To attract birds and butterflies, you must have adequate sources of food, shelter and water. Flowers provide color, as well as nectar and seeds. The key is to know what they are looking for. When selecting wildlife-friendly plants for your garden, look for varieties that are both prolific bloomers and have a long bloom time.
If your garden is a welcoming environment for tiny, tasty bugs, it’ll see its fair share of bird visitors.
Butterflies, in particular, will be enamoured by a garden packed with flowers which provide plenty of delicious nectar.
Below we’ve highlighted 15 plants that you may consider planting if you wish to bring more flying wildlife to your garden.
1 ELDERBERRY (SAMBUCUS CANADENSIS)
– These shrubs are easy to grow in most locations, easy to maintain, and spread readily to become a hedge if you desire. Elderberry plants are generally free of pests.
Birds absolutely love elderberry and an un-protected bush can be stripped clean as soon as berries turn color! Netting seems to work best.
2 MARIGOLD (TAGETES)
– Bright and hardy marigolds are a no-fuss, low maintenance annual. Their cheery blooms thrive in the sun, making these summer-through-fall-time beauties a popular choice.
Their distinct smell is often described as pungent, but most gardeners appreciate this, as it keeps away garden pests and insects.
These colorful plants will attract a lot of birds in your garden.
3 SUNFLOWER (HELIANTHUS)
– The sunflowers that grow largest are those most of us still imagine first when thinking of sunflowers. These have tall single stalks with big flower faces of golden yellow petals and chocolate brown centers that ripen into heavy heads filled with seeds that birds will love.
4 DAISY (BELLIS PERENNIS)
– Daisies are a gardener’s best friend as they’re cheerful and very easy to grow.
This easy-to-grow plant forms a tidy clump and produces abundant flowers (usually golden yellow) starting in early summer. Flowers are beautiful in bouquets and attract butterflies and birds.
5 VIRGINIA CREEPER (PARTHENOCISSUS QUINQUEFOLIA)
– Virginia creeper is a plant that generates profoundly different opinions among gardeners. Some call it desirable. Some call it invasive, while others mistakenly call it poison ivy.
This plant produces berries that are attractive to birds, which then propagate the plant widely via their droppings.
Virginia creeper gets points for being a native plant and for its berries as a source of food for birds (although they can be toxic if ingested by humans). And many people enjoy the bright red color of its foliage in the early fall.
6 CONEFLOWER (ECHINACEA)
– Make room in your garden for these cool varieties of our old-fashioned favorite purple coneflower and learn a few tips about how to grow them.
Butterflies and bees flock to the flowers, and birds will come to your garden in fall and winter to eat the seedheads. That sounds like enough reasons for any gardener to take a second look at coneflowers!
7 STAGHORN SUMAC (RHUS TYPHINA)
– Birds such as evening grosbeaks, northern cardinals and ruffed grouse will eat sumac berries in winter and early spring, but often as a last resort.
Some butterflies use this plant as food for their young, and sumacs provide nectar for bees and other beneficial insects while providing great shelter for many more wild creatures.
8 CORNFLOWER (CENTAUREA CYANUS)
– Cornflowers produce a mass of a beautiful cobalt blue flowers that make them very popular with bees and butterflies. They are an annual flower – which means they grow, flower set seed and die all within one season.
They quickly add colour to vegetable gardens once summer has arrived and make the place look all the more attractive for their presence.
9 ASTER (SYMPHOTRICHUM)
– The gorgeous Aster is a fantastic low-effort addition to your garden. Its name originates from the Greek word for star, but also goes by many other names, with September flower, Michealmas daisy, and frost flower being just a few of them.
This amazing plant attracts butterflies, and bees love them too.
10 BLACK-EYED SUSAN (RUDBECKIA HIRTA)
– Black eyed susans are so easy to grow and light up the garden with bright yellow flowers that fairly glow when many other flowers are fading away.
Bees and Butterflies flock to them and in the Fall and Winter the seed heads serve as food for many birds.
– Banksia is an easy plant for the home gardener to cultivate. It has an attractive habit and many showy flower spikes. it is also a good food source for bees and nectar feeding birds and provides fine cut flowers.
The nectar laden flowers are perfect for attracting bees and birds into your garden plus they also make great cut flowers indoors where they’ll release their honey scent.
– A Bottlebrush plant can have red flower spikes accentuated with bright, yellow pollen.
The flower’s nectar are favorites among nectar-feeding insects and birds like the hummingbird. They make nice additions from butterfly gardening.
– Fennel is a versatile root vegetable and herb that can be grown in both spring and fall for a delicious harvest. The flower is a pollinator-attracting powerhouse and lovely addition to any bouquet. Attracted by this plant, a lot of songbids will visit your garden.
– This aromatic perennial thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, and is a necessity for provincial gardens. Whether you’re in town or the country, lavender is essential for bringing casual elegance to your garden. Growing lavender is as easy as cooking a roast in a crock pot: you set it and forget it.
Growing Lavender plants provides an invaluable source of nectar for honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies. For vegetable gardeners, this mean that having lavender planted near your eatables will ensure pollination and fruit set.
15 BIRD OF PARADISE
– Bird of Paradise plants are often confused with banana plants, but while bananas grow from a central stalk, Bird of Paradise plants have many leaf fronds.
Though they can tolerate lower light conditions, the Bird of Paradise will not thrive long-term without adequate sunlight, so place them in bright light.
Singing birds will visit your yard because of this beautiful tropical plant.