Top 24 Plants for a Bird Lover’s Garden

It is easy to have a garden that birds will love. You just need to provide water, food, nesting areas and safe havens from predatory animals. Keep a birdbath filled with fresh water and group plants together in clumps for nesting and safe cover. Erect birdhouses and plant a bountiful garden in the summer. Birds love to feast on insects that are attracted to lush gardens. In winter provide bushes and other plants that provide seeds and berries for hungry birds.

Below are the top 24 plants for your bird-lover’s garden.

1) Cleome-This tall spidery looking annual is hardy for all zones. It will get up to 5 feet tall with pink, purple or white flowers.

2) Borage-This annual is good for all zones. It is an herb with tiny star shaped blue flowers in summer and fall. Borage produces lots of seeds, a favorite birdie treat!

3) Cosmos-Looking like Daisies, these 4-foot tall flowers flourish in all zones. They bloom in summer & fall and look best clumped together. If you like white flowers try the Cosmos variety ‘White Sensation’.

4) Nasturtium-Low to ground at only about 12 inches high these brightly colored flowers grow in all zones. The ‘Whirlybird Mix’ has blooms of orange, red, and yellow all summer.

5) Cupid’s Dart-Like the Cosmos, Cupid’s Dart resembles a Daisy. The flowers are lavender and bloom on 2 feet stems. They do need to be divided annually and grow best in zones 4-9.

6) Scarlet Sage-Spikes of brilliant red flowers bloom from summer to first frost. This plant gets about 12 inches tall and does well in full sun and light shade. It is an annual that can be grown in all zones.

7) Miniature Rose-Miniature Roses can get up to 18 inches tall and bloom in the spring and summer. Try the variety ‘Snow Bride’ as its double snow-white blooms look spectacular against its dark green leaves. Plant Miniature Roses outside in zones 5-10.

8) Fuchsia-Try growing this plant in a hanging basket. Its flowers come in several shades such as pink, purple, white or bi-colored. Fuchsia will get about 3 feet long and looks very impressive cascading over the basket. Fuchsia should only be grown outside in zones 9-10. However it can be brought outside during the summer in other zones.

9) New England Aster-This is another flower that looks like a Daisy. It can get as high as 6 feet tall with blooms in a striking purple or pink. Plant this flower in zones 3-8.

10) Black Chokeberry-The birds love these berries. They have small white flowers in the spring and black berries in the summer. Black Chokeberry gets 3 feet tall and does best in zones 4-9.

11) Winterberry-Another berry loved by birds, this plant will get up to 15 feet in zones 4-9. It bears bright red berries in the fall.

12) Holly-This plant will help feed birds in the winter. It can get up to 50 feet tall and the ‘Canary Yellow’ variety has yellow winter berries instead of the traditional red berries.

13) Rudbeckia- The ‘Goldstrum’ variety has golden orange blooms with a brown center. This plant will get up to 2 feet tall and does best in zones 3-9.

14) Alpine Strawberry- You may be competing with the birds when it comes to munching on this fruit. The tiny delicate flowers are snow white. Considered ground cover it will only get up to 8 inches tall. Sow in zones 5-9.

15) Virginia Creeper-This vine with its white flowers and dark blue berries can extend up to 50 feet. It is grown in zones 3-9.

16) Flowering Dogwood – Flowering Dogwood is a tree that can get up to 40 feet tall. It has gorgeous pink or white spring flowers. The birds enjoy its red fruit in the fall. Grow Flowering Dogwood in zones 5-8.

17) Love-lies-bleeding-Hardy in all zones, this annual will get up to 5 feet tall. The summer flowers look like red tassels and the birds enjoy munching on the seeds in the fall.

18) Lowbush Blueberries-Another avian vs. human feeding competition is generated by this yummy plant. Growing in zones 3-7 it produces small white flowers in the spring and blue berries in the summer.

19) Trumpet Honeysuckle-Loved by hummingbirds, this 12 foot vine can be grown in zones 4-9. It has lovely fall leaves and red blooms in the summer.

20) Crabapple-This tree can get up to 30 feet tall and does best in zones 5-8. A great nesting site for birds, it produces white or pink flowers in the spring and red fruit in the fall.

21) Millet-This is a common plant found in the homes of most bird owners. Try growing it yourself instead of purchasing the millet from a pet store. It is an annual that can be grown in all zones and will get up to 4 feet tall.

22) Bearberry Cotoneaster-This plant only gets 12 inches tall and can be sown in zones 4-7. It is popular amongst birds due to its delectable red fall fruit.

23) Bayberry- Bayberry produces unusual gray flowers in the spring and berries from summer to winter. It will get up to 6 feet tall in zones 4-9.

24) White Pine-At 60 feet tall this is the tallest of our bird-loving plants. A great site for nesting in zones 4-9; it has long evergreen needles that help to protect birds throughout the harsh winter.

Mary J. Gibson

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