to determine the moisture levels and how well-drained it is. Once you are familiar with your site conditions, you can begin to select the best plants to thrive in your habitat.

Are you ready to learn more about some excellent wildlife plants? Let’s dig in for more details about 25 fantastic plants you can grow to create your own bird-friendly landscape.

Top Plant Picks to Attract Vibrant Birds

Coneflower

Purple Coneflower Echinacea Seeds

Purple Coneflower Echinacea Seeds

Sunflower

Lemon Queen Sunflower Seeds

Lemon Queen Sunflower Seeds

Zinnia

California Giants Blend Zinnia Seeds

California Giants Blend Zinnia Seeds

American Beautyberry

Close-up of a Callicarpa americana plant in a sunny garden. Callicarpa americana, commonly known as American beautyberry, is a deciduous shrub valued for its distinctive and ornamental features. The plant is characterized by its arching branches and simple, opposite leaves with serrated edges. The plant produces clusters of small, bright magenta to violet berries that encircle the stems.
Native to the Southeast, American beautyberry thrives in sun or partial shade, bearing vibrant fruits.
botanical-name
botanical name


Callicarpa americana
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


3 – 8 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


6 – 10

American beautyberry is a showy deciduous shrub native to the southeastern United States. It grows naturally as an understory plant in moist forests. In the home landscape, it performs very well in full sun and partial shade in a location with moist, well-drained soil. 

American beautyberry blooms in the spring with small clusters of pale pink, purple, or white flowers that appear to surround the woody stems. By fall, small rounded clusters of firm round fruits change from green to vibrant pinkish-purple. Birds will come to feed on these fruits. Larger, more mature American beautyberry shrubs provide branches for birds to perch and seek shelter.

American Holly

Close-up of Ilex opaca plant branches in a sunny garden. This species features glossy, leathery leaves with spiny margins, arranged alternately on the branches. The leaves are a deep, lustrous green, providing a year-round verdant display. This tree produces bright red berries, known as drupes, which persist throughout the winter and are a crucial food source for birds.
Native holly varieties, like American holly, are ideal for landscaping and wildlife.
botanical-name
botanical name


Ilex opaca
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


40 – 60 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5 – 9

There are several native holly varieties and cultivars you can choose from, and all make excellent landscaping plants. American holly is a large, bushy, evergreen shrub that can grow up to 60 feet tall. That being said, plant it away from your home and other buildings. It is native to central and eastern North America. Grow holly in full sun or partial shade with moist, well-drained soil.

American holly is a great plant for birds and other wildlife. Because these trees are evergreen, they provide year-round cover for roosting and nesting birds, as well as young fledglings that need some extra shelter.

Birds will forage among the leaves and branches for insects to eat. In the fall and winter, the long-standing holly berries continue to provide a valuable food source for fruit-eating winter-resident birds.

Anise Hyssop

Close-up shot of flowering Agastache foeniculum plants in a sunny garden among green foliage. This plant grows in clumps, producing gray-green, lance-shaped leaves. Agastache foeniculum produces dense spikes of tubular flowers that vary in color from lavender to purple.
Easy-to-grow anise hyssop is a native perennial that thrives in sunny or lightly shaded areas.
botanical-name
botanical name


Agastache foeniculum
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


2 – 4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 8

Anise hyssop, also known as giant blue hyssop, is a perennial wildflower native to northern North America. It is easy to grow from seed, and plants will spread and naturalize once established. Grow anise hyssop in full sun or light shade with dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil.

Anise hyssop is a member of the mint family and has square stems and pleasantly fragrant leaves. It blooms from mid to late summer and can be encouraged to continue blooming into fall by deadheading spent flowers. Pollinators and hummingbirds love to gather nectar from the showy purple flower spikes. 

Asters

Top view, close-up of a flowering Symphyotrichum plant in an autumn garden. Symphyotrichum, commonly known as asters, displays slender stems with lance-shaped leaves along their length. The leaves vary in size and are serrated. The standout feature is the late-season blooming daisy-like flowers, featuring a central disk surrounded by colorful ray florets in shades of purple, and blue.
Choose from various aster varieties for gardens, and opt for smaller types in limited spaces.
botanical-name
botanical name


Symphyotrichum spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


1 – 6 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 8

There are a great number of aster varieties to choose from. The home gardener can find many species and interesting cultivars with colorful flowers and pleasing growth forms. For smaller gardens and containers, choose the smaller varieties, and for a larger naturalized area of prairie planting, choose a larger, bushy variety to fill the space with beautiful late-season blooms.

Many asters bloom in the summer and fall, and some cold-hardy varieties will even continue blooming after the first frost. The flowers attract a tremendous assortment of late-season pollinators. After flowering, hungry foraging birds will check out the seedheads and use the larger standing plants for shelter.

Black Chokeberry

Close-up of a branch of an Aronia melanocarpa plant with ripe berries on a blurred green background. Aronia melanocarpa, commonly known as black chokeberry, is a deciduous shrub. It boasts glossy, dark green leaves. The plant produces clusters of small, dark purple-black berries.
The black chokeberry thrives in various conditions, blooms attractively, and supports wildlife.
botanical-name
botanical name


Aronia melanocarpa
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


3 – 6 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3 – 8

Black chokeberry is an attractive shrub native to central and eastern North America. It is easy to grow in a range of conditions and soil types. In its natural habitat, chokeberry typically grows as an understory plant and performs well in partial shade and full sun.

Black chokeberry blooms in the springtime and has beautiful clusters of pink or white flowers that attract butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects. By fall, black chokeberry produces clusters of shiny, round, purple-black fruits favored by many fruit-eating birds. The fall foliage is very attractive in shades of bright orange and red.

American Elderberry

Close-up of a flowering Sambucus canadensis plant, commonly known as American elderberry, in a garden. It features pinnately compound leaves with serrated edges, arranged oppositely along arching branches. The shrub produces large, flat clusters of tiny, fragrant, cream-colored flowers that attract pollinators.
Native and vigorous, American elderberry thrives in sun or shade, attracting wildlife with fruits and flowers.
botanical-name
botanical name


Sambucus canadensis
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


5 – 12 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 8

American elderberry is a vigorous shrub native throughout much of North America. It grows well in full sun or partial shade with moist, well-drained soil. Elderberry shrubs grow quickly and will spread by root suckers. Because of its vigorous growth habit, this is a plant that is best used in a naturalized area or hedge.

Birds love elderberry fruits that ripen in late summer and early fall. In the springtime, its clusters of showy white flowers attract a multitude of pollinators. Since these shrubs can form a dense thicket, they can provide abundant wildlife habitat, nesting sites, and shelter for birds, insects, and other small animals.

Black-eyed Susan 

Close-up of flowering Rudbeckia hirta plant in a sunny garden. It features erect stems with lance-shaped leaves that are hairy and rough to the touch. The plant produces striking daisy-like flowers with golden-yellow petals radiating around a dark chocolate-brown central disk, creating a distinctive black-eyed effect. A small brown-gray moth sits on one of the flowers.
Native black-eyed Susan, easy to grow annually or perennially, attracts butterflies and songbirds.
botanical-name
botanical name


Rudbeckia hirta
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


2 – 4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3 – 8

Black-eyed Susan is a familiar wildflower native to the central and eastern United States. This plant is easy to grow either as an annual or a short-lived perennial. Either way, black-eyed Susan will reseed itself, and you will never be without these beautiful and prolific wildflowers. 

Black-eyed Susans grow quickly from seed. If you sow seeds in the spring, you will have mature, blooming plants by mid-summer. Butterflies and bees are attracted to the beautiful yellow flowers. In the fall, allow the flowers to mature into seedheads, and songbirds will come to feed on the seeds, picking them apart with great enthusiasm.

Blazing Star

Close-up of a flowering Liatris plant, commonly known as blazing star, against a blurred green background. This is a perennial plant known for its slender, upright spikes of densely packed, tufted flowers. The plant boasts linear, grass-like leaves that line the stem. The flowers, in shades of purple or pink, form a distinctive bottlebrush-like appearance.
Choose from various beautiful blazing star species and cultivars, attracting pollinators and songbirds.
botanical-name
botanical name


Liatris spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1 – 5 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3 – 9

If you start looking for blazing star plants, you will find several species and numerous cultivars to choose from. They are all beautiful and will all attract pollinators and songbirds. Blazing star flowers bloom in the summertime with tall, long-lasting spikes of white, pink, or purple frilly flowers. These flowers attract a multitude of pollinators. After flowering, birds will forage on the abundant masses of dried seeds.

Grow your blazing star in a pocket prairie, pollinator garden, or container garden. These plants are hardy and reliable in the garden. They can be grown from seed or by dividing mature corms. Blazing star plants perform best in full sun with dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil.

Blueberries

Close-up of a Vaccinium plant in a sunny garden. This compact plant has elliptical leaves of dark green color. It produces clusters of plump, round berries in shades of blue, ranging from light to deep indigo.
Attract fruit-eating wildlife with blueberries, blooming in spring and providing refuge year-round.
botanical-name
botanical name


Vaccinium spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


0.6 – 12 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 10

Blueberries are wonderful shrubs for your bird-friendly landscape. As long as you’re willing to share some of your delicious blueberries with the birds, you can attract plenty of fruit-eating wildlife to your yard.

Blueberries bloom in the springtime, and their flowers are very popular with pollinators. Blueberries actually depend on these pollinators to successfully produce fruits.

The fruits ripen during the summer months, providing a food source for birds. Even birds that are not actively seeking fruits will find refuge in the dense branches of a large blueberry shrub. In the autumn, you can appreciate the beautiful bright red fall foliage, and birds will continue using these shrubs as shelter throughout the winter months.

Coral Honeysuckle

Close-up of a flowering plant Lonicera sempervirens, commonly known as coral honeysuckle or trumpet honeysuckle, against a blurred background. The plant features semi-evergreen leaves that are oval and arranged oppositely along twining stems. Clusters of tubular, trumpet-shaped flowers bloom, displaying a vivid coral-red hue, though they can also appear in shades of orange or yellow.
Native coral honeysuckle, thriving in sun or light shade, attracts hummingbirds and offers nesting habitat.
botanical-name
botanical name


Lonicera sempervirens
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


10 – 20 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 9

Coral honeysuckle, also known as trumpet honeysuckle, is a native evergreen vine from the southeastern United States. It grows in medium-moisture, well-drained soil in full sun or light shade. These twining vines need a structure or support to grow on and will vigorously climb up a trellis, arbor, or fence. 

Coral honeysuckle blooms in the spring and summer. The loose clusters of tubular, vibrant, scarlet red flowers are a hummingbird favorite! After flowering, these plants produce scattered, small red berries that are eaten by foraging birds. Larger, many-branched masses of coral honeysuckle vines can provide valuable nesting habitat for birds.

Coreopsis

Close-up of blooming Coreopsis in a sunny garden. Coreopsis, commonly known as tickseed, is a cheerful and resilient perennial plant known for its vibrant and daisy-like blooms. The plants form mounds of delicate, fern-like foliage, and they bear an abundance of flowers on wiry stems. Coreopsis flowers come in a bright yellow with a prominent central disk surrounded by petal-like rays.
Versatile coreopsis, easily grown from seed, attracts butterflies, bees, and seed-eating birds in fall.
botanical-name
botanical name


Coreopsis spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1 – 4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 10

Coreopsis is a diverse group of annual and perennial wildflowers, including numerous beautiful cultivars. They are easily grown from seed and can be grown in any sunny, warm location with well-drained soil. Coreopsis plants work wonderfully as container-grown flowers, or they can be incorporated into many garden settings, including a cutting garden, butterfly garden, or rock garden.

Butterflies, bees, pollinators, and many other beneficial insects will use the coreopsis flowers. In the fall, allow the seedheads to remain on these plants, and you will attract small seed-eating birds. These plants look best when grown in mass plantings and can be quite stunning at the peak of their blooming period!

Crabapple

Close-up of the flowering plant Malus angustifolia, commonly known as Southern crabapple, against a blurred background. The tree's slender branches are adorned with glossy, serrated leaves of dark green color. Southern crabapple produces fragrant, showy clusters of white to pale pink flowers.
Eastern native crabapples, thriving in light shade, benefit wildlife with showy flowers and fruits.
botanical-name
botanical name


Malus angustifolia
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


20 – 30 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 9

Crabapple trees are small trees native to the eastern United States. They grow primarily as understory trees and do well with a lightly shaded site. Wild crabapple trees are native to the southeastern United States, although there are several beautiful crabapple cultivars available as well.

As a wildlife tree, crabapple provides numerous benefits. The spring-blooming pink or white flowers are not only extremely showy, they also attract many pollinators. Small fruits ripen in the summer and provide a food source for foraging birds and small mammals. Birds will nest and seek shelter in the dense branches of a crabapple tree. 

Eastern Redbud

Close-up of a blooming Cercis canadensis against a blurred blue sky background. Before the leaves fully unfold, clusters of small, rose-purple pea-like flowers appear directly on the branches and trunk, creating a stunning floral display.
Wildlife-friendly eastern redbud, easy to grow in sun or shade, attracts birds and butterflies.
botanical-name
botanical name


Cercis canadensis
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


20 – 30 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 8

If you’re looking for a very wildlife-friendly tree for your landscape, give some serious consideration to the eastern redbud. This small tree supports butterflies, birds, and other small animals.

Eastern redbud blooms in early spring, attracting early-season pollinators. Several butterflies use redbud trees as a larval host plant. In the summer, birds will use redbud trees for foraging, nesting, and shelter. In the fall, birds and small mammals may eat the seeds from this tree.

Eastern redbud is an easy-to-grow native tree, and there are numerous beautiful cultivars available for gardeners. It does well in full sun or partial shade and is adaptable to a variety of soil types as long as the soil is well-drained. Grow your eastern redbud in a location where you’ll be sure to see and appreciate its seasonal beauty!

Flowering Dogwood

Close-up of Cornus Florida in bloom in a garden. Cornus florida, commonly known as flowering dogwood, is a deciduous tree celebrated for its exquisite and iconic appearance. It features a low-branching, horizontal structure with a flat-topped crown. The tree bursts into a breathtaking display of bracts—modified leaves resembling petals—in hues of white and pink. These bracts surround inconspicuous true flowers, creating a distinctive floral effect.
Native flowering dogwood makes a spring spectacle in partial shade, attracts pollinators, and nourishes songbirds.
botanical-name
botanical name


Cornus florida
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


15 – 25 feet 
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5 – 9

Flowering dogwood is a spectacular spring-blooming small tree. During the peak of spring, when many other flowers are starting to bloom, the flowering dogwood takes its turn. The flowers attract many early-season pollinators.

In late summer and into fall, dogwoods produce small, bright red berries that are a favorite food of songbirds and other small fruit-eating animals. These trees provide nesting habitat and shelter for birds throughout the year.

Flowering dogwood is native to the central and eastern United States. They grow primarily as an understory tree and appreciate a location with partial shade. Plant your dogwood in rich, moist, well-drained soil. Be sure to check out some of the numerous dogwood cultivars as well; there are varieties with many different beautiful flowers and foliage. 

Fragrant Sumac

Close-up of a Rhus aromatica branch with clusters of red berries on a blurred green background. This shrub produces trifoliate leaves that are bright green in color. Clusters of hairy, red berries grow on the branch.
Native fragrant sumac is ideal for wildlife gardens and thrives in sun or shade.
botanical-name
botanical name


Rhus aromatica
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


2 – 6 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3 – 9

Fragrant sumac is an attractive deciduous shrub native to central and eastern North America. This low-maintenance shrub grows well in both full sun and partial shade and with dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil. Use fragrant sumac in a wildlife garden, woodland garden, or naturalized area. 

Fragrant sumac is a great plant for landscaping and for attracting birds and butterflies. It makes a good hedge plant and offers greenery throughout the growing season. Small clusters of greenish-white flowers attract pollinators in the spring. In the fall, however, is when fragrant sumac really shines. The brilliant fall foliage adds dazzling reds and oranges to your garden and the fall berries attract many foraging birds.

Goldenrod

Close-up shot of a flowering Goldenrod plant in a sunny garden. Goldenrod features elongated stems with lance-shaped leaves arranged alternately. The plant produces dense, plume-like clusters of tiny, bright yellow flowers that form at the top of the stems.
Adaptable goldenrods bloom showy yellow flowers, attracting pollinators and birds.
botanical-name
botanical name


Solidago spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1 – 7 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


2 – 8

Goldenrods are a diverse group of perennial wildflowers with many beautiful cultivars as well. Goldenrod plants are primarily native to North and South America, with a few species from Eurasia. These plants are easy to grow and adaptable to a range of growing conditions. 

Goldenrod plants are known for their beautiful, showy yellow flowers. They typically bloom from mid to late summer into fall, some varieties continuing to bloom until the first frost. Many pollinators, especially native bees, will love to visit the flowers. After flowering, goldenrods produce fluffy tufts of seeds that appeal to fall and winter-foraging birds. 

Little Bluestem

Close-up of Schizachyrium scoparium in a garden. Schizachyrium scoparium, commonly known as little bluestem, is a native North American grass celebrated for its ornamental and ecological qualities. This warm-season, perennial bunchgrass reaches 2 to 4 feet in height, forming upright clumps of slender, blue-green stems.
Include native grasses like little bluestem in your bird-friendly landscape for year-round interest.
botanical-name
botanical name


Schizachyrium scoparium
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


2 – 4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3 – 9

Don’t forget about native grasses when creating a bird-friendly landscape. Little bluestem is an ornamental bunch-grass native to eastern North America. It grows well in full sun with dry to medium-moisture, well-drained soil. As a landscaping plant, it provides attractive foliage that dances in the slightest breeze.

In the fall, the grass color changes from green to bronze, but don’t mow it down just yet. Allow little bluestem to stand throughout the fall and winter and long-season interest and diversity in your landscape. Birds will come along to seek shelter within the clumps of vegetation and feed on the abundant dry seeds.

Joe Pye Weed

Close-up of flowering Eutrochium purpureum plants, commonly known as Joe-Pye weed, in a garden. It features sturdy, purple-tinged stems and whorls of lance-shaped leaves. The plant produces large, dome-shaped clusters of tiny, dusty rose to purplish-pink flowers.
Tall native Joe Pye weed, flourishing in full sun and moist soil, attracts pollinators and songbirds.
botanical-name
botanical name


Eutrochium purpureum
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


5 – 7 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 9

Joe Pye weed is a tall perennial wildflower native to central and eastern North America. This is a very large plant that will grow best with full sun and moist soil. Once established, Joe Pye weed will spread and naturalize, so be sure you have plenty of space.

As a wildlife plant, Joe Pye weed is a great choice. In late summer and early fall, it blooms with large masses of fuzzy-looking pale mauve flowers. The flowers are a pollinator favorite, and you are sure to see plenty of insect activity. After flowering, songbirds will come along to forage on the dried seedheads.

Oak Trees

Close-up of Oak tree (Quercus) branches on a blurred background. Oak leaves are alternate, simple, and deeply lobed. The tree produces acorns, which are borne on long stems and encased in distinctive cup-like structures called cupules.
Plant oak trees for wildlife benefits, offering shade, nesting sites, and food sources year-round.
botanical-name
botanical name


Quercus spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


30 – 90 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3 – 9

One of the best wildlife-friendly trees you can plant is an oak tree. There are many different species of oak trees native throughout North America, and all will provide benefits for birds. Oak trees provide shade, shelter, and places for birds to perch and roost. In the summer, they provide nesting opportunities. 

Many caterpillar species feed on oak leaves, and these caterpillars are a valued food source for insect-eating birds and all types of birds that feed their young with small caterpillars. In the fall, some birds and mammals feed on the oak acorns.

Throughout the year, many birds will forage for food along the trunks and branches of oak trees. These beautiful trees really do provide a wealth of opportunities to attract birds to your landscape.

Purple Coneflower

Close-up of flowering Echinacea purpurea, commonly known as purple coneflower, against a blurred background. The plant features sturdy stems topped with large, daisy-like flowers. These flowers, with prominent coppery-brown central cones surrounded by vibrant pink to purple petals, create a striking and long-lasting display.
Ideal for native wildflower gardens, easy-to-grow purple coneflowers bloom, attracting pollinators and seed-eating birds.
botanical-name
botanical name


Echinacea purpurea
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


2 – 5 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3 – 8

If you are looking for an ideal plant to add to your native wildflower garden, this is the one. Purple coneflower is native to central and eastern North America and is very easy to grow from seed. They grow in a variety of soil types and even tolerate some light shade.

Once established, a purple coneflower plant is a reliable perennial that can bloom throughout the summer and into fall. The large, showy, pinkish-purple flowers will be a highlight in your flower garden.

During their peak bloom, they will be almost constantly visited by pollinators. After the flowers fade, don’t deadhead them. Seed-eating birds will flock to the spiky seedheads for a nutritious snack.

Red Maple

Close-up of an Acer rubrum tree, commonly known as red maple, in a garden. This is a deciduous tree. It features a rounded to oval crown and smooth, grayish bark. The leaves are palmately lobed with serrated edges and turn vibrant shades of red.
Native red maples, thriving in rich, moist soil, provide shade, nesting, and foraging for wildlife.
botanical-name
botanical name


Acer rubrum 
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


40 – 120 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


2 – 9

Red maple is a beautiful landscaping tree native to central and eastern North America. This handsome tree is easy to grow in rich, moist, well-drained soil. These make excellent shade trees and offer many benefits to birds and other wildlife. They also have spectacular fall foliage, so be sure to plant your red maple where you can admire its beauty!

In the spring, red maple trees produce an abundance of tiny red flowers that attract bees and other pollinators. In the summer, these trees offer shelter, nesting opportunities, branches for perching, and plenty of space where birds can forage for insects. The seeds are also enjoyed by some species of birds, as well as squirrels and other small mammals. 

Salvia ‘Black and Blue’

Close-up of a flowering Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ plant in a sunny garden. It boasts sturdy stems adorned with glossy, dark green, lance-shaped leaves. The true highlight of this salvia cultivar is its tubular flowers, which are an intense cobalt blue with near-black calyxes.
Grow ‘Black and Blue’ salvia in full sun, control spread, and attract hummingbirds with flowers.
botanical-name
botanical name


Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


2 – 5 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


7 – 10

‘Black and Blue’ salvia is a popular perennial sage plant cultivar. It grows best in full sun with moist, well-drained soil. These plants spread vigorously by rhizomes and can be grown in a cottage garden, wildflower garden, hummingbird garden, or in a patio container. Thin them periodically to help control any unwanted spread.

‘Black and Blue’ salvia has a long bloom period and can flower almost continually from mid-summer until the first frost. Hummingbirds love the flowers and will come to visit frequently, sipping nectar from the long, tubular, dark purple-blue flowers. Many other varieties of salvia will also attract hummingbirds to your garden.

Serviceberry

Close-up of a Serviceberry plant in a garden. The plant boasts a rounded form with slender branches and alternately arranged, finely-toothed leaves. Serviceberries produce clusters of small, round berries that transition from green to red and finally mature to a dark purple or blackish hue.
Native serviceberries thrive in home landscapes, bloom in spring, attract pollinators, and offer bird-friendly fruits.
botanical-name
botanical name


Amelanchier spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to full shade
height
height


15 – 25 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4 – 9

There are several species of serviceberry shrubs, many of which are native to central and eastern North America. These plants are easy to grow in the home landscape and make attractive plantings in full sun or partially shaded locations. 

Serviceberry blooms in the spring with beautiful bunches of white pollinator-friendly blossoms. After flowering, loose clusters of small red fruits attract the interest of fruit-eating birds. These shrubs also provide perching and nesting opportunities for all species of birds that visit your yard.

Sunflowers

Close-up of a flowering Helianthus annuus plant in a sunny garden against a blurred background. It features a tall, sturdy stem adorned with broad, coarse leaves. The plant produces a large, solitary flower head. The flower head consists of a central disk of densely packed tiny florets surrounded by brightly colored, petal-like ray flowers that radiate in a sunburst pattern. The ray flowers vary in color from bright yellow to deep orange.
Easily grow annual sunflowers from seed, protect against squirrels, attract pollinators, and feed birds.
botanical-name
botanical name


Helianthus annuus
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1 – 10 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


2 – 11

Annual sunflowers are easy to grow from seed in any warm and sunny location. Just direct sow the seeds in the spring, and you will have beautiful blooming sunflowers by mid-summer! Use a critter cage over the seeds and young plants if squirrels are digging them up. 

Sunflowers come in a wide range of sizes; some giant varieties can grow up to 10 feet tall. While blooming, sunflowers attract many beneficial insect pollinators. After blooming, you can expect to see many seed-eating birds coming to feast on the abundant and nutritious seeds.

Zinnia

Close-up of blooming zinnias in a sunny garden. The Zinnia plant is characterized by its vibrant and diverse array of flowers, which come in a wide spectrum of colors, including red, pink and purple. The leaves of the Zinnia plant are opposite, simple, and lance-shaped, with a slightly serrated edge. The flowers themselves are composed of multiple layers of petals, forming a daisy-like appearance.
Grow easy zinnias from spring seeds, attracting pollinators and finches with colorful flowers.
botanical-name
botanical name


Zinnia spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


0.5 – 4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


2 – 11

Zinnias are extremely easy-to-grow annual flowers. You can start zinnia seeds in the spring and have robust, fully blooming plants by mid-summer. In most areas, these brightly colored flowers will continue blooming until the first frost. Zinnias come in a huge variety of colors and sizes and can be grown in containers, raised beds, and just about anywhere you have a bit of extra space.

Zinnia flowers are a reliable pollinator favorite. The flowers will attract plenty of butterflies, bees, and beneficial insects. Hummingbirds also love zinnia flowers! In the fall, after the flowers have gone to seed, foraging finches will come around to pick the mature seeds out of the spent flowerheads, so don’t immediately deadhead your zinnias if you want to attract these birds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many ways to attract birds and other wildlife to your yard. Birds are attracted to an area if it provides the habitat they require. Birds all need food, water, shelter, and during the breeding season, a place to safely raise their young. You can provide water in the form of a bird bath, shallow puddles, sprinklers, and misters. You can provide food in the form of nectar-rich flowers, seed-producing plants, fruiting plants, and bird feeders. You can provide shelter and nesting opportunities by installing a birdhouse and planting trees and shrubs in your landscape.

In general, any plant that offers nectar, seeds, fruits, and shelter can benefit wildlife. If you’re looking for plants to avoid, however, don’t grow invasive species. There are some invasive species that birds love to eat, such as privet berries. Birds eat the berries and then spread the seeds of this plant far and wide. Make sure that whatever plants you choose to grow in your home landscape are not considered invasive in your region.

Birds live everywhere, in cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural areas. No matter where you live, you can grow plants to attract birds to your yard. If you have a large yard, you can create an entire wildlife-friendly landscape. If you have a small yard, you can fill a single raised bed garden with bird-friendly plants and still offer valuable nectar and seeds for the resident birdlife. There really is no minimum space requirement to grow a wildlife-friendly garden.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to attract birds to your yard, and growing the right plants is a colorful and rewarding method to welcome birds to your home landscape. If you have enough space, grow a variety of plants that bloom in different seasons and produce nectar-rich flowers, seeds, or fruits.

Grow plants with different structural types, from herbaceous perennials to shrubs to shade trees. The more variety you have in your landscape, the more welcoming it will be to different bird species. Luckily, there are numerous beautiful, interesting, and easy-to-grow plants that you can choose from to create a thriving, bird-friendly garden in your own backyard. 



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