what plants attract birds to a garden

Grow some of the best plants for birds in your garden to attract and feed our feathered friends

Including some of the best plants for birds in your garden, will not only benefit the winged visitors, but also your own enjoyment of your outdoor space, and the health of your garden, too.

Familiar and conspicuous, birds are among our favourite garden visitors. With their cheerful, wistful or sometimes loud and brash songs and calls, and their propensity for eating garden pests and spreading seeds, they will always hold a special place in most of our hearts.

Sadly bird numbers are in decline all over the world, including in our gardens. You can, however, choose to turn your garden into a safe haven for them, supplying food, roosting sites and nesting sites by simply selecting the right plants to attract birds as part of your wildlife garden ideas.

There are some plants to attract birds of specific species, such as flowers that attract hummingbirds, while there are others that will attract many different varieties.

2. Sunflowers – Helianthus spp (Image credit: Becky Searle)

Because sunflower seeds are packed with energy, sunflowers are great plants for birds to eat and store energy during migration. They are not typically regarded as problematic plants and are native to some parts of the United States.

Sunflowers are excellent at attracting insect pollinators, which are crucial to many birds’ diets and are consumed by swallows, buntings, and sparrows. They are among the flowers that entice bees.

Sunflower gardening is a fun planting project that you can do with your kids. Because many common garden pests find seedlings to be tasty treats, move them when they are 6 to 9 inches tall if you think they will be eaten. The taller varieties may need some support in windy areas, and they prefer a sunny spot on rich, well-drained soil. They will grow well in USDA zones 2 to 11.

When they are done flowering, you can put the heads outside to dry, where birds will still come to visit. However, don’t forget to collect some seeds so you can use them the following year.

10. Aster – Symphotrichum spp. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Hardy in zones 3 to 8, asters are a vibrant, colorful perennial with long-lasting flowers. They are well-liked plants for cottage gardens and are excellent plants for migrating birds because they continue to provide nectar for pollinators into the fall. They have beautiful, fluffy seed heads in late fall and winter that are a great source of food and materials for bird nests.

The Audubon Society reports that asters’ leaves and seeds are consumed by tree sparrows and wild turkeys, and that insects such as goldfinches and chickadees will frequent the area in search of food.

It’s easy to grow asters: either start from seed or cuttings, or purchase plants and enjoy color and seed heads in their first year of life.

If starting from seed, plant seeds in the spring in a warm, well-lit area, such as a greenhouse. Place them thinly in a tray and add a quarter-inch layer of compost on top. Keep the compost moist until the seeds have germinated. The plants are prepared for planting when they reach a height of a few inches. If they are overly packed, they might require pricking out and potting on. ( credit: CJ Wildlife).

What can I grow to feed birds?

There are so many options of plants to feed birds.

Begin by cultivating a plant that both you and the birds will find enjoyable. Birds will be drawn to many plants with seed heads and fruit trees in particular.

Native plants are the most valuable because they are easy to identify by passing birds and are easy to grow because they are adapted to the local conditions. Keep an eye out for non-native plants in your garden and avoid planting anything that could cause issues for your native plants. Make sure to research online or with your neighborhood nursery as some plants are invasive in certain areas but not in others.


What can I put in my yard to attract birds?

Simultaneously offering sunflower, thistle (aka Nyjer®), peanuts, fruit, jelly, suet, and mealworms will attract the greatest variety of bird species to your birdscape. You can also purchase bird feeders and bird seed blends that increase the attractiveness of your backyard for specific species you’re interested in.

Do marigolds attract birds?

Goldfinches, in particular, love them. Marigold seeds are numerous and feed birds. Marigolds: Annual marigolds (Tagetes spp.) are easy to grow and, tolerant of a range of conditions.

Should I attract birds to my vegetable garden?

Birds eat plant-eating pests. These beneficial insects then prey upon the pests that cause harm to our plants. But did you know birds keep plant-eating insects in check, too? Aphids, beetles, earwigs, flies, mosquitoes, moths, and spiders are all on the menu for different species of birds.