By Jennifer Poindexter
My parents love birds. To the point they put out a variety of bird feeders and will battle all kinds of wildlife (who also try to enjoy their bird seed) to hopefully catch a glimpse of some of the beautiful birds in their area.
If you love to watch birds (and other wildlife) in your area, consider planting things around your yard just for them.
One idea is to grow plants which produce berries. You can grow plants that are edible for both you and the birds.
However, most ideas on this list are for berry-producing plants which are edible for birds and not human consumption.
Here are a few options for planting a bird-friendly landscape:
Serviceberries are more of a tree than a smaller shrub. They can grow to be anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five feet tall and remain hardy in planting zones four and higher.
So be sure to take their size into consideration when finding the right growing location. This plant also needs a growing space with a minimum of four hours of full sunlight. Plus, they need consistently damp soil that drains adequately. This plant produces ripe fruit in June and July.
Winterberry plants are beautiful bushes filled with bright green leaves and equally bright red berries that will prove hard for birds to miss. Ensure you have room for these bushes as they can be as tall as twenty-four feet and spread twelve feet in width.
Once you know you have the space, ensure your location includes full to partial sunlight and evenly damp, well-draining soil. Winterberries will appear on the bush in summer and should turn red during fall. This plant should remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.
Crabapple trees are beautiful. They produce soft blooms which give way to small fruits known as a crabapple. These fruits are enjoyed by a variety of wildlife, including birds. If you’d like to add this tree to your landscape, be sure to plant in a location with full to partial sunlight.
These trees also need soil that retains moisture (like clay) but still drains properly to avoid soggy roots. Crabapple trees can become as tall as twenty-five feet, produce fruit in late summer and fall, and they remain hardy up to planting zone eight.
A hawthorn tree is another beautiful piece of natural art that’s hard to overlook in a landscape. This plant produces white blooms which give way to red berries and remains hardy in planting zones five through nine.
When growing a hawthorn tree, supply a location with full sunlight and well-draining soil. You should expect a hawthorn tree to produce berries between the months of September and October. This tree can reach heights of thirty feet.
Most of the plants we’ve mentioned so far produce vibrant red berries. This next tree produces berries in either red, purple, or blue. Plus, this is a beautiful evergreen tree that will add color to your landscape year-round. It’s also versatile as it remains hardy in planting zones two through nine.
Should you wish to add this tree to your landscape, be sure to supply a location with ample sunlight and well-draining soil. There’s a vast difference in size of this plant depending upon variety, so be sure to do your homework prior to planting once you’ve picked a variety. You can expect to see berries in late fall through early winter.
Nannyberry is another type of shrub that produces clusters of white blooms. These blooms will eventually give way to dark berries. It’s also a versatile option as this plant is considered perennial in planting zones two through eight.
If you don’t have a ton of sun in your growing location, nannyberry might be a good fit as it can handle partial shade or full sun. It isn’t particular about soil either, as long as it’s well-draining. This plant can grow to become as tall as twenty feet and should produce berries in late summer.
7. Southern Arrowwood
If you’d like a smaller plant for your landscape, southern arrowwood could be an ideal fit for your layout. This plant only reaches heights ranging from three to nine feet, and it’s hardy in planting zones two through eight.
Plus, it produces small white clusters of blooms which eventually turn into dark berries during the early fall months. To grow this plant, you’ll need a location which consists of full to partial sunlight and well-draining soil.
The wahoo shrub could make a gorgeous addition to your yard or garden. This plant produces vibrant red leaves and uniquely shaped red berries. If you need a burst of color, this plant can provide it with a few accommodations and should remain hardy in planting zones three through seven.
To begin, the wahoo shrub prefers partial shade. It also needs soil that’s rich in nutrients and drains adequately. This shrub can reach heights between twelve and twenty feet, and it should produce berries during the fall months.
9. Cranberry Cotoneaster
The cranberry cotoneaster is another small plant that might work in areas with less space. This plant only reaches heights around three feet and is hardy in planting zones five through seven.
Plus, it produces lush green foliage and bright red berries. You can grow cranberry cotoneaster in areas with full sunlight and well-draining soil. The plant should produce berries in the later portion of summer.
10. Northern Bayberry
Northern bayberry is considered semi-evergreen and should liven up your surroundings with its rich coloring. This plant isn’t picky about a growing location as long as it’s grown in well-draining soil and full sunlight.
Though it’s considered a shrub, northern bayberry can still grow as tall as fifteen feet. Plus, the plant will produce small fruit during the summer months. They’ll turn a light shade of gray in the fall and become a snack for nature. This plant is hardy in zones three through eight.
Snowberry plants look as you might imagine. They start as beautiful foliage and overtime produce small pink blooms. In time, these blooms produce white berries. The berries begin in early fall and remain throughout the winter months.
Should this be the right plant for you, be sure to provide a growing location with full to partial sunlight. This plant also thrives in clay, loamy, or rocky soils as long as they drain adequately. You should expect snowberries to remain hardy in planting zones three through seven and reach heights around three to six feet tall.
12. Staghorn Sumac
Staghorn sumac is a unique shrub. It produces fern-like foliage which is green during some parts of the year and turns a vibrant red during other portions. The shrub also produces red, cone-shaped clusters of berries. You should expect to see these in the later portion of summer or the early portion of fall.
If you’d like to grow staghorn sumac, be sure to select a growing location with well-draining soil and full to partial sunlight. This shrub is hardy in planting zones five through eight and reaches heights ranging from three to thirty feet.
Chokeberry is another shrub which produces dark green foliage and pretty white blooms. Overtime, the blooms give way to rich colored berries. You can expect to see berries during the fall months when the leaves of the shrub turn a gorgeous red.
When growing chokeberry, be sure to provide a growing location with full sunlight. The soil should be consistently damp but well-draining, too. Once the bush is established, it can reach heights ranging from three to twelve feet. This is a hardy plant in zones three through eight.
14. Eastern Red Cedar
Eastern red cedar are beautiful evergreen trees which produce vibrant berries during the late summer or early fall months. This is a versatile option as it’s hardy in planting zones three through nine.
However, the eastern red cedar may not be for everyone as it can reach heights ranging from forty to fifty feet. Should you grow this plant, be sure to find a growing location with full to partial sunlight. Plus, provide well-draining soil.
Let’s say you’d like to plant something that’s a food source for birds, but you don’t have a ton of room. Bunchberry could be a good solution. This plant grows low to the ground and only reaches heights between four and nine inches.
You’ll recognize the plant by its rich green foliage with white flowers at the center. These white flowers will form red berries in July and August. If this is of interest to you, grow bunchberry where the soil is damp but well-draining. Bunchberry can thrive in full sun to full shade. The main thing is the soil must remain consistently moist. This is a hardy option in planting zones two through seven.
Dogwoods are gorgeous flowering trees that bloom in a range of colors including pink and white. What you may not realize is dogwoods also produce vibrant red berries as long as they’re pollinated. You can expect to see these beautiful berries in late summer and early fall.
Many people might choose to grow dogwoods because they’re great for aesthetics, but they also are easier to fit into landscapes as they’re smaller trees ranging in height from twenty to forty feet. Plus, they’re known for their slow growth. Dogwoods need a growing location with full to partial sunlight and adequately draining soil. They’re hardy in planting zones three through eight.
Firethorn is another beautiful shrub with green foliage and bright red berries. The berries should appear in late summer or early fall.
If you’d like to add firethorn to your yard or garden, ensure you have a growing location with full to partial sunlight and well-draining soil. The shrubs can reach heights between five and fifteen feet, and they remain hardy in planting zones six through nine.
18. American Cranberry Viburnum
The American cranberry viburnum bush produces layered foliage with white blooms. The white blooms give way to clusters of bright red berries. The shrub can reach heights between eight and twelve feet.
Plus, this is a hardy option in planting zones two through seven. You should provide a growing location for this plant in an area with full to partial sunlight. It also needs well-draining soil. The plant should bloom in late spring or early summer and begin producing berries in late summer through winter.
19. Rose Hips
Rose hips can be found on any rose because it’s a small area right below the petals that is the seed for the bloom. Birds love to eat these. They’re easiest to reach when a light frost has come through and caused your rose leaves to fade. However, the frost shouldn’t be hard enough to freeze the entire plant including the rose hip.
Therefore, you can provide this snack to your birds by purchasing a variety of rose bush. Most roses require full sunlight and well-draining soil. Which variety of rose you plant will cause the hardiness zones and height to vary.
Beautyberry is a shrub which produces fern-like foliage and purple berries. These bushes are hardy in planting zones five through ten and reach heights of six to ten feet.
Should you wish to grow this type of berry bush be sure to provide a location with full to partial sunlight and well-draining soil. In turn, the plant should produce pink flowers in early summer and berries in late summer or early fall.
You now have twenty different options for plants that should produce berries to feed the bird population around your home.
Whether you’re like my parents and love watching wildlife, or you’re someone who just cares about giving back to the world around you while creating a beautiful landscape, there should be something on this list to meet your needs.