12 Plants That Attract Birds (Flowers, Bushes & Trees)

Tori Rhodes
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Cornflower (Centaurea Cyanus)

Cornflowers were brought to North America by the early settlers and for the Europeans, they soon became an important part of their early gardens. Cornflowers have beautiful blue flowers and are very simple to grow.

Wildlife Value

The cornstalk holds the nitrogen that the plants need. The stems are left in the garden to decay and this enables the plant to take up the nutrients they need during the following growing season.

The strong stalks make great perches and nests for birds such as Tree Sparrows, Robins and Blue Tits and they will also use the cornflowers as a food source.

Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)

The elderberry is a prairie native that grows up to 15 feet in height. It offers excellent cover for birds because of its dense foliage. This shrub blooms in the summer with white flowers that provide nectar for bees and other pollinators.

According to this article, this plant is not only a good habitat for birds like the robin, chickadee, goldfinch, and bluebird, but also it is a food source for them too! The berries, which are ripe in September and October, are inedible for humans but the birds love them.

If you like your elderberry as a landscaping plant, consider the Blue elderberry which produces large quantities of very aromatic blossoms and even has beautiful fall foliage.

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.)

This is one of the best plants to attract hummingbirds because they love to eat the sweet milky sap of milkweed.

In fact, they are so reliant on milkweed that they have evolved to only feed on it!

To attract these beautiful birds, plant a milkweed or two around your garden, but be sure to keep the plant away from your doors and entrances since their sap is toxic to humans and their flowers are not edible.

Daisy (Bellis Perennis)

These are beautiful low growing plants which come in whites, yellows, pinks, and reds. These are a real eye catchers. They are best planted in groups in borders.

Sunflower (Helianthus spp.)

Sunflowers attract all types of birds, large and small. The ground covering types are the most popular, but the vine-like and the tall varieties add color and texture to the landscape.

Holly (Ilex spp.)

Holly is one of the most popular evergreen shrubs in the world. The spiny-edged leaves are popular in Christmas wreaths and during the winter months, flakes of dormant chlorophyll give a beige look to the holly leaves. Holly trees are native to Europe and have been popular in North America since the 1700s.

Description and Habitat ______________________________________________________________

The holly tree is a small to medium sized, broad leaved evergreen shrub, which usually grows to around 15' but can grow to around 25' with age. This woody shrub has a dense crown and can be found growing in thickets, woodland edges and dunes in a variety of locations.

The holly is so popular as a plant, besides being used as one of the 7 dwarfs from Snow White, there is even a holiday named after it: Holliday!

Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)

Purple coneflower, wild purple coneflower and Rudbeckia purpurea are some of the names for this herbaceous perennial. Coneflower will bloom in shades of purple, pink, and white from early summer until fall. It will attract butterflies and songbirds to the yard.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis spp.)

Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster spp.)

Cotoneaster is a bushy, low-growling evergreen shrub, surrounding by 1-inch-long orange-red berries in the fall. Cotoneaster attracts birds with these berries.

It’s a great hedge, windbreak, screen or even a foundation planting. It’s easy to grow, and deer resistant. As it doesn’t get very tall, it’s easier to control.

Marigold (Tagetes spp.)

Dogwoods (Cornus spp.)

Dogwoods are very attractive to some birds. The vivid red, pink, orange, yellow yellow, or white blossoms of these bushes are hard to miss. Look at the source of pigment in the petals, it is due to carotenoid pigments, that birds such as cardinals prefer over colored plastic tube feeders.

Dogwood blossoms range in color from a lighter pink to a deep crimson and to a pale yellow. Space the Dogwood bushes about 3-4 feet apart. The red berries are a tempting food source for birds.

The ornamental oak (Quercus spp.) is another excellent option.

The other alternative is to plant a shrub that is very popular with the birds like the vibigena vibigena, hawthorns (Crataegus sp.), (Crataegus sp.), Spirea (Spiraea alba and Spiraea japonica) and Pieris (Pieris sp.).

Evergreen shrubs like Pieris and Spiraea, which are hardy to zone 5, are very popular. They are very easy to care for.

Look for the purplish-pink flowers produced in mid to late spring. They are also known for their lovely white, pink, or red berries in late summer.

Oak (Quercus spp.)

This tree is native and provides shelter for small birds. It is a good choice for open fields. The bark is dark and exfoliating.

It grows very slowly and is very large.

It provides food (pears, acorns), cover and nesting areas for birds.

It’s a good choice for nature areas, boulevards and open fields.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil.